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Thread: 5yo. Female with loose, inconsistent stool

  1. #1
    Cavy Slave sayhey22's Avatar
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    Question 5yo. Female with loose, inconsistent stool

    Hello,

    Haven't used this page much, but I'd like to so I'm trying to learn the best way to get around and use it, so bear with me.

    I've got a little albino lady, Baby Pig, who turned 5 years old in June. She has not been spayed. She was examined by the closest cavy-knowledgable veterinarian; her teeth were checked all the way to the back, her eyes were looked at (no cataracts, but she has some very thick lenses, so she probably has trouble seeing in low lighting), and her weight has been consistent (around 1 pound 12 ounces).
    She started having stool that was rather loose; not diarrhea, but it definitely was not normal. Initially, they were smaller, tear drop shaped, but still decently firm. They have progressed to (and have gone back and forth between) stool that is long, squishy, sometimes they look a bit grainy, and stinky. At first, I figured she was eating too many veggie and fruit snacks, so we cut back on those. Nothing changed, so we cut them out all together - for her and her roommate, a neutered male named Beans. They are rather unhappy about the no snack ordeal, and just get Oxbow Timothy Hay (only thing decent around here, but I've been rather upset with their hay quality lately) and Oxbow Adult Guinea Pig Pellets (a couple centimeters under 1/4 cup, split between the two pigs, twice daily).
    The vet also suggested no snacks, and said that her cecum felt "airy," like there wasn't much going on in there. I was also instructed to mash up some of Beans' poops and mix them with something to feed to her. I got some Critical Care and tried that, but it didn't seem to do much. She eats hay and pellets fine, drinks water, chats with Beans... doesn't seem to have changed behavior wise.

    Currently, they don't get veggies or fruit. Every now and then, if they look really sad, I'll give them a quarter-sized bite of the apple I'm eating or a smidgen of carrot. These small amounts do seem to increase the looseness of her stool for an hour or so, but nothing that I do seems to improve it. At one point, it got to where it looked normal but a lot smaller (yay!), but even though no snacks were given and nothing had changed, it was back to being loose by the next morning. Her stool is loose enough that it gets caked to her feet on a daily basis (Beans seems to avoid it, because his feet are usually pretty clean).

    I've attached three pictures of her poos over the course of a couple months. For reference, the long poo was about half an inch long and was the wettest I have ever seen it, and the small ones are about half the size of her eyeball/less than half the size of Beans' poops and are more firm. Her more typical deposits seem to be in between the two smaller ones, of a decent but definitely not ideal firmness.

    I'm not sure if this is an older guinea pig kind of thing or what... Beans is almost 3 and was my first pig, so I'm not sure how older pigs work. Any thoughts or suggestions would be very helpful.
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  2. #2
    Cavy Slave LittleSqueakers's Avatar
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    Re: 5yo. Female with loose, inconsistent stool

    I'm sure some other members with more experience in medical issues will be along in a while, but the one suggestion I would make is to stop giving that little piece of carrot or apple when they look pitiful. Foods like carrots and fruit are high in sugar, and sugar is always the enemy of GI issues. Is there any way you could separate Beans for 10 minutes or so while he eats his veggies? There's no reason they both have to suffer!

    How long has Baby Pig been having the loose stool? GI issues can often take a while to resolve, but a couple of months sounds like a long time to me... Has there been no consistent improvement at all? Also, are you very sure that she's still eating enough hay? Do you see her come out to eat and sit and watch her eat? Small or tear-drop shaped poos are pretty typical of pigs that are not eating enough.

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    Cavy Slave sayhey22's Avatar
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    Re: 5yo. Female with loose, inconsistent stool

    Hi,
    We went through a 2 week period of absolutely nothing except hay and pellets. I give Beans snacks when I take him out for nail clippings, etc.
    I see her eating hay up in the loft a lot, and whenever they beg for snacks and I gave them a handful of fresh hay on the floor, she always munches anf stays til that little pile is gone. There have been times where it looks like there’s progress, but it’s just been back and forth.

    Called a vef in Maine today who’s a small exotics vet, and they said to lessen pellets and give high fiber vegetable snacks. Going to try that.

    i do think she probably doesn’t feel good though - unless she just really likes it; I put a brick in the freezer, and then wrap it in a fleece piece to put in their cage. She likes to put her front end on it and hang out there for a bit.

  4. #4
    Cavy Slave sayhey22's Avatar
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    Re: 5yo. Female with loose, inconsistent stool

    This was today: all withone one hour
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  5. #5
    Cavy Champion Guinea Pig Papa's Avatar
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    Re: 5yo. Female with loose, inconsistent stool

    For over a year, Sly had gastrointestinal problems virtually identical to Baby Pig (Ironically, baby pig was one of Sly's nicknames)

    Just for reference, Sly had serious malocclusion issues and basically stopped eating hay. He would eat alfalfa, but rarely touched Timothy hay after the dental problems started and his poop output showed it.

    We sometimes managed to get almost normal looking poops from him by supplementing with Critical Care. For some reason, and this was messy and difficult to maintain, he seemed to enjoy having his Oxbow Pellets dampened so that they turned almost into a powder. This helped him eat them and helped get him some extra fibre.

    That said, the problem was never solved. If you can, monitor Baby Pig's consumption of hay. I know it's a tall order, but I do believe that at least part of her issue is lack of hay consumption. I'm definitely not saying she has dental problems, but with Sly's decrease in fibre intake due to the malocclusion, we definitely saw the exact same poop issues you're seeing, and worse.

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    Cavy Slave spy9doc's Avatar
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    Re: 5yo. Female with loose, inconsistent stool

    Quote Originally Posted by Guinea Pig Papa View Post
    For over a year, Sly had gastrointestinal problems virtually identical to Baby Pig. Sly had serious malocclusion issues and basically stopped eating hay. He would eat alfalfa, but rarely touched Timothy hay after the dental problems started and his poop output showed it.
    Knowing Sly's health history and in reflecting back on my Chester's similar situation, I think you may be on to something here. Chester came to prefer his veggies over hay and his hay consumption was not good at all. His poops were inconsistent and his stool was often quite soft yet not really loose. The boy constantly had "poop shoes" and my clothes reflected that with the stains.

    As much as we want to think that perhaps our beloved cavies will live a long life and defy the odds that the lifespan will likely be only around 5-6 yrs., they often begin to manifest health issues at around 5 y.o. And, those health issues need to be properly......and promptly diagnosed and treated. Baby Pig may be quite healthy and may not have malocclusion issues, but it is certainly worth a thorough exam with a cavy savvy Vet.

    Do you feed her corn husks? Corn is still in season and is plentiful right now. Remove all the darker green outer husks and discard them. Tear the lighter green inner husks into thin strips and feed them to her. Most cavies really like them and it will add some long-strand fiber to her diet that she probably needs. Beans will like them too and the corn husks are a great snack that doesn't add calories to their diet.

    Also, you don't say if you use a hay rack or simply put the hay in a pile? In my experience, cavies often don't eat enough hay when they only have a hay rack available. I have two litter boxes in my cage (one in the loft and one on the main level) with a layer of litter on the bottom and hay on the top. Both my boys absolutely LOVE doing two things at once in the litter box. In fact, it is a favorite sleeping place as well. You just have to frequently tidy the cage and remove the soiled hay to keep them from getting dirty.

    All this may not be your answer, but it is certainly worth a try.

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    Cavy Slave sayhey22's Avatar
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    Re: 5yo. Female with loose, inconsistent stool

    They LOVE corn husks - you just tear it a little and they start screaming haha. Haven't given them any yet, but I could give them some. They've gotten bits of kale, and one day they got a little broccoli. Maybe a total of half a handful of veggies each time to get them used to them again. They do have hay racks, but one is very open in the front and Baby Pig often has her front feet on the opening to rummage around. We give "snacks" when they're begging, which is just hay, that is put straight onto the ground as well, multiple times a day.

    I did just manage to give her about 0.5 mL of Critical Care, mixed with two fresh poops from Beans. She wasn't too happy about it but we got some in haha. Yesterday I did move one of their hay bins (the bigger one that's easier access for them) to the main floor level for them, and both pigs are switching between that one and the one that is still upstairs. Beans has taken a liking to nesting in it too haha.

    I do tend to spend the majority of my inside the house time in the room where the pigs are, and if she isn't sleeping she's drinking water or eating hay. She also has never shown a disinterest in food, which is good. The vet we see isn't an exotics specialist, but she is very comfortable with cavies.

    Poops seemed to be more tear dropped shaped today, except for the ones in her pigloo - I'm pretty sure she just mashes them all together and them form into an icky patty of crap. They do really stink though... :/

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    Cavy Slave sayhey22's Avatar
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    Re: 5yo. Female with loose, inconsistent stool

    Update: giving the two pigs about 1/5 - 1/6 of a cup of pellets, two times daily. We only have one kale plant in the garden so I need to go out and buy some.
    Her poops seem to be more of the tear drop shape ones, but definitely pretty tiny. Haven't seen too much runny poops in the last 24 hours!

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    Cavy Slave spy9doc's Avatar
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    Re: 5yo. Female with loose, inconsistent stool

    Quote Originally Posted by sayhey22 View Post
    We only have one kale plant in the garden so I need to go out and buy some.
    Please don't feed kale often! It is VERY high in calcium and may cause issues with stones.

  10. "Thank you, spy9doc, for this useful post," says:


  11. #10
    Cavy Slave sayhey22's Avatar
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    Re: 5yo. Female with loose, inconsistent stool

    I monitor the fleece for calcium deposits whenever I'm spot cleaning or full cleaning their cage. Since I'm just re-introducing veggies, they are getting leaves that are maybe 3 inches long, every other day or every two days.
    I do know about kale needing to be given in moderation, but thank you for your input. Currently, it's the only high-fiber plant I have in the house.

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    Cavy Slave spy9doc's Avatar
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    Re: 5yo. Female with loose, inconsistent stool

    Quote Originally Posted by sayhey22 View Post
    Currently, it's the only high-fiber plant I have in the house.
    Then for heavens sake, if you still haven't done so, pick up a few ears of corn. They are the best source of long strand fiber outside of hay. Also, if you have a yard with unsprayed grass, you can cut a handful and give that to her. Just be cautious and introduce grass slowly as it can cause loose stool if a cavy overindulges. There are other "weeds" that are safe to feed cavies (and humans). Just be sure to learn to identify them correctly.

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