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Thread: Pig seems to have trouble eating

  1. #21
    Cavy Champion Guinea Pig Papa's Avatar
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    Re: Pig seems to have trouble eating

    I'll make a suggestion here. Normally, too many pellets are not a good thing, and they still aren't. That said, one thing I found that helped my pigs with dental issues eat on their own is to take a small amount of pellets and put them in another bowl, and then put just enough water in the bowl to cover the pellets. The pellets will break down and puff up, and make them much easier for your little guy to eat.

    Not really a long term solution but if he can eat more easily on his own it might help his weight at least stabilize.

  2. #22
    Cavy Champion Guinea Pig Papa's Avatar
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    Re: Pig seems to have trouble eating

    Quote Originally Posted by onefutui2e View Post
    Thank you for sharing that thread. I've been posting updates to keep people informed, but having a record is also really good for others in the future. The last days as you described for Punkin mirrors very much the last days of one of mine back in the summer of 2018. I remember it was incredibly heartbreaking...

    This little guy is still hanging in there. Honestly, aside from his wet beard look he looks exactly the same as he always has. One thing that worries me is if all these constant feedings carries the risk that maybe I jam the syringe in the wrong spot and make his mouth feel even worse.
    That's exactly why I created that thread. I was obviously looking for help and advice, but I also wanted to document what was happening for a few reasons. Obviously the ability to help others such as now, and if I was trying to remember something either during his treatment or in the future during another pigs ordeal, I could refer to it if my memory had gotten cloudy (It does that).

    I just realized that your avatar bears a striking resemblance to Punkin too.

  3. #23
    Cavy Slave onefutui2e's Avatar
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    Re: Pig seems to have trouble eating

    Quote Originally Posted by Guinea Pig Papa View Post
    That's exactly why I created that thread. I was obviously looking for help and advice, but I also wanted to document what was happening for a few reasons. Obviously the ability to help others such as now, and if I was trying to remember something either during his treatment or in the future during another pigs ordeal, I could refer to it if my memory had gotten cloudy (It does that).

    I just realized that your avatar bears a striking resemblance to Punkin too.
    Aww, he was our first guinea pig, passed away in the summer of 2018. He was a good one; almost no instincts for survival so he was super easy to handle and loved cuddling. His last days seem similar to your Punkin, though I didn't notice it until it was too late. I'm determined not to let it happen again with Pigsilver!

    He's going into the vet today; he's still eating his veggies and fruits. He's taken to eating carrots like corn on the cob (I think the core is too hard for him to bite through), which is encouraging improvement. I also no longer need to really shred the lettuce He's getting between 80-90cc of critical care a day at this point. He gained back the ounce he lost over the weekend; steadily hovering between 48 and 48.5 ounces. He's even started reasserting his dominance over his cage mate, Spiderpig. He's still got that wet beard goig on, but it usually dries up in between feedings. Still not entirely sure that he's eating any hay; he seems to enjoy lying down in it.

    So overall he's not doing too bad, though it's still a wonder exactly what's wrong with him.

  4. #24
    Cavy Champion Guinea Pig Papa's Avatar
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    Re: Pig seems to have trouble eating

    Fingers are crossed that you get some answers, and hopefully, a treatment solution. Would be great to see Pigsilver recover.

    Keep us updated on his diagnosis if you get one, and progress!

  5. #25
    Cavy Slave onefutui2e's Avatar
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    Re: Pig seems to have trouble eating

    Major update! The vet said Pigsilver's incisors are crooked (I've noticed the same over the past few days), but his back molars are overgrown and blocking his tongue, making it hard for him to grab food.

    She said she can plane his teeth and straighten them out, but said that there aren't guarantees he'll recover well (her words were, "this prognosis generally isn't good"), because:

    1. Just recovering from the anesthesia can take a variable amount of time.
    2. His jaw may have atrophied/fused making it difficult to eat.

    Basically, the first two factors could lead to the teeth being overgrown again because he's not eating enough. It could also happen that the teeth just continue to overgrow if it's "degenerative". She said aside from that he looks like he's in good shape (80-90cc on Critical Care on top of whatever he could eat probably helped), so he should be able to take the anesthesia well enough.

    I kind of expected this prognosis given this thread, but we're still going to go through with it and if he doesn't make a recovery we'll figure out next steps then. So now he's staying overnight for the procedure and we'll pick up tomorrow or on Friday.

    I'm a bit annoyed because we could've found this all out a week earlier...I guess now I know I won't be going back to the other vet any time soon...

  6. #26
    Cavy Champion Guinea Pig Papa's Avatar
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    Re: Pig seems to have trouble eating

    I'm glad you finally got a diagnosis!

    While I agree the prognosis isn't good, this condition is manageable. I'll direct you back to the initial thread I posted at the top for my boy sly, as he endured almost 2 years of these procedures. It was almost 6 months between the 1st and 2nd procedure, but they did get more frequent as time went on. Sly usually took a day or two to recover from the anesthesia, and was almost always eating immediately following the procedure.

  7. "Thank you, Guinea Pig Papa, for this useful post," says:


  8. #27
    Cavy Slave onefutui2e's Avatar
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    Re: Pig seems to have trouble eating

    Thank you! This keeps us both optimistic.

    One last question before I go offline until tomorrow - How long can I keep mixed Critical Care refrigerated? I made a huge 90cc batch yesterday night so I can use it throughout my workday without interruption and I'm not sure if I should just throw it out.

  9. #28
    Cavy Champion Guinea Pig Papa's Avatar
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    Re: Pig seems to have trouble eating

    Instructions on the bag say it should be prepared fresh at every feeding.

  10. #29
    Cavy Slave onefutui2e's Avatar
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    Re: Pig seems to have trouble eating

    Update over the weekend:

    1. On Wednesday, Pigsilver went in to get his teeth filed down. The vet called me that afternoon and she said things went well, they're going to monitor him.
    2. On Thursday afternoon, we picked him up from the vet. He looked to be out of it, but since this wasn't the first time I had a guinea pig go into sedation, I wasn't too worried. The vet said expect him to take a day or two to get going again. Until then, she gave us a few meds (Metacam, Proposid, and some eye drops) to keep him comfortable.
    3. Friday and Saturday, his condition didn't quite improve as much as we expected. There were a few signs of hope; there was one time he actually bit off the stalk of a piece of dill and ate it. He also took on a carrot. But I still haven't seen him eat any hay. We've been keeping him on about 60-80cc of Critical Care a day. He's gotten feistier around the feedings compared to Thursday, so I think for the most part he's okay. His beard is no longer wet, so I guess drool isn't an issue. I frequently see him lying in the hay, but again, I don't know if he's eating it.

    Today, much the same. He will occasionally munch on some veggies or eat a grape tomato, but we still haven't yet seen him eat hay. I try to wave seed heads in front of him but he's not having it. He's dropped about 1.5 ounces since Thursday which may have been because we've scaled back the Critical Care to encourage him to eat again. When I peer into the cage I can sometimes see him chewing on something; that's a little encouraging...his stools still look a mix between extremely mushy and dry instead of the jumbo sausage shapes they usually are.

    I have a follow-up with the vet tomorrow, but she said if things don't improve within 7-10 days post-surgery, it might be time to explore "other options". :(

  11. #30
    Cavy Champion Guinea Pig Papa's Avatar
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    Re: Pig seems to have trouble eating

    I can sometimes take up to a week for a pig to eat again after a dental procedure. Sly was usually doing well a day or two afterward, but there were times that it took a week or more before he was back to normal.

    Sadly, Sly also went off his hay and contributed greatly to the frequency of his future planings. That was some time after his first procedure, that didn't occur right after his first procedure.

    A guinea pigs mouth is SO small that even the best vet can sometimes nick the gums, causing additional pain. It also takes several days for any injuries inside the mouth to heal, caused by his molars being overgrown and having sharp points.

    Weight loss following the procedure is also normal, but if he's having trouble with it step up the critical care feedings. You'll get an idea of when he wants to eat more on his own and you can back down the feedings accordingly from there.

  12. #31
    Cavy Champion Guinea Pig Papa's Avatar
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    Re: Pig seems to have trouble eating

    Just curious how your little guy is faring post surgery? Hoping his recovery is progressing well.

  13. #32
    Cavy Slave onefutui2e's Avatar
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    Re: Pig seems to have trouble eating

    Ah, sorry I haven't updated in a bit! He's...not doing any worse, I guess? His drool has cleared up at this point. He eats vegetables and fruits, though he still looks awkward doing it and is occasionally making funny faces, but trending slightly positive. My girlfriend and I don't know if he's been eating any hay. Occasionally when I peer into the cage he's chewing something? So maybe? Hopefully!

    His weight is holding steady at around 46oz, but we're still heavily supplementing him with Critical Care (between 80-100cc a day). I followed up with the vet and she seemed concerned, so I'm taking him in for another evaluation tomorrow.

    What's also worrying is that his buddy, Spiderpig, is beginning to behave strangely, too. He's dropped an ounce or two since last Thursday. He's always been a very voracious eater but lately it looks like he's been eating slower and less often. He's still eating his hay, just not as often. I'm wondering if he's doing it in sympathy with Pigsilver? Either way, I booked an appointment for him next Friday just in case.

  14. #33
    Cavy Champion Guinea Pig Papa's Avatar
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    Re: Pig seems to have trouble eating

    If his weight is stable that's a positive. Whatever affected Pigsilver, may also now be affecting Spiderpig. I'm glad you've got an appointment for him as well.

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    Cavy Slave onefutui2e's Avatar
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    Re: Pig seems to have trouble eating

    Right, but if his weight is stable because we're still pumping him full of Critical Care, we can't really call it progress, can we?

    I'm hoping Spiderpig is just changing his behavior in response to Pigsilver. Their dynamic is typically very frenetic as they like to chase each other around a lot, but even since last Thursday they've been a lot more "relaxed" in a way. I don't think there's anything wrong with Spiderpig, but the change in dynamic is stark enough for both my girlfriend and I to take notice.

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Pig seems to have trouble eating

    How many veggies per day are they getting? They're not nearly as important for their diet as hay, because hay is what keeps the molars ground down and the incisors even. Pigs can (and in my experience, usually do) prefer veggies to hay. In that case, you should cut back on veggies to about half a cup a day per pig and see if their hay consumption increases. If so, you can gradually increase veggies to a cup per day, but no more than that.

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    Cavy Slave onefutui2e's Avatar
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    Re: Pig seems to have trouble eating

    Yeah, I don't think they're getting too much...if anything, they're not finishing the amount we give them anymore. But I'll tell my girlfriend to scale it back.

    Our vet gave us some Supreme Science Selective pellets. Spiderpig has no trouble chewing through them, but Pigsilver can't. I pounded them a bit and broke them into smaller pieces and he's able to eat them, but he's definitely making funny faces as he's eating. So it looks like there's still some mouth pain.

    Also just observed Spiderpig eating hay, so that's good. I saw Pigsilver walk over to the hay pile and it looked like he was going to eat. But he just sniffed around and walked about.

  18. #37
    Cavy Slave onefutui2e's Avatar
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    Re: Pig seems to have trouble eating

    Positive news: I came over to the cage and I saw Pigsilver in the hay; most encouragingly, he was rigorously chewing something. I don't think we left any veggies in the cage, so I'm confident that it was hay! I gave him a crushed pellets and he was eating them with aplomb. Given how hard these pellets are, the fact that he's able to chew them (even if he's making funny faces) gives me a lot of hope.

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    Cavy Slave onefutui2e's Avatar
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    Re: Pig seems to have trouble eating

    From the follow-up, the vet said that Pigsilver's jaws are really weak (she said she was able to move it with impunity) and that's why he's been making weird, funny faces when he tries to eat. His teeth are still fine.

    She said that right now, the best we can do is keep encouraging him to eat, and hope that his jaw muscles build back up (like physical therapy). But there's a possibility that he won't recover, whether it's because the muscles have atrophied too much or it could be too arthritic. She said he might never eat hay again, but if he keeps eating solid foods, working his jaws, and teeth, we can keep the teeth in a manageable state, i.e., they'll still overgrow, but we might only need to do a dental procedure once a year if we're lucky. If not and we find ourselves coming back often, then we'd have to explore "other options".

    She did some laser procedure that she said could help. And she gave us some meds to sooth the nerve pain. We should keep him on Metacam and continue to supplement with Critical Care. He has net lost an ounce since his procedure, so she said we're doing a good job keeping him up.

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Pig seems to have trouble eating


  21. #40
    Cavy Slave onefutui2e's Avatar
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    Re: Pig seems to have trouble eating

    Most excellent news! My girlfriend and I ordered third cut timothy and orchard hay to see if changing it up would help. They both came today and we dropped some into the cage. Pigsilver sniffed it for a moment and ate a strand (unassisted). Then he ate another, and another, and he spent the next ten minutes alternating between the orchard and timothy hay. This is probably the most positive development over the past three weeks! We'll keep monitoring him and supplementing him with Critical Care, but I feel a lot better now.

    I still worry a little about Spiderpig; he was sniffing the hay a lot but eating much slower. But he's slowly working through it. Which by itself isn't bad, but he's usually a very voracious eater.

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