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Thread: Duchess not eating enough

  1. #1
    Cavy Slave pigmommy89's Avatar
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    Duchess not eating enough

    Something is wrong with my girl Duchess, and I'm hoping someone here can offer some insight.

    On Wednesday November 11th, I noticed she was not walking quite right. She had been perfectly normal Tuesday night when I cleaned the cage and Wednesday morning when I refilled the hay. I took her out and put her in a 1x2 so I could observe her. By Saturday she had dropped down to 550 grams so I started hand feeding Critical Care even though she was still eating some. The closest exotic vet is an hour and a half away from me so I couldn't take her right away but I did call them and they said to keep handfeeding since she was gaining weight. She's now at 710 grams.

    I took her to the vet this Monday (November 23rd) and they tried to see her molars without anesthesia, but she didn't cooperate. Because the way she was eating and dropping food out of her mouth almost always indicates a molar problem we went ahead with a tooth trim. But once she was under anesthesia, her teeth looked almost normal except for a couple of sharp points. He filed the points off and recommended bloodwork because her teeth didn't seem bad enough to keep her from eating. Everything in the bloodwork was totally normal. We came home with meloxicam and instructions to keep handfeeding until she starts eating normally. They said she would probably be eating by Wednesday, but as of today she still is only eating a little bit on her own.

    Does anyone have any suggestions to entice her to eat on her own? She seems ok otherwise but will not eat enough to maintain her weight.

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Duchess not eating enough

    Keep up with the handfeeding. Keep up with the meloxicam. It's very hard to work on a pig's teeth without nicking the gums, and that's painful.

    You can try cutting her food into long slivers, like matchsticks, and poking them into her mouth. I'd expect her to start eating again in the next day or so.

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    Cavy Slave pigmommy89's Avatar
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    Re: Duchess not eating enough

    Thank you. I will keep handfeeding as long as necessary. I just wish she would feel better.

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    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner pinky's Avatar
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    Re: Duchess not eating enough

    Did they xray her teeth?

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    Cavy Slave pigmommy89's Avatar
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    Re: Duchess not eating enough

    @pinky I asked them to xray her teeth, but the doctor said that because they looked as good as they did, he thought bloodwork was more important to rule out any internal problems. He said the teeth don't show any signs of malformation so he doesn't think it's elongated roots or a jaw problem. He did say that if she's not doing better by next week he'd like to see her again and probably do the xrays then.

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    Cavy Slave pigmommy89's Avatar
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    Re: Duchess not eating enough

    Just a quick update: Duchess still won't eat on her own. I am really starting to get frustrated because she should be better by now.

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    Cavy Slave pigmommy89's Avatar
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    Re: Duchess not eating enough

    Duchess now won't eat anything on her own. I am still hand feeding but between feedings she just sits around hunched up. I will call her vet in the morning but is there anything I can do for her tonight?

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Duchess not eating enough

    Keep hand-feeding. She's got to eat, or she'll die,

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    Cavy Slave pigmommy89's Avatar
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    Re: Duchess not eating enough

    She's eating but it's a struggle to get it in her. She was eating it willingly before.

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    Moderator foggycreekcavy's Avatar
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    Re: Duchess not eating enough

    There must be something else going on. I'd take her in asap.

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    Cavy Slave pigmommy89's Avatar
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    Re: Duchess not eating enough

    Quote Originally Posted by foggycreekcavy View Post
    There must be something else going on. I'd take her in asap.
    I agree that something else must be going on. We are going to the vet on Wednesday. I really don't want to wait that long but because of the distance I don't have much choice.

    She did eat some tomato on her own tonight. And she is taking the Critical Care a little better.

    She barely pooped at all over night and her belly felt gassy, so I gave her simethicone drops this morning. She has pooped a lot now and seems more comfortable for right now. I also started syringing Pedialyte, which she seemed to enjoy. Just praying now that she'll remain stable until Wednesday and we'll get some answers this time.

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    Cavy Slave pigmommy89's Avatar
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    Re: Duchess not eating enough

    Yay! Duchess was eating pellets when I went home to check on her. And then she started nibbling some hay. It's a start at least. We go to the vet tomorrow at 4.

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    Cavy Slave pigmommy89's Avatar
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    Re: Duchess not eating enough

    Just got home from the vet. The only thing on Duchess's xray that was abnormal was some extra air in her stomach and small intestine. We are going to keep handfeeding and continue the meloxicam. He also added Reglan for gut motility. The tentative diagnosis now is scurvy so I am going to increase her vitamin C intake. I was already supplementing but he said to increase it. Might not help but it won't hurt either.

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    Cavy Slave Rywen's Avatar
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    Re: Duchess not eating enough

    I'm just curious, has the vet tested any fecal samples? One of my piggies had a GI tract infection (in 2014), it took several weeks of critical care, baytril and a lot of benebac to get rid of it. The vet found it by testing her poop, it kept coming as having too much gram negative bacteria. She had stopped eating and pooping which were the first symptoms.

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    Cavy Slave pigmommy89's Avatar
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    Re: Duchess not eating enough

    Thanks for the recommendation @Rywen. He hasn't done any fecal tests and I didn't think of it. If she doesn't improve with the Reglan and Vitamin C I will ask for that next. He did say the bloodwork gave no indication of any infection (white blood count was normal). I wonder if she might benefit from the Benebac even though she's not on antibiotics. If I do try it, should I get the powder or the gel? Forgive my ignorance, but that's one thing I've never used before.

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    Cavy Slave Rywen's Avatar
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    Re: Duchess not eating enough

    You want the benebac gel. At one point Penny was on 2g per day, once every 12 hours. There are also other probiotics you can use, just search this site.

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    Cavy Slave pigmommy89's Avatar
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    Re: Duchess not eating enough

    Duchess still isn't eating on her own, but she is gaining some weight back with the handfeeding. I think she would benefit from being with another pig at this point; it might encourage her to eat. Last week I tried to reintroduce her to her cagemate, and Duchess lunged at her in full-on fight mode. I set up a neutral space just like the pigs had never seen each other but Duchess just attacked without even sniffing first. She is a dominant sow so I expected a bit of a scuffle but nothing like that. I put them in a divided cage for a couple of hours but then Duchess spent the whole time trying to squeeze her head through the grid to get to Skeeter, her (former) buddy. Skeeter is very laid back and I'm sure she can be integrated with my other sows. I adopted her specifically for Duchess because Duchess didn't get along with the others. What should I do about Duchess? I don't want her to be a solo pig because she seems lonely, but I don't have anyone I think she'll get along with either.

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    Cavy Slave scoottie's Avatar
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    Re: Duchess not eating enough

    Maybe try putting plexi glass that way they can still see each other but not get after each other.

  19. #19
    Moderator foggycreekcavy's Avatar
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    Re: Duchess not eating enough

    Or double up the grids to make the openings smaller.

  20. #20
    Cavy Slave pigmommy89's Avatar
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    Re: Duchess not eating enough

    I thought Duchess might be doing a little better but today she started sneezing. I guess we're going back to the vet in the morning.

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