Monday, February 14, 2011

Guinea pig drama and Valentine's Day

Belle snuggling in my pocket
I hope you all have had a great start to the new year. Our start was all about Belle, who had increasingly lost weight since December. She's usually weighs in the upper 900 grams (overweight in guinea pig terms) but in January dropped below 900, before starting to exhibit lethargy and lack of appetite. And anyone who knows Belle knows this girl can EAT! So when she shunned her favorite lettuce and cucumber, we knew it was past time to send her to the vet.
The vet suspected the malocclusion of her teeth problem returned, which in turn led to breathing problems and bronchitis. She was extremely weak, so the vet prescribed a week of antibiotics to fight the bronchitis before her next appointment where she had to undergo anesthesia to trim her teeth. We also asked the vet to take out an abnormal growth on the side of her thigh to have it tested.

Today, I am happy to report Belle is back in good health and happy (hungry) spirits! The growth on her thigh was removed, which turned out to be Trichofolliculomas, a common benign growth in guinea pigs. Her teeth were the main cause of her lack of appetite; one of the molars had form a pointy-like toothpick sticking into her tongue and one of her front incisors was cracked sending sharp shards into her gum. OUCH! The vet carefully removed the shards and trimmed the pointy  tooth. All better! Or so we thought.

Her shaven thigh and stitches
We were in for a surprise when we returned to the vet today to remove the stitches on her thigh and found out that somehow in the two weeks since her surgery, Belle has managed to severely chip off the front incisor that was cracked before. Yikes! The vet said it was no cause for alarm, took her to the back to trim it (no anestheshia required, whew!) and now Belle's back home munching happily away again. Best Valentine's Day gift she could give to her momma!

Of course we didn’t forget about Bert throughout all this. He got plenty of cuddles in bed too!

"I can sleep in any position."

Though it's still winter, we had some weird summery weather in the Bay Area this past month (climate change is real!) and it inspired us to start some seedlings indoors for our vegetable garden.

snow peas "Oregon Giant"
Cucumber. I almost gave up on these since they took so long to sprout!
And one morning, I caught a feral cat digging up the lettuce in our raised bed to do the dirty deed!
He was a such a cutie though, I couldn’t scold him. But he alerted me to the fact that our yard had turned into the pooping party ground of the local feral community. I dug up a whole grocery bag full of poop which they hid under all the mulch. I love the cats, but I do not love cleaning after them...or having them destroy the garden. :-\

Lastly, if you’ve made this far in the post, here was our simple dinner celebration for Valentine’s Day. To me, nothing’s quite as romantic and fun as cooking together, so DH and I whipped up Melisser Elliot’s Pasta with Asparagus in Lemon Cream Sauce from her book, The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life. We subbed the asparagus with broccoli and the whole meal was quick to whip up!
Paired with candlelight and non-alcoholic cocktail, it was a simple and romantic dinner for two. For dessert, I had made the Chocolate-Orange Cake from FatFree Vegan Kitchen the night before. I love that it’s oil-free and yet still so soft and moist. Delicious!

I hope everyone had a fantastic day with loved ones. Wishing you all happiness and good health!


  1. Poor Belle (and poor you! I know how worried you must have been). I'm so glad to hear that she's all better now and the lump was nothing serious. Who knew that teeth problems could lead to breathing problems? And I cringed reading about her pointy molar and cracked incisor and what they were doing to her tongue and gums! "Ouch" doesn't begin to cover it!

    It must be a dental month, as Josie has to go in tomorrow to get her teeth cleaned and have a dead incisor removed (she must have whacked it while playing at some point) before it causes her problems. And poor BW has to go through a 2½ hour dental ordeal next Wednesday. (A new crown and something else - I try not to pay too much attention since all things dental give me the willies!!)

    Bert is so cute! I love that picture of him sleeping in your bed. :-)

    What are you going to do about the problem of the feral cats using your garden as a public rest room? I know they make repellent but don't know how well it works. My mom had trouble with her neighbor's cats and some strays using the area beneath her deck for that purpose and ended up having lattice put up as a barricade. I hope you're able to come up with a solution, cleaning that up sounded like a lot of work, and I don't think veggies fertilized with cat poo will be too tasty!

    Your Valentine dinner looks and sounds just lovely and romantic! I've had my eye on that cake recipe for a while now but haven't tried it. Looks like I must. Everyone is always surprised at how moist baked goods turn out w/o oil. Nifty trick, isn't it? :-)

    Happy Valentine's Day (+1), VW! I miss seeing you around Blogland!

  2. Hi Laloo!

    Oh! I know more than I wanted to know about dental procedures when I had a root canal and crown done. Hope BW goes through it with minimum or no pain involved!

    I haven't figured out what to do about the cats yet. No doubt they've hidden another bag-full of poop in the yard by this time! All of our neighbors paved over their yard with concrete but we don't want to do that since we like the natural feel of dirt and grass. In the meantime, to stop them from digging in the raised bed, we put containers or covers over them, which seems to work. As for the rest of the yard, I'm guessing we need to clean up the mulch so they have nothing to dig to hide their poop. I'll report back to see if that works!

  3. I am so glad little Belle is ok! Poor lil bub.

    And that pasta looks delicious, I really shouldn't look at blogs before lunch - I am so hungry!!

  4. Wow! Have you guys been through it! I'm happy to hear that all is well in the world of Wheekers. I'm lucky that in 10 years, Bun's teeth have been well self worn. Rub those cute little noses for me!!!!