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Thread: older boar having stool issues

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    Cavy Slave LittleSqueakers's Avatar
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    older boar having stool issues

    Two nights ago I went to clean the pigpen, and I noticed it was full of a crazy amount of stools, even more than normal. The majority of the stools were very soft and putty-like. This continued throughout the evening. Then yesterday evening when I went to clean, I found very few poops that were very small, spongy, kinda dehydrated-looking. I've seen Tribble make the soft, mucky poops before in the past, but they've always cleared up on their own without any help. These small, dehydrated poops in small amounts are far more worrisome to me, especially because they have continued into today.

    He appears to be eating and drinking normally in normal amounts. He has had no recent diet change. His behavior so far has been normal. He shows no signs of distress when defecating or urinating. I read about impaction and cleaned out his perineal sac according to youtube demonstration earlier today, but found no sign of impaction. I have been giving him a dab of bene-bac twice daily for the past 3 days (since the soft, mucky poos), and have given him 2 doses of simethicone today.

    His weight has been on a slow decline for the past several years with no obvious explanation. He lost his cagemate back in mid-January and currently is living alone. He will be 6 at the end of the month.

    Any thoughts on what could be causing this? Are GI issues just part of getting older? What should I do next?

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: older boar having stool issues

    Stop all fruits and vegetables, and feed him only hay and pellets for 48 hours. If things don't clear up in that time, or if they get worse, see a vet immediately.

    If things do improve, then start the veggies back one at a time, 48 hours between each new one, and closely observe the poop to see if one of the veggies is causing it.

    Give him extra fluids to drink. Most pigs love Pedialyte (the generic is just as good as the brand name, and half the cost), and will take quite a bit of it. I'd dilute it half with water, myself. You can give it to him with a syringe. Pet feeding syringes are available at pet stores, and most pharmacies will give you a few needleless syringes if you tell them it's for a sick animal.

    Slow weight loss is more a typical symptom of old age than GI problems. But a decline over "several years" when the pig is only 6 isn't normal. Are you weighing him regularly so you'll know how much he's losing?

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    Cavy Slave LittleSqueakers's Avatar
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    Re: older boar having stool issues

    I do weight him weekly, and even keep his weight charted on Excel spreadsheets (because I'm a nerd). I re-checked his records, and his weight decline has not been steady. Perhaps rather than saying that his weight has declined slowly over the past several years, it would be more accurate to say that his weight has been... inconsistent?... over the past 3 years. He experienced a gradual - but inconsistent - weight decline in 2015, but then the next year he actually trended back upwards a bit. Then in 2017, he trended back down again. But some weeks he will be down and then other weeks he will be up; it's very inconsistent. But he feels extremely thin to me, and has been for some time. I took him to my cavy-savy vet once specifically with the concern about the weight loss (he was trending down at the time), but the vet didn't seem too concerned. Furthermore, Tribble has always been so active and happy, that it makes it difficult to worry too much about it since it's so inconsistent, it's been going on for years, and he has no other symptoms.

    I just looked in the cage, and he has produced a little more stool than yesterday, and some of the stools are beginning to look more normal again. I'll take away the fruits and veggies and just give him hay and pellets for 48 hours, and add pedialyte as you suggested.

    Thanks so much for your response and advice.

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    Cavy Slave LittleSqueakers's Avatar
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    Re: older boar having stool issues

    How much pedialyte should I give him?

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    Cavy Slave spy9doc's Avatar
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    Re: older boar having stool issues

    Quote Originally Posted by LittleSqueakers View Post
    How much pedialyte should I give him?
    I would try to get a minimum of 5ml in him at a time. If he will drink more, so much the better.

    My dearly departed Maya had sludge in her bladder and I syringed copious amounts of pedialyte over a three day period. When she had her ultrasound, no sign of sludge.

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    Cavy Slave spy9doc's Avatar
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    Re: older boar having stool issues

    As an afterthought, I would definitely NOT buy the flavored type. My cavies hated it and after tasting it myself, I can understand why. The unflavored variety is what they really liked.

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    Cavy Slave LittleSqueakers's Avatar
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    Re: older boar having stool issues

    An update on Tribble: He still did not produce very much stool throughout the day yesterday. I've been watching him the past few days go over to his hay pile several times during the day and at night and eat, so I though that he was getting enough food. But he's decreased his pellet intake over the past day and a half, so I started to wonder if he wasn't actually eating as much as I thought.

    So last night I decided to try some supplementary feedings of critical care to see if it didn't make a difference in his stool amounts. He was happy to eat it yesterday evening, and when I got up at 2AM to feed him again, I found a much larger quantity of normal stools in his cage. So it seems that he hasn't been eating as much as I thought, but I just don't know why. He's very angry that he hasn't been getting veggies, and he ate the critical care happily yesterday evening and at 2AM, so he still has a good appetite (from what I can tell). He was a little more difficult about eating CC this morning, but I think maybe he was just crabby because it wasn't his normal routine. After we finished the CC and I put him down with a bunch of fresh hay, he went straight to the hay and ate happily for half-an-hour or so. I watched more carefully as he ate the hay this time, and doesn't seem to be having difficulty with eating; nothing that suggests an obvious tooth problem or anything.

    So far I have been giving him half-strength pedialyte (5 cc by syringe, 4-5x/day, I've started mixing it with the CC), simethicone 3x/day, and bene-bac 3x/day. I also gave vitamin C supplement this morning. In the past, I have soaked my pigs' hay in water before serving it to them on the suggestion of my vet (it's supposed to keep them more consistently hydrated and help prevent bladder sludge). I change the wet hay out twice daily, and the 3 pigs I've done this with still ate the hay just fine. The last few days, I've tried different combinations of soaked and dry hay, our usual Small Pet Select hay, as well as American Pet Diner hay (which seems to be softer and has always produced fewer stools and more calcium deposits for my pigs in the past, but they absolutely love it). He seemed willing to eat more of the dry SPS hay this morning.

    I'm perplexed and worried. He's still drinking on his own, doesn't seem dehydrated, is still active, and he'll still eat on his own, but he eats more when coaxed. His weight is the same as last week. If doesn't show a big improvement in eating on his own today, I'll take him to the vet tomorrow.

    Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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    Cavy Champion Guinea Pig Papa's Avatar
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    Re: older boar having stool issues

    Have your vet check his teeth. Not just the incisors, but his molars as well.

    Can you see if his incisors are perhaps slanted?

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    Cavy Slave LittleSqueakers's Avatar
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    Re: older boar having stool issues

    Sorry it's taken me so long to get back with an update.

    A few hours after my previous post on Sunday, I went to feed Tribble. His stomach was rather large and gassy and he didn't want me to touch his belly (but then, he doesn't usually want me to anyway). Every time I syringed a little CC into his mouth, his gut made loud, gurgling sounds. I hadn't seen any stool passed in his cage for the past few hours, so I though he was trying to bloat.

    I called the vet and his regular vet was not there. I asked the receptionist if she knew of any other exotic vets who might be open. After a few phone calls, it was clear that there were no exotic vets in the area that day.

    So, we ended up making the 2-hr, 100-mile trek out to the university vet school. On the way, Tribble finally started pooping again in good quantities, and munched on some of the hay I offered to him while we were stuck in traffic. In the exam room, he perked up being in a new place, and munched on more hay while I was giving a history. The vets diagnosed a mild GI stasis, but they felt like he was already on his way back towards recovery. They gave him some SQ fluids, and sent us with metronidazole for gut dysbiosis (imbalance of the gut flora), and some meloxicam for pain.

    Other things they observed on examination:
    - teeth slightly overgrown, but not to the point that they believed it should be causing pain or preventing him from eating
    - lots of dandruff (which he has had for a long time)

    Possible explanations for decreased appetite leading to gut dysbiosis, leading to the stasis:
    - moldy hay or pellet food. The vet said that soaking the hay was good for gut motility and it shouldn't be moldy if I throw it away every 12 hours (but she also said that soaking makes the hay softer which doesn't wear the teeth as efficiently). They recommended I check the freshness of the pellet feed.
    - scurvy causing possible joint pain (& the dandruff)
    - possible bladder stones causing intermittent pain (he's had 3 UTIs in his life, most recently in mid-January)

    My responses:
    - I've stopped soaking the hay for now, just in case soaking it was causing a problem. I'm giving him plenty of fluids by syringe for now, and he's still drinking water. KMS pellets were milled in mid-November, dated until this June, and don't seem to be moldy...
    - I always thought Tribble was getting enough vit C. I feed green bell pepper in the morning and yellow bell pepper in the evening, but perhaps he needs more now that he's older? I've started supplementing with the Oxbow Vit C hay tabs and will continue them once he's back on his regular veggies.
    - I checked his urine at my workplace (I'm a vet tech) Saturday, and a urine dipstick showed no blood. Every UTI he's ever had in the past I've connected to a sanitation issue with the cage arrangement, so I don't really think he's got stones at this point.
    - I'm continuing to feed CC every 4-5 hrs, giving oral fluids, and giving metronidazole, meloxicam, benebac, and simethicone.

    He's doing very well, but still doesn't come out to eat hay on his own all that often, especially throughout the day; he has to be coaxed to get him to start eating. This behavior has been typical for him for a long time, and I'm thinking this is probably how he developed stasis in the first place. Could this behavior be pain-related? What else could be causing it?
    Last edited by LittleSqueakers; 03-06-18 at 01:52 pm.

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    Cavy Slave LittleSqueakers's Avatar
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    Re: older boar having stool issues

    The past 2 days, Tribble's stools seem to come in periods of passing good amounts interspersed with long hours of passing no stool (usually in the afternoon and evening). He seems to be feeling fine, he doesn't seem distressed during the long periods in-between stool passage, he moves around normally, and his belly remains soft. He was a little more active last night and will readily eat veggies by himself and hay if I encourage him to eat it. But late in the night and early this morning, his stools were much smaller than they had been the past 2 days. I feel like we're moving backwards...

    I weighed him this morning and his weight is actually up by about 3 oz from Sunday. I'm wondering if I'm feeding him too much Critical Care? Maybe I'm over-feeding him and he's not eating the hay as readily by himself because he's just not hungry? Should I focus more on encouraging him to eat dry hay and keeping him hydrated?

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    Cavy Slave LittleSqueakers's Avatar
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    Re: older boar having stool issues

    Tribble has really not passed much stool today at all... He's still eating hay, and I've been giving him CC in smaller doses so that it doesn't fill him up and he'll still eat hay, and I've been syringing like 10mL of 50% pedialyte to him about every 2 hrs or so throughout today. He seems bright and alert, but not as active this evening. His belly seems distended, but still soft. I'm getting seriously worried. What should I do? My vet doesn't open until 7 tomorrow morning...

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    Cavy Champion Guinea Pig Papa's Avatar
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    Re: older boar having stool issues

    Is he still taking the simethicone? If not, I would reintroduce that. Also, give him some time on a vibrating pillow if you have one, and if you don't a vibrating toothbrush or vibrating razor with the end removed under a towel will also help. This may stimulate his gut and help get it moving.

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: older boar having stool issues

    Are you sure he's not eating the poop? Pigs do that sometimes if they're not quite feeling up to snuff.

    Consistency of weight, or lack of it, will tell you as much or more than counting poop.

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    Cavy Slave LittleSqueakers's Avatar
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    Re: older boar having stool issues

    Yes, he's been on the simethicone the whole time; haven't stopped it. I've been putting him on a pillow with an electric toothbrush during every feeding today, and now both of the toothbrushes are out of battery and are going to take some time to recharge. I have seen him tuck to grab a cecal pellet, but I've also been finding very small quantities of TINY, shriveled poops.

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    Cavy Slave LittleSqueakers's Avatar
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    Re: older boar having stool issues

    His weight was actually up this morning: 3 oz from Sunday. I'm wondering if I've been feeding him too much CC the past few days and not encouraging him to eat enough hay?

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    Cavy Slave LittleSqueakers's Avatar
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    Re: older boar having stool issues

    I'm scared to feed him now. I feel like I'll just be "packing it in". Should I keep syringing water or pedialyte?

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    Re: older boar having stool issues

    If he isn't producing many stools get him into a vet ASAP for a motility drug. It sounds like he might be going into GI stasis.

    Yes I think you should keep giving fluids.

    About 5 months before my Theodore passed away he had similar issues, starting with soft stools then moving into very small hard as rock stools (and stool chains, where several small poops were strung together) into no stools at all. Throughout the whole time I was force feeding and giving simethicone etc and he had seen the vet. When his stools started slowing down, his weight went up very quickly (because food had gone in but not come back out). After I noticed he wasn't producing any stools I rushed him into the vet again as soon as they were open (about 6 hours as I noticed it in the middle of the night, his stools had significantly slowed down about 12 hours before they stopped completely). At the vet he was given an injection of reglan. The reglan did the trick and within a few hours he finally started doing a few very small poops every now and then, then after about 6 hours he had a poop explosion (pretty much the volume of poop he would usually do in a day he did in an hour, to start with they were hard but became looser), after that I kept hand feeding him again for another four days (his stool consistency was still a little over the place but were much closer to normal then before), then I slowly stopped force feeding him as he had started eating enough on his own again. Then he was completely back to normal again and didn't have any other issues until he passed away about 5 months later.

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    Cavy Champion Guinea Pig Papa's Avatar
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    Re: older boar having stool issues

    I just wanted to stop in and see how the little fella is doing?

    Hopefully there's been some improvement.....

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    Cavy Slave LittleSqueakers's Avatar
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    Re: older boar having stool issues

    Thank you to everyone who replied! Good news: Tribble is doing better with passing stools and his tummy seems a lot less bloated now.

    I stayed up until about 4:30 with him Wed night/Thurs AM, syringing water to him, massaging, encouraging him to eat hay. I had him on a heating pad, and after looking around my house, I found this nifty plug-in electric hand-held massager-thingy that we had lying around. I put it underneath the pillow (away from the heating pad) and just by running the motor, it gave excellent vibration to the pillow (though it was rather loud, but Tribby didn't seem to care). Later, I set him down in his playpen on the floor for a minute so I could change out his towel. When I came back to get him - to my surprise - he perked up and started waddling around, exploring the playpen. After a few minutes of moving around, he started passing some small poops. I kept playing with him, encouraging him to move for the next two hours, and he passed more stool. I was so relieved; I had seriously thought that he was on his way to a full blockage, but if he was feeling well enough to get up and explore on his initiative, I figured he couldn't be in serious trouble yet.

    We got in to see a new vet yesterday at 11 AM, she listened for gut sounds, and I described what I had been doing for treatment. It seems that the problem in this case was that I had actually been giving him too much fluid. I had been making up the CC a little too thin, and all the extra fluids I was giving along with it was actually preventing the fiber in the CC and hay from doing its job to keep the gut moving. There wasn't enough bulk to balance out the liquids. The vet suggested that I make the CC up to be about the consistency of toothpaste, and that I start reducing the amount of oral fluids that I supplement, since he isn't dehydrated and he is still passing stools. She didn't feel like he needed reglan, but said I could keep using the simethicone as needed and that it would help keep things moving. She looked up the dosage for simethicone in guinea pigs, and said I could go up to 70 mg/day if needed, though she admitted that it sounded like an awful lot! But I can give him a larger dose every now and then if I feel like he needs it.

    After two feedings yesterday afternoon and evening, I got up in the night to feed to find a lot more stools in his cage. This morning, there was also a lot of stools, and although still soft and putty-like, they are starting to look more fully-formed and less shriveled. His weight's come back down closer to where it has been; I think that the extra weight he put on the past few days really was just because he was full of poop! His belly also seems softer and less distended; he doesn't feel as "heavy" to pick up now. I've decreased the supplemental fluids, and instead am trying to give him small amounts of fluids throughout the day in the form of slurried vit C, small amounts of safe veggies, and only occasional syringing of water. My goal is to ease him back down to the level that he starts drinking water on his own again (he's stopped drinking water since I've been supplementing fluids because I've been giving him enough that he just isn't thirsty).

    Anyway, sorry for the long post, but I hope that this description will help any other owners who haven't hand-fed before or may run into similar problems.

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    Cavy Slave FailedFoster's Avatar
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    Re: older boar having stool issues

    I'm so happy to hear Tribble is doing better! Great job!

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