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Thread: Excess calcium?

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    Excess calcium?

    This morning when I woke up to feed Bob his vegetables, I notices a large white stain on his hay box. I just recently modified a shoebox to hold his hay as he likes to sit in it (I do change it out daily/bi-daily), and I'm glad I did or I might not have noticed. I don't THINK it's ejaculate, it's bright white and slightly powdery, so it must be excess calcium. I've just never seen it thia bad before, it literally looks like someone painted on the box with bright white or colored it in with colored pencil, it's so white.


    But what could have caused it? He had quite a bit of white residue when he was younger, but we concluded it was because he was 7 months old but still on an alfafa-based pellet and being fed a lot of romaine lettuce. Since then it seemed to clear up, until today.



    His diet is unlimited orchard grass (pretty green, but losing fragrance and a bit coarse, but he eats a lot of it. I will get him fresh stuff soon), 1/8 cup of Oxbow adult guinea pig pellets, unlimited fresh tap water (I'll get to that shortly), and his daily veggies are 1 large red lettuce leaf OR 2 small/mid-sized red lettuce leaves, smaller pieces of butterhead or green lettuce, two cherry/grape tomatoes, 1/8 (sometimes closer to 1/7) green bell pepper, and as of three days ago half a leaf of raddichio. He's been fed the same diet for a couple months now, and it was only today and when I first took him for the summer that I noticed any calcium excess.



    I have a few thoughts on what could be causing it, but I really need some advice.
    My first thought was the tap water; he's always had tap water to drink, yet I highly doubt it's up to snuff. Even I don't drink the tap water, it tastes...I don't know how to describe it...it's just off, even though everyone else says it's fine. If the water is the problem, what kind can I give him? We often get a gallon or two of Deer Park water (it might just be a PA thing, but it's basically bottled people water that also comes in big gallons), so I could give him that. I drink way more than he does so I doubt anyone will know the difference.
    But it could also be the pellets...they ARE timothy hay based, but I recently heard its the source of calcium that matters, not just the hay, and oxbow supposedly has a "bad" calcium source, but I forget what. If so I can trt and get some KMS but golly the shipping is so expensive I don't know if I have enough money or if I can convince my mom...
    Or could it be that I accidentally fed too much of something? Recently he's been getting more tomato than usual, sometimes around 3 little ones a day or 1/4 maximum of a large tomato. Could that be an issue? I started forcing a 2-tomato-dialy rule but I wonder if that's it. He also only just started eating raddichio, and while he really, really enjoys it I think it made him a little gassy yesterday (he got 1/2 a leaf and while he didn't look or feel any different, I SWEAR he passed gas) and I wonder if that could also be an issue. It's listed as a daily veg on the chart so I thought not, but he's never had it before and I wonder if that could cause any problems. And for the past 3-4 days he has gotten a bit more pellets than usual: I accidentally fed him too much as I took too much in a handful as he wakes me up so early I can barely see straight. I'll get a 1/4 cup scoop to fix that, but could that little bit of extra pellets cause such huge issues?


    Thanks in advanced everyone....I'm really freaked out about this and while I'd do anything for this guy I worry if it gets too bad I KNOW I'll never convince my teacher to take him to the vet, and while my mom might I don't know of any exotic vets near us and I don't want to force them to spend so much money, what with back to school spending and her hospital visit this week...I just don't know.

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    Re: Access calcium?

    Bottled water may be no better than tap water as far as calcium goes. You'd have to have both tested for calcium content to know. You can get reverse osmosis water for less than a dollar a gallon at any big grocery store, and maybe way less than a dollar if you bring your own jug.

    I'd take him off Oxbow pellets and switch to KMS Hayloft. Even they may give him problems, in which case you'll have to decide whether to go pelletless.

    I'd try to get more water in him, even syringing it to him if necessary. You can add a bit of flavoring to it (think plain fruit juice, and not much of it) if it makes him drink more.

    Radicchio is fine, and the tomatoes probably are also, although I'd cut back a bit on the serving side of those.

    All pigs pass gas. All of them. You only need to worry about it if it occurs frequently or is associated with other signs of digestive problems (puffed up in pain, not eating, not pooping, etc.)

    You don't need to take him to an exotic vet. And we worry less about powdery calcium than about gritty calcium. Paying close attention to his diet, encouraging him to move around (even chasing him gently with your hand, or making sure he moves during floor time) will help, as will paying close attention to his diet.

    You may never know what caused (or causes) it. I had two pigs that were litter mates, exact same living conditions and diet all their lives. One had recurrent stones, the other still doesn't have. Genetics has a lot to do with it, and nobody knows how to fix that.

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    Re: Excess calcium?

    Okay, thank you so much for all the advice!

    I'll see if I can get some reverse osmosis water soon...I just hope my mom doesn't think I'm being too weird or protective of him, but I think if I explain it to her and show her the residue she'll understand. Especially if it's that cheap, then I'll pay for it myself! What does it look like, by the way? Does it just come in normal plastic gallons?

    I'll also try and get enough money for the KMS pellets. I only have $25 left to my name and while the pellets themselves are VERY cost-effective compared to Oxbow's (double the pellets for the same price) the $20 shipping is what kills me. I also wanted to get him some fresh hay from smallpetselect (I can get 10 lbs of orchard grass for $20 plus shipping) so I guess I better start doing art comissions or something because I really need some money. I'll try and talk about it with my mom though to see what I can do...for now, though, he still has maybe 1/4 or 1/5 a bag of oxbow pellets left. Should I see them through or just reduce the amount and give him more water and fresher hay until then, or is that a bad idea?

    And thank you for telling me about the veggies and gas...I had just read about bloat and it made me really nervous about it, so thank you for clearing that up. In the meantime I'll get him some better water, try and get him new hay and pellets (he's running out of both anyway), take him out for floortime more (he tends to drink more after running around, and if exercise helps I'll encourage him to).

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    Re: Excess calcium?

    It looks like water. And yes, it comes in plastic jugs. Many stores have a machine that dispenses it, so you can take in your old milk containers and fill those. It costs 29 cents a gallon at my local Kroger that way.

    The shipping doesn't kill you on KMS pellets. You're paying for shipping on the Oxbow already -- it's just rolled into one price for the convenience of the store selling it.

    I live 2000 miles from KMS Hayloft, and per pound (shipping included in the KMS pellets), their pellets are always within a few cents of the cost of Oxbow. Sometimes one is a few pennies more per pound, the next time a few pennies less.

    The freshness of the hay makes absolutely no difference. Hay is only harvested a few months during the summer -- the rest of the time it's stored somewhere. So if you buy "fresher" hay, you may actually be getting less fresh hay, depending on where it comes from and how long it's been stored.

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    Re: Excess calcium?

    You bring up some very valid points--it'd only cost me about $8 more for the pellets (oxbow's often $11-12 here for 5 lbs, so tops $24 for 10 lbs while KMS is $12+20 shipping so I'd only be saving $8 and risking more calcium problems). I'll either do some work for some more cash, or I'll try and bring this up to my mom. She might actually agree with you for all I know, so it's worth a shot!

    The only other thing I DO need though is "fresher" hay...the reason I mentioned it is because the hay in that box--while it looks like a nice pale green--actually took me three hours and 5 very painful bug bites to separate from the rest of it. I had two large garbage bags full of it, and by the time I hit half-way through the second one I noticed the stuff was over 50% dark brown and had way too many impurities. The occasional thistle thorn or weed is completely normal, but I pulled out almost 5 large, thorny stems and way too many "undesired" plants...literally whole weeds and dead leaves. Normally I wouldn't bother, but I had to spend all that time separating it because while I had a large amount left, Bob wasn't eating like he normally did. He ate a few strands here and there, but he was barely making a dent. At first I thought he was sick, but then I noticed it was because he refused to eat the brown pieces, and would climb into the hay bag to get the greener strands. After I sorted out the green parts, though, he seemed pretty happy about it and went through half a shoe box in only a couple days. A HUGE improvement form last time, but I'm almost out and REALLY don't want to separate all that hay again...

    I do know what you mean though, and it's a good point, actually! I never thought about it that way before. And I don't know if anyone's ever said it before, but that's what I like about you, bpatters--you're very blunt and to the point, which is fantastic and very helpful. Of course, most of the time it's when I'm wrong, but it's refreshing! You're very unlike me, hahaha--I blather on for a million years before I ever stop talking.
    Last edited by wombats; 08-18-15 at 02:27 pm. Reason: grammar and punctuation

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    Re: Excess calcium?

    Quote Originally Posted by wombats View Post
    You bring up some very valid points--it'd only cost me about $8 more for the pellets (oxbow's often $11-12 here for 5 lbs, so tops $24 for 10 lbs while KMS is $12+20 shipping so I'd only be saving $8 and risking more calcium problems). I'll either do some work for some more cash, or I'll try and bring this up to my mom. She might actually agree with you for all I know, so it's worth a shot!

    The only other thing I DO need though is "fresher" hay...the reason I mentioned it is because the hay in that box--while it looks like a nice pale green--actually took me three hours and 5 very painful bug bites to separate from the rest of it. I had two large garbage bags full of it, and by the time I hit half-way through the second one I noticed the stuff was over 50% dark brown and had way too many impurities. The occasional thistle thorn or weed is completely normal, but I pulled out almost 5 large, thorny stems and way too many "undesired" plants...literally whole weeds and dead leaves. Normally I wouldn't bother, but I had to spend all that time separating it because while I had a large amount left, Bob wasn't eating like he normally did. He ate a few strands here and there, but he was barely making a dent. At first I thought he was sick, but then I noticed it was because he refused to eat the brown pieces, and would climb into the hay bag to get the greener strands. After I sorted out the green parts, though, he seemed pretty happy about it and went through half a shoe box in only a couple days. A HUGE improvement form last time, but I'm almost out and REALLY don't want to separate all that hay again...

    I do know what you mean though, and it's a good point, actually! I never thought about it that way before. And I don't know if anyone's ever said it before, but that's what I like about you, bpatters--you're very blunt and to the point, which is fantastic and very helpful. Of course, most of the time it's when I'm wrong, but it's refreshing! You're very unlike me, hahaha--I blather on for a million years before I ever stop talking.
    Have you tried looking for a feed store? You would at least be able to look at the hay before purchasing.

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    Re: Excess calcium?

    Hmm, that's true, but do they often sell hay in bulk? We have one in town called Oxford Feed and Lumber but the only hay I saw them sell are those bags of Oxbow hay for guinea pigs. I've never checked in the horse/livestock section of the store before, though, but I think it's all bags of livestock feed and such. I do know there's a BIG barn out the back that has tons of lumber and raw materials, and that's also where they keep the big bags of wood pellets, so they might actually have some back there. If not, I can maybe ask my boyfriend's mom where she gets hers...I went with them once and it was really neat, two huge barns filled with all kinds of hay at $5-25 a bale. The more expensive stuff was crazy ridiculous quality alfalfa and special stuff from states away, but it wasn't suitable for guinea pigs. But they did have big bales of orchard grass (bigger than my 2x3 cage) for $7...my only complaint was there was a lot of visible brown in them, and I'm not sure if my parents would like having a 50 lb bale of hay in our garage, hahaha. But maybe, just maybe...hmm...maybe if I ask to go back if they have some good, green stuff I'll see if I can keep a bale in our basement (it's a very, very big basement by my standards, and unfinished so it's not like I'd be ruining it by having hay scattered around. My only concern would be spiders, but it comes from a big open-air barn anyway so I don't think it matters). I think that would work perfectly! Of course, I'd still have to make sure it's green. The stuff they get is perfect for the donkeys and horses (they could care less if it was half brown. The mini horse will eat anything and even eats gravel if he isn't fed enough) but my guy's a little diva.

    But my gosh...if I can convince my mom and stepdad to let me keep a bale in our basement it'd be perfect...I'd just have to find a way get it through the door and to keep the cats out of it. They're always down there as their litter boxes are down there (I'd keep it on the opposite end, away from there for safety's sake. They're really good about going only in their boxes, but the fumes aren't the best) and they'll eat hay until they vomit, which isn't ideal. Maybe if I broke it into flakes and put it into tubs with some thin fabric or tarp over it? That way it'd get airflow while also keeping the cats out. And that way it'd last him months on end, AND it'd save me and my parents money so they could get me the pellets! Yesss...it's all so very clear now. See, I mainly felt bad asking for $50 for new hay AND pellets. I was worried they'd say no because he's just one pig. But if I can get the hay myself and they get the pellets, I think it'll work out just fine.

    Gosh, thanks for the suggestion, I don't even know why I didn't think of that sooner...I guess because I thought I'd keep it in the garage (where they often scold me for not sweeping up) but no one goes in the basement besides the cats and me, so it wouldn't really matter.

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    Re: Excess calcium?

    Quote Originally Posted by wombats View Post
    Hmm, that's true, but do they often sell hay in bulk? We have one in town called Oxford Feed and Lumber but the only hay I saw them sell are those bags of Oxbow hay for guinea pigs. I've never checked in the horse/livestock section of the store before, though, but I think it's all bags of livestock feed and such. I do know there's a BIG barn out the back that has tons of lumber and raw materials, and that's also where they keep the big bags of wood pellets, so they might actually have some back there. If not, I can maybe ask my boyfriend's mom where she gets hers...I went with them once and it was really neat, two huge barns filled with all kinds of hay at $5-25 a bale. The more expensive stuff was crazy ridiculous quality alfalfa and special stuff from states away, but it wasn't suitable for guinea pigs. But they did have big bales of orchard grass (bigger than my 2x3 cage) for $7...my only complaint was there was a lot of visible brown in them, and I'm not sure if my parents would like having a 50 lb bale of hay in our garage, hahaha. But maybe, just maybe...hmm...maybe if I ask to go back if they have some good, green stuff I'll see if I can keep a bale in our basement (it's a very, very big basement by my standards, and unfinished so it's not like I'd be ruining it by having hay scattered around. My only concern would be spiders, but it comes from a big open-air barn anyway so I don't think it matters). I think that would work perfectly! Of course, I'd still have to make sure it's green. The stuff they get is perfect for the donkeys and horses (they could care less if it was half brown. The mini horse will eat anything and even eats gravel if he isn't fed enough) but my guy's a little diva.

    But my gosh...if I can convince my mom and stepdad to let me keep a bale in our basement it'd be perfect...I'd just have to find a way get it through the door and to keep the cats out of it. They're always down there as their litter boxes are down there (I'd keep it on the opposite end, away from there for safety's sake. They're really good about going only in their boxes, but the fumes aren't the best) and they'll eat hay until they vomit, which isn't ideal. Maybe if I broke it into flakes and put it into tubs with some thin fabric or tarp over it? That way it'd get airflow while also keeping the cats out. And that way it'd last him months on end, AND it'd save me and my parents money so they could get me the pellets! Yesss...it's all so very clear now. See, I mainly felt bad asking for $50 for new hay AND pellets. I was worried they'd say no because he's just one pig. But if I can get the hay myself and they get the pellets, I think it'll work out just fine.

    Gosh, thanks for the suggestion, I don't even know why I didn't think of that sooner...I guess because I thought I'd keep it in the garage (where they often scold me for not sweeping up) but no one goes in the basement besides the cats and me, so it wouldn't really matter.
    The cool thing about it is that its Cheaper and higher quality, and if it doesnt look good you dont have to buy it. The one by me sells 1 bale for 17.00 for timothy Hay.

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    Re: Excess calcium?

    Huh, that's not too bad considering 2.5 pounds is $12 by oxbow's standards. Shipping included, of course, but even then you're getting what? 40 lbs, 50 lbs, 100 lbs? Basically a buttload for just a little bit more.

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    Sneezing semi-frequently no other symptoms

    Hi all. For the past week or so I've noticed Bob has been sneezing a bit more than usual...could be me just being paranoid, but he seems to sneeze at least 4-5 times a day, at least. Today he sneezed more frequently, maybe 10-15 times. Little sneezes, but no other symptoms...well, he coughed twice, one time while he was wolfing down his veggies, but he's otherwise behaves normally, running around like crazy and eating a lot. He seems to be drinking a normal amount (except yesterday when he drank a LOT) and his eyes and nose look clear and clean, and he moves around and sounds completely normal.

    My biggest fear is a URI, so I didn't want to ignore this, but I wonder if it could be dust or hair or something in his nose. He ALWAYS sneezes whenever he rubs his nose with both paws, which seems normal, but he's always digging and sleeping in his hay (often for hours at a time) which makes me think he might be getting hay dust up his nose. He's also on plain wood pellets and it could be the sawdust, but I tend to cover up the sawdust with fresh pellets and sift it around when I spotclean every day. And as for his 10+ sneezes today, he has been digging in his hay a lot more than usual today which might explain it, but I just don't know.

    So could that be a reason, and if so what should I do about it? And if not, what could prove it's a URI and what can I do and does anyone know of any good vets in south-eastern PA? We're really close to DE too so that's a possability, and even MD even though it's a bit farther. He's never been to the vet before, but by golly if he needs to go I'll find a way. He's still technically not mine, but that can't stop me from getting vet care if he needs it...I just know my teacher will never take him to a vet, let alone an exotic one, so it's up to us I guess. I just hope it doesn't come to that.



    (Oof. And ah...I did make a post a few days ago about his excess calcium, but I didn't know how these medical threads work...should I have just added onto that one or is making this new thread okay? Sorry if I messed up I'm just not sure.)
    Last edited by wombats; 08-22-15 at 04:47 pm. Reason: grammatical flailing

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    Re: Sneezing semi-frequently no other symptoms

    Hmm... Maybe take him to a vet just to be safe. It COULD be the dust, and if it is maybe you should get a hay rack or bag for him.

    Also, are any of these close to you? http://www.guineapigzone.com/Veterin...-shellenberger

    http://www.guineapigzone.com/Veterin...kathleen-tracy

    http://www.guineapigzone.com/Practic...medical-center

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    Re: Sneezing semi-frequently no other symptoms

    The first one is in Smoketown, which I've never heard of but aparently it's only 24 miles away--that's about a 40 minute drive, which isn't hateful at all!

    My mom drives half an hour to work anyway and we often drive 30-45 minutes away to run errands almost every other weekend so hopefully my mom will understand. I just have a few concerns...as I've never dealt with a piggy health problem and this guy's never been to the vet, what should I expect? As in price, treatment, etc. I still have to ask about getting Bob KMS pellets and special water for his excess calcium, and I have to figure out what to say to my teacher about keeping him so I'm just worried she'll think I'm being paranoid or over-protective or something because of all of this. You know, ordering him special food, taking him to a far-away vet...the whole deal. But I hope with some convincing and maybe by showing her the guinealynx site she'll understand it's better to spend a little know to prevent something horrible then trying to treat something when it may be too late.

    So I'll see how he acts tomorrow and if he's still sneezing I'll talk to her about taking him to the vet. He's due for a check up anyway, so it'll do him good...I guess wish me luck, I'm so nervous about asking I just hope she agrees.

    The soonest we'd be able to take him would be wednsday, by the way, but even then I'm doubtful because my stepdad would have to take me. As nice as he is, he thinks I'm too protective of Bob and keeps reminding me he's going back to school soon, even though he's the one buying him his veggies and he even bought in some leftover salad for him tonight. So hopefully he'll trust me and take this bug to the vet...golly I'm just so nervous but I just want my little bug healthy...

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    Re: Sneezing semi-frequently no other symptoms

    Last night I didn't get much sleep, and as I tried to get some sleep I noticed Bob is sneezing a lot more than I expected. He kept sneezing at random intervals throughout the night and did a little cough or two, so there's little doubt now he needs to go to the vet.

    I'll bring it up to my parents today, and see what they say. As stubborn as my mom can be she loves animals and takes fantastic care of our own (she once spent over $1,000 on my old man cat because he had another bladder infection) so I hope she'll understand how important this is.



    I just want to know, what should I expect when he take him? What kind of treatment do they do for a URI, and what should I do if he stops eating? He's still eating a lot and drinking a decent amount (he never drank very much water anyway) but should I be prepared if he stops? I know you're supposed to give them critical care if they don't eat, but how do I do that and how much does he need? And I'm worried that the earliest I could take him in would be this Wednsday. Is that too late?

    I'm just worried I'll accidentally send him to an early grave by making some kind of stupid mistake, you know? He's only 10 months old and we've been through so much I can't lose him now...

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    Re: Sneezing semi-frequently no other symptoms

    For a URI the vet cost is minimal, usually just the cost of the consultation + medication. Guinea pigs can decline very rapidly with infections so it is best to get them in sooner rather then later. I would expect them to prescribe baytril but you will need to keep a close eye on him, and his poops, as baytril often affects their appetite and the goob bacteria in their digestive system. Also it is a good idea to give a pro-biotic when they are on antibiotics, I personally give pro-biotics an hour after the antibiotic but some people do it an half an hour to hour before, read http://www.guinealynx.info/probiotics.html

    It would be wise to have critical care on hand for if you do need it, read this link http://www.guinealynx.info/handfeeding.html To give critical care to him you will need a needle-less syringe, I personally prefer 3mL syringes for hand feeding but some people find larger syringes easier. To get the syringe either ask for one while at the vet or ask at a pharmacy and explain you need it to hand feed a pet.

    Also there is this page with information about URI's http://www.guinealynx.info/uri.html

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    Re: Sneezing semi-frequently no other symptoms

    Thank you so much...that's all really helpful. I'm glad it won't be too much as well. My mom's quite the spender sometimes so hopefully a little vet visit and medication won't be too much for her.

    I'll try and get some critical care and a syringe today just in case and hopefully he won't get worse by wednsday. He's still eating and drinking a lot though, which is good, and he's still just as energetic as ever so hopefully he's not in too bad of a shape.

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    Re: Excess calcium?

    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but is the white the build up of urine? Could it be ammonia?

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    Re: Excess calcium?

    No, the white is neither urine nor ammonia. Ammonia is a gas, so doesn't build up as anything solid.

    Excess white stuff in the urine is calcium.


    @wombats, what about "only one medical thread per pig" did you not understand? Find the URL of the other one and post it here, and I'll merge them.

  18. #18
    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Excess calcium?

    You already did, when I PM'd you about it. I wasn't thinking straight when I made the additional post (what a suprise huh.) but I'm trying to make a more conscious effort to follow these very simple rules and to think before I say anything.

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