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Not Eating 5.25 Year Old Male Not Eating


Cavy Slave
Apr 23, 2012
Hey Everyone,

I've also posted this on another popular forum but haven't found much help to date so I thought I'd try the again here.

I've got two male piggies who live in separate cages. The younger one, Bailey, is doing just fine but the older one, G.P., has been fighting a suspected URI for some time.

We took G.P. to a secondary vet who knows a little about guinea pigs but not as much as some of the more exotic vets. I did this because money is tight and I know the little guy needs help. On March 31st, we took him to the vet and were there for close to two hours. The little guy normally weighed over 1kg (as much as 1.2kg when he was younger) but had dropped to 834g by this visit. The vet did some bacteria slides and determined he had both cocci and rods present. She prescribed Baytril at 0.14mL x 2day which seemed to improve his look (eyes were less cloudy, watery, crusty and droopy) but he still wasn't eating his own food. By the Tuesday, he was down to almost 725g at which point I went to a 24-hour vet clinic and picked up Critical Care. He seemed to get better -- to the point where we had him up to 800g -- but still wouldn't eat his food. A week had passed and he still wasn't improving so we took him to a second vet who did some blood work, looked at his teeth, and determined that his liver and kidneys were functioning properly. We'd talked about stopping the Baytril incase that was killing his appetite but after close to 10 days, he was getting ill again and no change in his appetite had happened. We've resumed his Bayril in the meantime, gone through a second bag of Critical Care, and not much has changed. We've been ensuring he's been getting enough vitamin C as well (as per both vets) plus plenty of water (which he constantly drinks).

The funny thing is, at first, he'd grab onto the syringe for his Critical Care but now puts up a fight. We might be able to hand feed him his Genesis Extruded pellets but he will only eat so many of those.

If I give him baby spinach (a few leaves), he's all over them. If I give him a couple of baby carrots, he'll have them done within an hour or two. If I give him Vitakraft Happy Frutti treat, he'll go for that and eat plenty of it at one sitting leaving the rest of the food. For those not familiar with this treat, it's made up of hard/dried fruits and veggies:

(broken link removed)

So, his teeth are fine but he's just not wanting to eat any of the foods he normally should eat. He grew up on Oxbow Cavy Cuisine but has gotten over that so I switched him to Genesis Extruded Pellets which he gave up on (we can hand feed 15-20 of these at a time but the recommended feeding is 70-75 pellets/day -- if we don't hand feed, he might eat five on his own). We also tried the Hagen Guinea Pig pellets but he doesn't want those either.

Anybody have any ideas?

Thanks... we're more than concerned at this point because he's still in great spirits and very inquisitive (it's not like he just sits in his house when we're around).
Welcome to GPC.

I would recommend stop feeding him the treats. Those pet store treats are not healthy for him.

Is he eating any hay on his own? Does he have access to unlimited hay?

For critical care, how much are you feeding him and how many times a day? You can add baby food to critical care to make it more flavorful. Here are some info:

He should be getting around 60 grams of critical care, separated into 4-6 servings per day.

If he's still on antibiotics, you should give him some probiotics.

I hope he will get better soon. Keep us posted.
Thanks lissie for the fast response.

The sad reality is that he's not showing interest in anything in his dish (so we've felt it's better, at night, to at least leave him something he may eat while we sleep). He has unlimited hay as I continually put fresh Oxbow Western Timothy in his cage for him. He does eat constantly throughout the day but whereas his younger sibbling may eat most of two handfuls given to him in a day, G.P. will only eat (at best) between a quarter and a half of this amount.

We gave him the fine grind CC originally but switched to the Apple Banana one. He gets fed between 3 and 5 times a day with 60g of the mix (as per the directions). The only thing we haven't tried is adding some probiotics to his diet. We're just concerned that it's now been close to four weeks and we're no further ahead than when we started. I just read that Acidophilus cultures are recommended. Is there any particular brand over another that's best? And where would be the best place to find this? Thanks.
You can use (broken link removed) or any acidophilus capsules. Just make sure there are no diary.

You can find Bene-bac in pet stores, and acidophilus capsules in drug stores. They are in the supplement section.
Will definitely make sure to see if I can find BeneBac locally -- if I can't, I'm gonna go the capsule route; a colleague already warned me to ensure there is no milk/milk by-product in the capsule.

Thanks. How many days, roughly, does it normally take for a little one's appetite to come back if this is the cause?
It is hard to say when the appetite will come back. Have you post on Guinea Lynx? There are more people there with medical knowledge.

Has other diagnosis been done? Is he peeing/pooping normal amount? Are you weighing him daily?

Here's some info on anorexia.

He could have dental issue or other underlying issues.
I know, I've posted there but hit a roadblock. I've posted an update there as well.

He's had everything except for Xrays (which I can't really afford). Because he's not eating as much, he's not pooping as much. Pee is normal. Am weighing him two times a day as a precaution as well. Just running out of ideas. :(
Keep handfeeding him and if he doesn't get better, go back to the vet. Can you get a financial aid for the vet fee? Ask the vet if they offer financial plan.

You mentioned he used to eat Oxbow pellets. What was the reason you switched him? Can you try Oxbow pellets again and see if he will like them more than the brand you are feeding now?
We've been handfeeding him now for about 3 and a half weeks. Unfortunately, I do not qualify for financial aid for vet care. I could ask the vet about a payment plan but this will get very expensive, quickly.

I switched him from the Oxbow because he wasn't eating them. I tried a third food because he isn't interested in the Genesis (second brand). We've tried the Oxbow again but he's not interested in it. In fact, I've tried putting all three foods out for him (or each one separately) with no different result.
Just to add, I did pick up some refrigerated powdered Acidophilus from a health-food store. Finding one without milk by-products was very difficult and expensive. Both of my local pet stores suggested going the health food store route because it's a better quality product (and because they don't cary anything like that for small animals). Will try giving him some a few a hours after his next antibiotics are administered.
I just wanted to give a bit of an update today since I've had some time to watch my little one (on a day off today).

We administered his usual Critical Care last night after weighing him and he was down to 723g before feeding. We got him back up to 761g after a few feedings last night and into the morning. This was after we ended up giving him a tiny amount of acidophilus powder on some spinach leaves two-hours after his antibiotics last night. We've noticed his poop is better formed but very small (obviously because he's not eating much).

This morning, he was down to a dangerouns 728g but we hadn't fed him. We gave him his antibiotics and then gave him his spinach (and some arugula) with the powder on them [which he instantly ate]. I also decided, on a whim, to pick up some other Guinea Pig food (the Ecotrition brand) and put some of that in his dish. Ever since we put that in his dish, he's been eating that, hay, drinking water and then napping for a short while before getting back up for more food and water. It's in little bits at a time (he isn't clearing the plate) but he has already clearly eaten one tbsp of the ecotrition so we put another bunch out for him as well. I'd say it's still early to say one way or the other but it's good to see him getting back to his older routines. We've also weighed him twice today since the initial weighing and he's up to 740g on his own (with no Critical Care).

I will post an update in the coming days. Thanks for the suggestions. Fingers crossed.
Wow, u are doing such a good job caring for you pig! Can you post a pigture of the little guy?
Wow, u are doing such a good job caring for you pig! Can you post a pigture of the little guy?

Thanks for the compliments and asking, charliespet. It's been a hard last month or so for us in the household with trying everything to get him better. It's nice to have forums such as this one where people do care. This photo was take late last week:

[GuineaPigCages.com] 5.25 Year Old Male Not Eating

G.P. (the ill 5.25 year old) is on the left, Boomerang (the 16 year old loverbird is in the middle) and Bailey (4.25 year old male) is on the right. All three do have their own cages. Bailey and G.P. spend floor time together, however, since G.P. has been ill we've had to stop this in fear that Bailey might get the URI himself.
aw that is adorable. You must be exhausted from all the hand feeding and worry. Just know that you are doing the best you can. Beautiful pigs, I love their colors! I didn't realize love birds live that long!
The time of day you weigh your pigs can make a huge difference in the numbers you're seeing. To get a more accurate idea of weight loss/gain, you're supposed to weigh at the same time in the day. I don't think I'd feel better weighing him twice a day, and feeling safe that the second number is higher. A gram is about the weight of a penny (small US coin) so food will obviously add a lot of grams to his weight.
@charliespet: Again, thanks for the compliments. It's been a lot of work (and worry) but we're not giving up on the little guy. He's got tonnes of spirit still so it's pretty obvious he's not in pain. It's also hard because I adopted him from work after he was done starring in a local kids television program (in fact, the show stars a hamster, a bunch of guinea pigs, a chinchilla, some bunnies and some other rodents). He was the last one to be adopted but when I held him for the first time, he made some purring noises (noises none of the production people had ever heard before).

@MissJean: Indeed, we do weigh him at the same time in the day -- we've just been weighing him today to see if what he's eating is "helping" him gain some weight back. The food directions are to feed as required and considering he's *NOT* been eating anything else given to him (except maybe nibbling) we're just thankful to see him eating anything on his own (and repeatedly). When he's been to the vet, it's been around mid-day (1pm) on both occasions.
Is your vet experienced with guinea pig teeth?
I know several people from another forum who sometimes have been to several vets who couldn´t find anything even though they checked the teeths and saw no hope for the animal when the right vet could find and solve the problem with the teeths.
Yes, I was wondering if any of the vets have considered dental issues.
@xanima: The first vet had some ideas but did not have the correct tools in order to look at G.P.'s teeth properly. She could see two of the four and they looked good to her. Because of the prolonged illness, we took him to another vet (who deals specifically with exotics -- rodents, birds, reptiles as well as dogs and cats). She looked at his teeth very carefully and was happy with what she saw; no overgrowth, no visible root issues, etc. Because he's chewing "harder" items (baby carrots), dried treat mix, it makes little sense that it's his teeth (even the vet was willing to bet 95-98% that it's not his teeth). He's still grazing on hay, food and drinking water but nowhere to the amount we'd like.

@foggycreekcavy: Please see above to @xanima.

This morning's update:

After feeding him Critical Care several times yesterday (and a little extra last night), he didn't eat much of his ecotrition food. I'd left him three baby carrots and he ate, maybe, 1/5th of each. I also left him a few more baby spinach leaves and arugula with some probiotic powder and that was completely gone (except for one or two stray arugula leaves).
He's still being very inquisitive and friendly (still seems himself) except that his weight was back down to 725g-730g. He's still dry sneezing and his eyes are still partially closed although the colour in his eyes looks better. I know we started and stopped and then restarted the Baytril but I almost feel as though maybe it's the wrong antibiotic for the little guy. We've been trying everything we can but we also know that this uphill battle could be for naught; we just want to make sure he's not in pain and not suffering although he's very bony/scrawny at this point. :(
Okay, it's been about a week since I've posted any sort of update and firgured I should get around to one.

G.P. seems to be finally be recovering. We've been giving him the probiotics and the other pet food seems to be helping. He's still not eating as much of the pellets as we'd like but he is eating hay and other parts of the food. His weight has been slowly increasing. We've been weighing him twice a day (at the same times) to get a better idea of his weight and he seems to be between 720g and 760g; and it looks to be like it's on an upswing.

We ran out of antibiotics and spoke with the vet. She thinks the probiotics may be helping spur his appetite and that the Baytril might have been the wrong choice. His eyes are no longer runny and his nose is pretty dry. He does sneeze once in a while but it's a dry sneeze. His eyes are also very bright and the crusties are gone. The second vet, who's more experienced with exotics, thinks the antibiotics might have been the wrong one, however, she doesn't want him living on them for a long time, either, as this can also be bad for the little guy. She's asked us to listen closely to his breathing and watch for the signs should he slip again but figures we should continue doing what we're doing as he seems to getting better. He's more inquisitive (always comes out of his house if you call him -- even if he's sleeping) and more of the pig he used to be (to borrow a pun).

As mentioned, we ran out of the antibiotics late last week. We've continued with the probiotics once a day just to help with any remaining antibiotics in his system/gut issues. He did have some slushy poops the other day but they're better in size and consistency (although they're still smaller than they used to be as he's smaller than he was). He is regularly drinking water, eating food, and hay (things he wasn't doing before) but still shows less interest in the pellets. :(

From what I've read regarding probiotics: apparently it seems somewhat safe to continue giving them to any animal (even if they're fine) because there is no benefit if they're unneeded. We're just trying to get out little guy back up in weight and would like to see him back up above 800g by the end of May (as long as all plays out well).
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