Truman got worse after the trip to the vet. The slight head tilt that had been present at the doctor was now an exaggerated head tilt, and he dragged his right ear on the ground as he stumbled in circles. It reminded me of Cozy’s last day.
Our vet went out of town after the appointment, and she left me with the phone number of an emergency backup vet. We called her animal hospital, but she was also unfortunately out of town. We tried the place they offered as their backup, but that doctor was out at that hospital, too. We kept getting passed along from animal hospital to animal hospital in search of a veterinarian that specialized in rodents. I ended up speaking to five different doctors along the way.
Each one gave different advice.
All said that the most likely scenario was that the upper respiratory infection spread to his inner ear or brain. One said they would have never treated the infection as aggressively as our vet, and another said they would have treated the infection more aggressively than our vet. One thought that we should add ear drops, and another said that ear drops could be toxic. They each had different opinions on how long we should give the current antibiotic before switching it.
I added in the opinions of every commenter on every guinea pig website that listed a similar situation, making lists of possible solutions as well as lists of dangerous solutions. The two lists often overlapped, with one site stating it was the only way to cure wry neck and the other stating it was a surefire way to kill your guinea pig.
I spent most of Friday a complete wreck.
I didn’t know if I should stick with my vet’s advice, especially since I hadn’t seen her since he took a turn for the worse, or if I should take the advice of a different vet who could only see us early Saturday morning. He wanted to switch the antibiotic to something much more aggressive. It felt like there was no good solution. Either I would have regrets that I didn’t follow my vet’s advice, or I would have regrets that I stupidly waited and wasn’t aggressive enough.
It made me wonder the intelligence of internet research and second opinions. These things that were supposed to be empowering me were only making me feel like shit as I doubted myself.
We couldn’t make a decision, so our lack of decision became our decision. We hand-fed him yesterday, and used a syringe to give him water every few hours. We let him have as many alfalfa cookies as he wanted. He mostly didn’t move, but would lift his head from time to time to eat. We have another appointment set up with our normal veterinarian on Monday morning. All we can do for the next day is give him love and beg him to get better.
He’s my baby; my furry companion. My office mate and daytime friend. He’s my banana-sharer and alfalfa cookie begger. I need him to be well.