View Full Version : Neutering/Spaying Stop all food 12hrs before taking him to the vet??

07-23-15, 01:35 am
This sounds like complete BS to me... the vet sent a message telling me that I should remove all food at 8:30pm tonight.. he goes in to the vet at 8:30am tomorrow and god only knows how long until they actually do the neutering.

I've had a big spat with my partner cos I told him I'm not going to take his food away, and my partner believes the vet and said fine he will do it then :/

What do you guys all think?

07-23-15, 02:07 am
I'm not an expert at all, but I have a few thoughts.

Often, doctors recommend that a person fasts before anesthesia. This is to prevent vomiting while the person is under so that they don't choke on the operating table.
However, from what I understand, guinea pigs can't throw up, so food in the stomach should stay out of the airway.
I don't know if there might be another reason why the vet would ask you to fast your pig, such as it affecting the dosage of anesthetic, since it would be given based on the weight of your animal. Maybe the few grams of added weight from food could affect the dosage? It seems unlikely, but I'm not sure.

Do you trust your vet? What's your gut feeling about them?

07-23-15, 02:29 am
No guinea pigs absolutely should not be fasted overnight before a surgery. Was it the desk staff or the vet them self who recommended this? If it was the vet them self I don't think I would trust them to perform any surgery on my guinea pig, however often desk staff are misinformed and will hand out the same information they would for cats and dogs not realising the error in this. If you aren't sure I would call them and ask to speak to the vet.

Guinea pigs need food constantly moving through their system to prevent GI stasis and bloat, they also lack the ability to vomit. There is the risk of food still being in the mouth at the time of surgery, but this can be prevented by the vet flushing the mouth out.

07-23-15, 02:34 am
12 hours is way too long for your guinea pig to not eat, this could cause serious issues. See:

http://www.cavyspirit.com/neutering.htm#7Presurgeryprep (http://www.cavyspirit.com/neutering.htm#8Protocol)

I would recommend asking about this on the Guinea Lynx forum and/or phoning up another vet for a second opinion (whose an exotic vet and cavy savvy). See this page on how to figure out whether your vet knows what they are doing:


Most standard cat and dog vets are not trained to work with guinea pigs. The 12 hours sounds more like standard times for those kind of animals which would send up red flags to me if I'm honest.

(@Soecara beat me to it :) )

07-23-15, 02:52 am
They said they had a vet that was experienced with Guinea Pigs... and this particular vet is the only vet that said they have that experience within a 400km radius... The nearest vet other than this one that has experience is a 4-5hr drive away, and I dont drive, my partner who works weekdays is the one who drives.

I showed my partner a study article that showed that rodents (such as piggies) do not vomit.

I've decided that I'm not going to take his food away, and I'm just going to give his mouth a clean prior to taking him. I'm also going to ask to see the vet before I leave him there and I'm going to question the pants off of them and ask why they said 12hr fasting and everything... if I could bear the thought of him being alone the rest of his life, I wouldn't get him neutered, but I want him to go in with my 2 girls so he has company, and its sad to hear the 3 of them talking across the room and standing up at the sides of their cage.

As long as he comes out of the surgery alive, he will be ok, I am well studied in looking after him post op... and if anything happens to him... I will definitely be tearing the vet a new one, not paying a cent, and suing their butts off

07-23-15, 05:41 am
Could the email you have been sent been a standard, automated email that the clinic's computer system automatically sends out to all clients who have made surgery bookings? The veterinary office where I work has a similar system set up to help send our clients reminders for yearly vaccines, so it's possible a computer sent you the email and it was just an innocent computer error. That is, unless the vet himself sent you a personalized message telling you to withhold food?

That being said, how long have you known this vet? How did you find him/her? Over the internet? Did you talk to anyone outside of the clinic staff there who could recommend this doctor? I personally talked to my pig-vet over the phone before I even let him meet my boys to find out how much he really knew about guineas and how much experience he had working with exotics. Then, when I made an appointment to go see him for the first time, before I even took Tribble out of the carrier, I interviewed this doctor. I also tried to establish right away that my pig was my baby, and that I loved him every bit as much as anyone ever loved their dog or cat and that I expected to receive the same quality of treatment. Rodent pets are not especially prevalent where I live, so I wanted to make an impression on the doctor and all the staff that I intended to be taken seriously.

GuineaLynx has a section on how to find a good pig vet, in case you ever need it. Here!

07-23-15, 05:49 am
I would ask the vet how many guinea pig neuters they've done and what was the success rate. Sounds to me like they aren't an exotic vets. Not only is the surgery risky, the anesthesia can pose a risk so it's critical to use a vet that is proficient at performing the surgery.

07-23-15, 06:48 am
I'm not sure if it was a automated message or not. The neutering is going under my mother in laws account so I can do a payment plan, and she got the text message and told me.

I've never met the vet, but I did work experience there a few years ago and I seen them do some work with Snakes and Rats in that time.

Either way I plan on questioning the heck out of the vet before I even let them have my boy, and if I dont like their answers, or dont feel any less nervous and worried, then I wont let them do it, and I'll just have to wait until I get a bigger place so I can get him a male cage mate.

07-23-15, 11:17 pm
Good news guys... it was just a automated message. I questioned the vet today and she told me it was automated, and was concerned until I told her I didnt listen to it and didnt take his food away because I know Guinea Pigs dont vomit and that they need constant food supply to keep their GI working.

I pick him up in 2 more hrs when my partner finishes work and can drive me there.

The vet already gave me a ring and she said the surgery went well and he is awake, and she put the food I left for him in the cage and they're keeping him warm. She is monitoring him and said she wants to make sure he is eating before she sends him home.

I went to my chemist and got a couple small syringes just in case I have to do hand feeding, and I have some Betadine that I can dilute to clean the incision site.

I feel a lot better now. Thanks to all you guys I knew what to ask my vet and what to look for. It was my first time having to take my own animal to the vet and I never knew that there was any difference between vets until I got my piggies and came to this forum.

Its good to know that I have a vet to go to who knows about piggies, and that she knows I love them and know a fair bit about them (which is also thanks to you guys here, helping me).

07-24-15, 03:10 am
I'd suggest you talk to her about revising that automated message. Lucky for you, you knew to question the message. Someone else without your knowledge might have followed those instructions.

07-24-15, 03:57 am
That is great news, hopefully he recovers well.

07-24-15, 04:11 am
pinky - yea, my partner believed it... it wasnt until I got really ticked off at him and he did his own research that he believed me.

He is home now and doing well. so far :)

07-24-15, 05:14 am
Oh good! I'm glad everything worked out well! Good pig vets are SO hard to find. :)

07-24-15, 09:42 am
Great job looking further into those recommendations- you made the right call and that extra knowledge and questioning information is part of what makes you a great guinea pig owner! I've had a couple of surgeries with my guinea pigs under my belt and never were they taken off of food.

07-24-15, 10:14 am
Thank you :). I try to be the best owner I can be. There is always room for more knowledge and improvements, and its always good to research things thoroughly before doing them so you know what to expect and what to do if something goes wrong.

I've been watching my boy closely, its 2am at the moment and I am yet to sleep. He is eating fine, but he hasnt drank very much at all since I've had him home.. he's only had little licks of water that I've put on my finger and offered to him. So tomorrow when I give him his veggies, I'm gonna wet them.. and later through the day if he still isnt drinking I'll see how he goes with a syringe of water.