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Thread: Friar Tuck's medical thread

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    Cavy Slave MerryFriarTuck's Avatar
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    Exclamation Friar Tuck's medical thread

    Very worried piggy parent.

    Friar Tuck is a little over 2 years old. He's not eating today. Hasn't touched his pellets, I haven't seen him eat hay, he won't eat bell pepper, lettuce,carrot, or cucumber. I cut the veggies in matchstick slices and tried to gently push them in his mouth. He acts like he wants them, and chew on them, but then lets them fall back out of his mouth. He even pulls it out of my hand only to spit it out.

    Looking back, for the last week he hasn't been eating his pellets well. He's always been a bigger hay eater so I didn't think about it. Yesterday he ate most of his veggies and hay, but not as much as usual.

    Looking back, he hasn't loudly wheeked in the last three days, though he had chewed on bars at veggie time and burbled.

    No eye or nose discharge, his fur is smooth, he seems strong when he walks but he's not active. He's staying in his hide.

    Trying to get an appointment with our exotic vet now.

    I'm kicking myself like crazy for not having critical care in an emergency kit. It's already ordered. Is there a homemade version I can make now??? Should I make a pellet slurry? Tips on how with all this?

    Does anyone have any guesses what could be wrong? His front teeth I can see look fine, but I know molars are usually the issue. It just doesn't seem like a URI. All help/ input hugely appreciated right now!!!!

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    Cavy Slave MerryFriarTuck's Avatar
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    Re: Friar Tuck's medical thread

    He hasn't pooped much today. Yesterday he was pooping plenty and it was normally shaped in every way

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    Cavy Slave MerryFriarTuck's Avatar
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    Re: Friar Tuck's medical thread

    I tried a pellet slurry without a syringe, and he took one mouthful but that was all. Going to keep trying

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    Cavy Slave MerryFriarTuck's Avatar
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    Re: Friar Tuck's medical thread

    11 calls in and we still can't get into a vet. We have multiple exotic vets, some we've been to before, and still nothing yet. So far the earliest appointment we can get is tomorrow at 8:15 am

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    Cavy Slave spy9doc's Avatar
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    Re: Friar Tuck's medical thread

    Quote Originally Posted by MerryFriarTuck View Post
    I cut the veggies in matchstick slices and tried to gently push them in his mouth. He acts like he wants them, and chew on them, but then lets them fall back out of his mouth. He even pulls it out of my hand only to spit it out.
    My sense is that he may have an issue with his molars. Unfortunately, I have had a good bit of experience with the issue and that's how/when I first noticed the odd behavior.

    If you don't have Critical Care, a pellet slurry will do in a pinch. Grind up the pellets with anything that will grind them into a powder and mix with unflavored Pedialyte (generic is fine) to a consistency that you can syringe it to him. Try to get a 30cc syringe for the job......you can generally find them in a pet supply store where they will be called something like a "small animal feeding syringe". Cavies generally love unflavored Pedialyte and it will help to replace electrolytes and minerals that he could use, plus the taste will tempt him to take it. If you can't get Pedialyte, just use plain water or I sometimes use coconut water as a substitute.

    Yes, CC is one of those items that should be in every piggy emergency kit, as well as simethecone gas drops and a bottle of Pedialyte.

    Interesting that you should post this now. I have two boars who are 8 mos old and have never been to a Vet. I just called my Vet to see one of my boys who "may" have an issue with his teeth as well as respiratory issues. Thankfully, we're seeing Dr. Albin tomorrow to get Rascal checked out.

    Keep us posted about Friar Tuck.

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    Cavy Slave MerryFriarTuck's Avatar
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    Re: Friar Tuck's medical thread

    I've gotten him to eat one more small mouthful of pellet slurry, and nine carrot shavings, paper thin and about the slength and width of my pinky. I got the carrot shavings and pellet slurry very wet, so he's gotten at least a drop or two of water from each one. He hasn't drank from his water bottle at all that Ive seen.

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    Cavy Slave MerryFriarTuck's Avatar
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    Re: Friar Tuck's medical thread

    Quote Originally Posted by spy9doc View Post
    My sense is that he may have an issue with his molars. Unfortunately, I have had a good bit of experience with the issue and that's how/when I first noticed the odd behavior.

    If you don't have Critical Care, a pellet slurry will do in a pinch. Grind up the pellets with anything that will grind them into a powder and mix with unflavored Pedialyte (generic is fine) to a consistency that you can syringe it to him. Try to get a 30cc syringe for the job......you can generally find them in a pet supply store where they will be called something like a "small animal feeding syringe". Cavies generally love unflavored Pedialyte and it will help to replace electrolytes and minerals that he could use, plus the taste will tempt him to take it. If you can't get Pedialyte, just use plain water or I sometimes use coconut water as a substitute.

    Yes, CC is one of those items that should be in every piggy emergency kit, as well as simethecone gas drops and a bottle of Pedialyte.

    Interesting that you should post this now. I have two boars who are 8 mos old and have never been to a Vet. I just called my Vet to see one of my boys who "may" have an issue with his teeth as well as respiratory issues. Thankfully, we're seeing Dr. Albin tomorrow to get Rascal checked out.

    Keep us posted about Friar Tuck.
    Thank you, @spy9doc! It definitely seems like teeth to me. I'll try to get some pedialyte in him/for him.

    What is your opinion on waiting until tomorrow morning for the vet? There is an emergency vet I could bring him to, but I don't know them like I know the exotic vet we could get him to tomorrow. EDIT: to add the emergency vet is a good 1+ hour away, and I'm not sure about putting Friar Tuck through that long of a drive.
    Last edited by MerryFriarTuck; 11-10-20 at 12:37 pm.

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    Cavy Slave spy9doc's Avatar
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    Re: Friar Tuck's medical thread

    Quote Originally Posted by MerryFriarTuck View Post
    What is your opinion on waiting until tomorrow morning for the vet?
    I think waiting until tomorrow is fine. It's not as though he has pneumonia or CHF, both of which could be critical insofar as time is concern. He probably has been getting to this point for a while, but it was subtle enough that you didn't take particular note of it. Don't feel badly.......it happens to all of us. I think that seeing an emergency Vet is not warranted and if it IS teeth. you definitely want him to be seen by a cavy-savvy Vet.

    You know, it's funny when I hear a piggy parent say something like "I'm not sure about putting Friar Tuck through that long of a drive". I guess it's because I've never had a cavy who feared a car ride, In fact, they seem to be soothed and put to sleep by the vibration of the engine and movement of the car. I put them in a carrier and strap it into the front passenger seat where they can be near me. I then can talk to them and reach in for a pat once in a while.

    Please do keep us posted. Perhaps @Guinea Pig Papa will come along and offer some words of encouragement. If anyone has had more experience with dental issues, it would be him.

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    Cavy Champion Guinea Pig Papa's Avatar
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    Re: Friar Tuck's medical thread

    I saw your post earlier, @MerryFriarTuck, but I was on the road and couldn't reply.

    Sadly, @spy9doc is right. I have far too much experience in cavies with dental issues.

    You did say you have Critical Care coming? Absolutely one of THE most essential items to have in a piggy emergency kit. That, along with 1ml and a few larger syringes will help carry a piggy to a vet visit if nothing else.

    I always made a pellet slurry by soaking pellets in boiling water to break them down as quickly as possible. I've also added more water later in an effort to thin it down. If you haven't got any syringes, I would suggest a trip to the local pharmacy. You may even find the curved dental syringes there, just cut a good portion of the tip off.

    Sly's dental issues became apparent with both his lack of eating, and checking is incisors to see if they were angled. Sly's were so the issue was easily identifiable. Punkin, however, did not. His incisors were perfectly straight. The issue with him was an infected upper incisor, which made it very painful for him to eat. Because he was chewing only on one side, that's what caused the problems with his molars and it snowballed from there.


    I would go as soon as I could to a pharmacy, though. He needs to eat, and the longer he goes without food the worse it is for him. Definitely make sure the slurry is watered down sufficiently. If it's too hard to press the plunger on the syringe, DO NOT put it in your cavies mouth. You can instantly fill his mouth and choke him if the pressure suddenly releases. Mild pressure should ease the squishy mess out for him to eat.

    Friar Tuck may require a little bit of gas to "whiff" him under to get a GOOD look at his molars. Several times I've had my pig looked at quickly and told his molars were fine, only to go back almost immediately and have him sedated to find that all was NOT well. If you vet can't get a good look and you aren't satisfied with the answer, that's what I would do.

    When I had my pigs in the car, as long as I made sure they could see me as we drove that seemed to be enough for them. Obviously different circumstances may prevent that, and it may not even be recommended. I turned off the passenger side airbag whenever I transported my pigs. Perhaps it even eased my mind some if I could see THEM, too.

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Friar Tuck's medical thread

    Tomorrow should be fine for the vet if you can get food into him. But you need to realize that he doesn't get to decide whether he eats or not. You're an adult human, he's a three-pound pig. You're equipped to win this battle. It's called "force feeding" for a reason, and it's absolutely necessary that you do it. If he goes too long without enough food, you'll have intestinal issues to deal with as well as they teeth, and they can be much more quickly fatal.

    The rule of thumb for feeding a guinea pig is that if the pig is eating nothing at all, you feed 100 cc. of Critical Care or pellet slurry for every kilogram the pig weighs, per day, broken up into 6-8 feedings around the clock. Adjust the CC up or down depending on the pig's weight, and decrease it if the pig is eating some of its normal food.

    But DO FEED THE PIG, regardless of whether he likes it or not. That may be the thing that saves his life.

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    Cavy Slave TheGuineaPigGal's Avatar
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    Re: Friar Tuck's medical thread

    Yes. The pig NEEDS to eat. I heard that you can take carrot baby food, or something of that nature, and mix it with pellets, I tried this with my pig, we ran out of critical care once, and I went to several different store and they were all out or didn't have any. I had some carrot baby food from a month ago when I had my niece over. (it was unopened) My guinea pig ate it, and it kept him eating until I was able to get him to the vet 5 hrs later.

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    Cavy Slave MerryFriarTuck's Avatar
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    Re: Friar Tuck's medical thread

    Thank you so much @bpatters, @spy9doc, @GuineaPigPapa, @TheGuineaPigGal! Ok, here's all the updates in the most important order my tired mind can put them:

    We brought Friar Tuck to an exotic vet we finally got in with at 4:15 to 5:30 pm today. He got x-rays, some sub q fluid, and an extremely small dose of pain medicine via injection. We got Anise flavored Oxbow critical care!

    It was an 1.5 hour drive to there and back. We mixed up the critical care and got 5 ccs of it in him! An entire syringe plus a little more. It was fight but he definitely ate all of 5 ccs.

    The x-rays showed no dangerous level of bloat, a small amount of food from yesterday still moving through his digestion, no tumors/no stones/no tooth or jaw issues that could be seen with the x-ray. No sources that could be found that could cause pain that would stop eating. His lungs and heart sounded healthy. They examined his mouth the best they could without sedating him. No tooth issues could be seen. The vet said she didn't want him under any anesthetic until we tried the critical care to improve him and his appetite, and see where we are tomorrow. Because the anesthetic would slow down his digestive even more. Because of that she was careful to only give him an extremely small dose of pain med, knowing that can increase loss if appetite. And the pain med was injection which she said would keep it out of his digestive system better.

    He's hiding and recovering now. He's probably been through more today than he has in his entire life.

    We still have the 8:15 appointment at another exotic vet tomorrow. We'll see how he is tomorrow morning.

    CRITICAL CARE questions: I did slightly more water than the 1 part critical care to 2 parts water recommended. Does the mixed critcal care need to be refrigerated? How thick a mixture do you usually make it? He wouldn't eat it before I made it slightly more watery.

    Opinions? Thoughts? Did we get enough critical care in him? What you would do from here?

    Thank you SO much, I don't know what I'd do without this forum!!!

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    Cavy Champion Guinea Pig Papa's Avatar
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    Re: Friar Tuck's medical thread

    Every now and again, one of my pigs would go on strike. Both Simon and Leo have taken a day and eaten very little, and scaring the crap out of me in the process.

    5cc is definitely a good start. A little wetter won't really make much of a difference right now, and I think he could probably do with the extra water. Always mix the critical care in small batches, and mix it fresh with each feeding. I don't know how well that refrigerates and on the bag it specifically states to mix it fresh with each batch.

    He may not have a problem with his molars, but there is a very good possibility that he's gotten a hay poke inside his mouth, or bitten a sharp barb inside the hay. I have found a lot of those little barbs in the Oxbow hay lately and even just tonight leaned down in the cage and given my finger a good poke with one. I feel that that was the likely source of Punkins injury, subsequent infection and ultimately his passing.

    Keep your eye on him. Make sure you get some more into him before bed. Whenever I was force feeding my boys, I was only satisfied if they ate at least 1 syringe (12cc) and sometimes two.

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    Cavy Slave MerryFriarTuck's Avatar
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    Re: Friar Tuck's medical thread

    Thank you @Guinea Pig Papa Hay poke inside his mouth would make so much sense.. I do use Oxbow Western Timothy Hay, it's been the best hay I can get but have found pokey pieces before. I did mix the critcal care in a small batch, but had a little left over and didn't want to waste it, so wondered if it could keep. Friar Tuck did eat a full syringe and a half, maybe I was wrong on that being only 5 ccs.

    The vet said extreme stress could cause loss of appetite, but he'd been acting normal and not stressed before now. The ONLY thing that could possibly have spooked him a little is we've had a LOT of wind lately, and his cage is by the window. But it's where he's always been and I can't see how it could have stressed him that much. The vet only said it when we were throwing around everything it could possibly be.

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    Cavy Slave MerryFriarTuck's Avatar
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    Re: Friar Tuck's medical thread


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    Cavy Champion Guinea Pig Papa's Avatar
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    Re: Friar Tuck's medical thread

    I am very, very much hoping that this is just an anomaly and that he'll be back to himself in no time. What's happening to Friar Tuck is pretty much exactly how Punkins issue started and I just don't want to see him (or you for that matter) go through it. It was devastating for me, honestly. Punkin did end up with a molar issue rather quickly tho and his first checkup identified it, which doesn't seem to be the case for Friar Tuck.

    Fingers are crossed that by tomorrow morning he's back to himself and things are returning to normal in short order.

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  24. #17
    Cavy Slave spy9doc's Avatar
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    Re: Friar Tuck's medical thread

    FYI.....none of the x-rays will load. Something about not being a valid attachment. Too bad......I love looking at x-rays.

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  26. #18
    Cavy Slave MerryFriarTuck's Avatar
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    Re: Friar Tuck's medical thread

    I'll try again:

    Click image for larger version. 

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  27. #19
    Cavy Slave MerryFriarTuck's Avatar
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    Re: Friar Tuck's medical thread

    I think I did too many at once the first time.


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  28. #20
    Cavy Slave MerryFriarTuck's Avatar
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    Re: Friar Tuck's medical thread

    That's all of them.



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