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Thread: Guinea Pig not eating and lethargic

  1. #1
    Cavy Slave
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    Guinea Pig not eating and lethargic

    Hi all,

    I haven't posted for a while, but reading the forum often.
    This thread is about one of our boars and I couldn't find any similar symptoms anywhere.

    2 weeks ago when I woke up he seemed normal and was waiting for his breakfast. Being active and happy.
    In half hour I was cleaning the cage and giving the breakfast and all of a sudden he was in the corner of the cage, lethargic, not moving too much. He looked very tired and refused all the food I was giving him. Even his favorite snacks (carrot, green pepper). He was not being himself. Like he was completely confused and not aware of his surroundings.

    So I rushed him to the vet.
    By the time we got there, he was eating hay and acting normal.
    They examined him thoroughly. Did X-ray as he had bladder stones in the past.
    Everything was fine. They kept him for observation whole day.
    I picked him up in the evening, and everything was fine for 2 weeks.
    I have no idea what happened, I thought maybe he got injured in the cage or something like that.

    Yesterday evening same thing happened.
    We came home from work around 6pm and he was being normal, asking for treats, eating,etc..
    Around 7:30pm again same thing. He was hunched in his house, not willing to eat any food or favorite treats, completely confused and lethargic.
    He looked very tired. It lasted for maybe 1 hour and then slowly he came back and started being himself. Now he is again very active, eating and everything.

    Did anybody experience anything similar or do you have any idea what could possibly be wrong?
    This look like some kind of attacks that he is having that last for up to 1h.

    I have some suspicion what might be happening, but not sure if it makes sense.
    It is extremely hot in our apartment in the summer, close to 80 Fahrenheit.
    When we cook the temperature often gets over 80 Fahrenheit.
    Is it possible that he experienced overheating or minor heat stroke?
    Our guinea pigs live in this apartment for almost 4 years and never had any problems.

    My other question is, could mites cause this kind of reaction in a guinea pig?
    Lately both of our guinea pigs are itching and biting their sides extensively.
    So we got Revolution and planning to treat them today, and then 2 more treatments each 2 weeks apart.

    Thanks for reading and any response or suggestion is appreciated.

    If this attack happens again, he is going back to the vet.

  2. #2
    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Guinea Pig not eating and lethargic

    It's not a mites reaction, but it could definitely be heat-related. Guinea pigs are extremely sensitive to heat, and can die of heat stroke at anything about 85 degrees. It may be that because he's getting older, the heat is bothering him more.

    You can aim a fan toward the cage, but don't let it blow directly on him. Frozen bottles of water wrapped in towels or fleece can give them something cool to lean on, and that helps control the temperature.

    If it happens again, you could try cooling him off with a bath and see how quickly he improves. Don't put him in cold water, just something around 70 degrees or so. That would be enough to cool him down but not chill him quickly.

    If he does have mites, the Revolution should take care of them.

  3. #3
    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Guinea Pig not eating and lethargic

    Thanks for a quick response.
    We will definitely start paying more attention to temperature in the room and always turn on window a/c when we are cooking.
    On very hot days and when we are not home, we will place them in smaller cage in a cooler room.

  4. #4
    Cavy Champion Guinea Pig Papa's Avatar
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    Re: Guinea Pig not eating and lethargic

    My "apartment" stays around 72 degrees, usually. But the sun goes over to the other side of the house in the evening and my living room tends to warm up to about 75 and 77 at those times despite the central air.

    I notice that my pigs are MUCH less active when it gets that warm in here. If it's too hot for you, it's likely much too hot for them considering they are wearing fur coats and his age is likely a contributing factor.

    My advice would be to find whatever cooling measures you can, to regulate the temperature in your apartment. I do have thermal curtains I can close to limit the amount of sun and heat transfer through the windows as well.

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    Cavy Slave spy9doc's Avatar
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    Re: Guinea Pig not eating and lethargic

    Quote Originally Posted by Guinea Pig Papa View Post
    I notice that my pigs are MUCH less active when it gets that warm in here. If it's too hot for you, it's likely much too hot for them considering they are wearing fur coats and his age is likely a contributing factor.
    Be VERY with cavies and heat. We lost a boy to heat stroke a few years ago and it wasn't a pleasant experience. When their core temperature rises too high, the heat begins to denature the proteins in the brain and causes irreversible changes. An example of denaturing proteins is when you cook an egg.......the white changes consistency and the result is irreversible. "This is your brain. This is your brain on heat".

    In my experience, they start to feel the effects at around 77 degrees. Like GPP suggests, I keep a fan blowing on the wall behind the cage at virtually all times during the summer because the a/c is in an adjacent room and their room is on the west side of the house.

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    Cavy Slave MerryFriarTuck's Avatar
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    Re: Guinea Pig not eating and lethargic

    It frequently gets to about 80 in our house through all of summer, too. If it is heat that's affecting your piggy, this is what we've done that's really helped!

    First, we have a small fan that runs all day ( and night, if it's anywhere near 80 ) by their cage. It's positioned to blow across the top of the cage
    ( about 1 to 2 feet above their heads ) , and not directly into/at them.

    We also bought a small digital Acu-Rite thermometer from Walmart for about $5 to place by their cage. It shows the current temp, the highest/lowest temp in the last 24 hours, and the humidity.

    And though they might not be as effective as a frozen water bottle, we have two marble cooling slabs always inside their cage. They love to lay on them if it's warm! Ours are the Kaytee "chin-chillers" slabs, and we ordered them from Amazon. They're nice and cool to the touch, smooth, and durable :)

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Guinea Pig not eating and lethargic

    As of today we are leaving the A/C on even when we are not home. We have that small wall AC, but it blows pretty hard.
    We set the temp to 73, hopefully it stays that way.
    He was fine for the last 2 weeks, and than today in the morning same thing.
    I found him sleeping in the corner of the cage.
    When I started cleaning the cage, I saw he is not interested and not moving.
    So I picked him up and placed him on the sofa. He refused any kind of food, even his favorite green peppers.
    He was just lying down and dragging his body around. He was disoriented and kind of dizzy and losing his balance.
    He slowly started eating green lettuce and hay. In half hour or so he was being himself and giving hard time to his cage mate.
    It wasn't too hot over the night, maybe up to 77 in the apartment. And for the last 2 weeks we are always keeping the balcony door opened 24/7 so they get fresh air, and turn on the AC when cooking.
    I don't know. He seemed to do better once I turned on the AC, so now it will stay on all the time. Don't know what else to do.
    I also booked him to see his vet for 1 more check up.

    Do you have any idea what else could cause this kind of behavior if it is not the heat?
    He is almost 4 now, and so far never had problems with heat.
    Could it be his heart?
    When we go to see the vet, is there anything she should look into?
    They did x-ray and ultrasound last time, and found nothing.
    Although I did notice lots of white spots where he pees, more than usual, but vet said there is no bladder stones.

  8. #8
    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Guinea Pig not eating and lethargic

    Hello, I will update this thread as I have recorded a video of what is happening.
    Our little guy was acting completely normal for the last 3 weeks, and today he had an "episode" again.
    We have AC on 24/7, and we believed we solved the issue.
    Whole morning he was fine, and then in the afternoon I found him lying in the corner of the cage.
    He refused to eat anything (hay, veggies,pellets, his favorite threats).
    So I have recorded how this looks like.
    To me it seems like he was in lots of pain and dragging his rear end. Maybe like he has a cramp.
    This lasted for half hour. Than he first started eating green lettuce and hay. Refused carrots and green peppers (his favorite).
    15 min after that he was eating everything and soon he was chasing our other guinea pig around the cage like nothing happened.
    As I am writing this he has his floor time and is active, running, etc...

    Only thing what happened today is that I turned the AC off for like 10 minutes as I was cold, and my wife started cooking at that time so it got a bit hot around the cage.
    And that is when I found him. I really don't know what to think anymore. Can this 10 minutes of warming up the room from cooking cause this much trouble for him or something else is going on....I will send this video to our vet as well...does anybody has any suggestion? Thanks


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    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner Artista's Avatar
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    Re: Guinea Pig not eating and lethargic

    If you are on the warm side, they are probably hot. Even my short hair was sensitive, and died from heatstroke at the hands of others who should have known better.

    What I do. I bought several of these lunch box size ice mats. They lie flat. I put a fabric over it, specifically a piece of fleece that is sewn to a cotton fabric. I put the ice mat where they like to chill with the fleece side down. They lie on it. Much better than ice water bottles. Icy cool penguin is the brand. Got them on amazon. I change it out every say 4 hours. For 2 there are 6 in the freezer.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Guinea Pig not eating and lethargic

    Thanks for the tips Artista. I will definitely look into that.

    Right now I think something else might be happening. He seemed like in lots of pain and couldn't move his rear legs.

    I sent the video to his vet, she is great so we will see what she thinks.

  11. #11
    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner Artista's Avatar
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    Re: Guinea Pig not eating and lethargic

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike221 View Post
    Thanks for the tips Artista. I will definitely look into that.

    Right now I think something else might be happening. He seemed like in lots of pain and couldn't move his rear legs.

    I sent the video to his vet, she is great so we will see what she thinks.
    Good luck. Hope he will be better soon.

  12. #12
    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Guinea Pig not eating and lethargic

    Thank you.

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    Cavy Slave ItsaZoo's Avatar
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    Re: Guinea Pig not eating and lethargic

    Is your guinea pig getting vitamin C supplements? Lethargy and lameness can be symptoms of scurvy caused by lack of vitamin C.

    And is he drinking enough water when the temperatures are high? If he is dehydrated that can also cause lethargy, dizzyness and difficulty walking.

  14. #14
    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Guinea Pig not eating and lethargic

    Well the thing is, he is not lethargic at all. This "episodes" last for half hour every few weeks.
    Before this episode and after he is completely normal. Like nothing happened. He is very active piggy, always walking around, bugging his cage mate, eating, drinking and asking for treats. He is getting plenty of vitamin C and drinks water throughout the day and he is getting lots of wet veggies throughout the day as well.

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