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Thread: Handfeeding a guinea pig

  1. #1

    Handfeeding a guinea pig

    General information on handfeeding:

    Can the pig swallow if he gets food into his mouth? Try cutting food into matchstick-sized slivers and sticking them in the side of his mouth. If he can swallow, then either continue to feed him that way, or read the hand-feeding instructions below. If he can't swallow, he needs a good exotic vet with rodent dentistry experience now, like TODAY!

    You need to hand feed him, immediately. You can get Critical Care at some pet stores, or you can order from Amazon. Or you can pulverize pellets in a food processor or blender, make a loose slurry, and feed him through a syringe. See for more information on how to do that.

    GL recommends using 1 cc syringes, and if you've got a really uncooperative piggy, that may be the way to go. But if he's at all agreeable with the idea, you can use a pet-feeding syringe and not to have to load all those little syringes. Pet stores sell them, or you can get a 10 or 20 cc needleless syringe from most pharmacies if you tell them it's for a sick pet.

    Put your non-dominant arm on a table, and nestle the pig in the crook of your elbow. Hold the head firmly with your non-dominant hand BEHIND the hinge of the jaw, not ON the jaw hinge. With the other hand, insert the tip of the syringe crosswise into the pig's mouth, behind the front teeth and in front of the back teeth. Depress the plunger to give about .25 cc at a time. If the pig is chewing, it's eating. It it's not chewing, then insert the syringe a little further and turn it so it points toward the throat.

    If the syringe clogs, do NOT press hard on the plunger while the syringe is in the pig's mouth. When it gives way, it can force the slurry into the pigs throat and lungs, and the pig will die from pneumonia. Remove the syringe and unclog it before putting it back in the pig's mouth and trying again.

    The slurry will thicken as it sits, so have some water or pedialyte to add to it occasionally. Make it fairly watery, as it will be easier to give that way. You can make up a few meals' worth and store it in the fridge. Just warm it slightly in the microwave before feeding it, but be sure that it's not hot.

    That addresses the immediate problem -- that pigs have to eat ALL the time or they'll die. They can't do three meals a day like we do. They continually produce stomach acid which will digest the lining of the stomach if food isn't coming in, and the pig will wind up with bloat, or will die from an ulcerated stomach.

  2. #2

    Re: Handfeeding a guinea pig

    [QUOTE=bpatters]GL recommends using 1 cc syringes, and if you've got a really uncooperative piggy, that may be the way to go. But if he's at all agreeable with the idea, you can use a pet-feeding syringe and not to have to load all those little syringes. Pet stores sell them, or you can get a 10 or 20 cc needleless syringe from most pharmacies if you tell them it's for a sick pet./QUOTE]

    Just from personal experience, it will drive you crazy if you attempt to use a 1cc syringe! I have always used a 30cc syringe which is carried in most pet stores as a "small pet feeding syringe". This syringe is large enough that you can mix the Critical Care in a very small container or measuring cup and actually pour/spoon it into the syringe.

    I often mix organic (no sugar added) baby food with the CC to add some variety for the cavy. Beechnut makes some interesting flavors that my cavies loved.

  3. #3

    Re: Handfeeding a guinea pig

    This is good advice--and the link proved helpful in my story of a "hopeless case" (submitted as a response to an inquiry about helping a guinea pig who has swallowed wire) that, with aggressive help from a human hand (mine and my wife's), has made a near-miraculous recovery since a vet declared him a goner 8 days ago. I had an anti-biotic (Baytril) mixed with a small amount of diazepam (an appetite stimulant) and liquid vitamins. You might start with a thin 1 ML syringe, pushing slowly (you're good to go as long as you can feel your pet nibbling on the tip with his back teeth). But I think what made the greatest difference was my seeing the range of water required by these pets in a single day--from 2 oz. (60 ML) to 10 oz. Sparky was getting only several ML of water, far short of the minimum of 60. I got a larger syringe and started pushing 20 ML into him at a sitting. In a couple of days he was urinating and defecating (the first time in a couple of weeks), becoming animated, showing resistance to my menacing hand, and filling out his bony, skeletal frame and sunken eyes. He's not out of the woods yet, but he's eating pellets on his own and evidencing the effectiveness of handfeeding. If he's going to get well, he can't do it on his own.

    One thing that puzzles me is the insensitivity he's acquired in his butt region. Formerly, a light touch in that area would produce a popcorning reaction. Now he seems not to notice. Anyway, I can give him all the time he needs to take offense to my errant touch. I'm more anxious for him to notice and use one of his water bottles.

  4. #4

    Re: Handfeeding a guinea pig

    I have a question, my guinea pig has a uri and I went to the vet and he gave me critical care but he HATES IT! He actually is still eating..he ate hay pellets a green peppers today. I hand fed him some CC and even tried to trick him by putting it on the green pepper but he hides his face because he thinks it's disgusting.

    So Im going to keep trying to give it to him but do I really need to force feed him this stuff if he's still eating? My vet also gave him an appetite stimulant too.

  5. #5

    Re: Handfeeding a guinea pig

    Here's the rule of thumb for hand feeding: A guinea pig that's not eating anything else needs 100+ cc of Critical Care or a pellet slurry for every kilogram the pig weighs, every day, divided into 6-8 servings. You adjust up or down for the weight of the pig and how much the pig is eating.

    Say your pig weighs 500 grams, which is half of a kilogram. If it's eating nothing else, it needs 50+ cc of Critical Care. Or, if it weighs 1.5 kilograms, it needs 150 cc. of Critical Care.

    On the other hand, if it weighs 1 kg but is eating about half what it usually eats, it needs 50 cc per day.

    So adjust by how much your pig weighs and how much it's eating.

    But, if you're hand feeding properly, the pig doesn't have a choice about eating the CC. If it's properly placed in the mouth, right at the back teeth, the pig will be forced to chew and eat it.

  6. #6

    Re: Handfeeding a guinea pig

    Yeah I am not having a problem. Handfeeding him but the vet said I can stop once he starts eating hay again which he is, he's actually eating a lot. So I guess if I asked my vet he would probably say I can stop but should I continue to give him some for the next few days or just give it a rest since he's eating and he hates it?

  7. #7

    Re: Handfeeding a guinea pig

    Did you read my answer? If he's eating half as much as he usually does, give him half the recommended amount of Critical Care. If he's eating nothing, give him the whole amount. If he's eating normally, don't feed him any Critical Care at all.



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