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Sick Guinea pig not eating food nor medicine. Any advice?

Ena_MM

Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Oct 23, 2010
Messages
56
When I noticed that he's not eating much for a couple of days, I took him to the vet. So on saturday I found out that Snowball got slight pneumonia but the main cause of him not eating is a bruised stomach. The vet gave him a needle injection to trigger the stomach, gave me medicine for the lungs, and a food mix called critical care that can stimulate appetite. I didnt feed it to him immediately because the assistants told me that I should wait until the next day for the sedative to wear off.

So the next day we found out that he won't eat or drink the food mix that can give him appetite. He's still barely eating any pellets and fruits. I called the hospital on the next day after that asking for some advice on how to get him to eat some food or medicine. They told me to just keep on trying and wait until he's willing to take them.

Do you guys have any advice or solutions to this sort of problem? I tried to put it in fresh squeezed juice, but the smell of the food mix is too powerful for him. And I tried it with the syringe, too.
 
First off, you need to be weighing him daily now that he is sick. If he has substantial weight loss, which could very well be the case from what you are describing, it may be an emergency situation.

Not eating is an emergency if you can't get food into him. Is he pooping/peeing normally? If he is uninterested in the Critical Care, try mixing it with some of the Odwalla pure fruit juices, like carrot juice or the like, any of the 100% fruit drinks they have that you think he may like. I believe they may have an apple flavor as well.

Also, you need to be giving probiotics 2 hours after each administration of medication. What did they prescribe for the pneumonia. You can get normal acidophilus probiotics at the store, and make sure they are lactose free. I swear by this: (broken link removed)

You are very likely going to need to force feed him with the syringe. He may not like it, but it is for his own good. I would read through the following carefully: https://www.guinealynx.info/handfeeding.html

Best of luck!
 
My main suggestion is for you to find a better vet. Bruised stomach is about as unlikely a diagnosis as I've ever heard for a guinea pig. The only thing worse I've heard recently is a vet who told an owner to squeeze her guinea pig around the middle to make it poop. Sheesh!

He likely wasn't eating because of the URI, and the antibiotics probably finished off whatever appetite he had. If you don't get food in him quickly, he probably will not make it.

You need several one cc syringes without needles -- tell your pharmacy they're for feeding a sick guinea pig. You need one big syringe without a needle to refill the small ones. You need Critical Care to feed him, which you can get from the vet quickly. If the vet won't give it to you, see if you can find Critter Be Better, which is almost as good.

Follow the instructions at www.guinealynx.info/handfeeding.html. He won't love it, and it's called "force" feeding for a reason.

Cut the narrow tips off of the small syringes, and either sand them down or flame them with a match to smooth off any rough ends. Fill them with the large syringe. Wrap the pig in a towel and put it in your lap with its back to you.

Take a small syringe and put it in the pig's mouth just behind the front teeth and in front of the back teeth. Work it in the mouth, and get it as straight in as you can. Squirt a little food in the pigs mouth -- if it's chewing, it's eating. Be careful not to get too much in, as you don't want it to go down into the lungs. Also don't push the plunger completely out the end of the tube, or the pig will get the rubber stopper in it's mouth.

Pigs can die in as little as 12 hours without food. You need to start feeding him immediately, and watch him carefully to see that he's pooping normally -- the GI tract of a pig that is not fed can shut down, a condition called GI stasis. He may need medications to get it moving again. But don't go back to that original vet to get it!
 
Thanks for the help guys. The vet prescribed baytril for antibiotics and he didn't mention anything about probiotics. He did give me critical care but the smell is too powerful for Snowball. I've tried using the syringe that the vet gave me, but I didnt know that I should cut the tip. Do I just cut the tip off competely?

He got up in the middle of the night for a few bites but still too little. And when I tried to feed him with the syringe, he just moves he head around making it impossible for me to get the tip in his mouth.

Also, this is the vet that was recommended by another clinic after they told me that the vet for exotic pets isn't in on that day. There's too many vets in Vancouver, it's hard to tell which is reliable and which isn't. This is the third vet I've gone to since I got him.
 
Yes, you want to cut the tip off completely. In the link Bpatters provided there is a picture of how the syringe should look.

With more than one sick pig I have had to carefully, yet firmly, hold the sides of the mouth and then slowly work the syringe back. If you watch hand feeding videos on youtube you will get a better idea. Pigs have long jaws and new, wary hand-feeders tend to not stick the syringe back far enough. You want the pig to be chewing on the end of the syringe while you are feeding, because this both ensures that you are getting the food in the pigs mouth, and that the pig is actually swallowing, as long as they are chewing on it. I do recommend getting some of the Odwalla pure juices and experimenting to find which he likes best.

Regarding the probiotics, I have had my very savvy vet's assistant tell me that they weren't needed, advice that I always ignore. It is sometimes overlooked how important their GI funtion is to their livelihood and how much antibiotics can upset the delicate balance in their bodies. If you have other pigs then a fresh, healthy poop from one of them serves as a great probiotic, but the link I provided you with is a great probiotic that I swear by.

I would definitely see an exotics vet asap.
 
I tried it with the syringe again and it was a big failure. I even tried the position they had on the picture. He just gets too crazy everytime we try to keep him still. I tried it again without touching him and he still won't take it. I'm afraid if I hold him still using any more strength he'll get hurt.

He had a few bits of strawberries today and a piece of carrot. He did pee after the strawberries. He's eating the second piece of carrot as I type.
 
It takes practice to get them to take the syringe so don't give up. You can wrap him in a towel if it makes it easier to handle him. I hold mine facing away from me. I massage their the jaws and under their chin to relax them. They're usually afraid at first so you need to get them to relax. Once you're able to get the syringe in his mouth and in place, you don't have to put all of it in his mouth. Let him get the taste of it and he'll start to cooperate more once he realizes it's tasty. You can add some pure, unsweetened orange juice or baby food carrots to the Critical Care to make the mixture more tasty to get him to eat it. Just make sure the consistency isn't too thin so it runs down his throat. The first time I hand fed a guinea pig, I was terrified. Once you get the hang of it, it's not difficult and you'll see that after the first few feedings, it gets easier. Don't give up. Keep trying. Meanwhile, since he's eating carrots and strawberries, keep pellets in the food dish to see if he eats any that way.
 
You can't let the fact that he gets "crazy" when you try to hand feed him stop you from doing it. Again, that's why they call it "force" feeding -- you're forcing the pig to eat when it doesn't want to. But that's your job -- the pig has to eat or it will die.

Wrap him in a towel, like a burrito, get a good grasp on his head with one hand and hold it still, no matter how much he struggles. Then put the syringe in with the other hand.

Good luck! This is a small rodent, and you're a much larger human. You can do this.
 
Thanks, Pinky. I tried giving him only the fruit with the syringe so maybe he'll cooperate when I do give him the pellet mash. And I did manage to get a couple of bites in his mouth, and he still won't cooperate. Everytime I try to give him more he starts to wiggle out of the towel burrito. He used to like kiwi but it seems like he hates anything that comes from the syringe, even if it was his favorite. And the towel wrap didn't work out very well, everytime I try to feed him he looked like he was about to hurt himself trying to break free.

Bpatters, thanks for the advice. I can keep trying but everytime I grasp his head he wiggles like mad. What I meant before was that if I use more strength to keep him still, he will use more strenghth to move in my hand. And he might hurt himself trying to break from my grasp. The fact that he's a small rodent should mean that he's very vulneraby to physical damages

So far he's eating a few pellets each day all by himself and the only fruit he's taking now is a bit of strawberries. He still takes walks in his cage and makes his bubbly noise once in a while.
 
Possible tooth extraction surgery with abscess on the cheek. Advice needed. Thanks.

Hi, it's been a while since the last time I was on here. I read the regulation that says one pig one thread but the last thread was too long ago the system doesn't let me add anymore posts. So forgive me for adding another thread.

After a couple of months of this pneumonia problem that I posted before, Snowball started having a swollen cheek. Because of this abscess, he had three different surgeries in two months earlier this year. So the abscess problem has been on and off until the new vet mentioned it might be because of the tooth root that he saw in the x-rays. At that time he didn't see any infection in the x-rays, just that the root is too long (or was it something else that's out of the ordinary I can't remember). He didn't recommend tooth extraction right away because he mentioned there are risks and guinea pigs don't manage pain very well, plus he wasn't even 100% sure if that's really the problem. The vet grew bacteria cultures so he knew which antibiotics can kill off the abscess bacterias. Then he sent us back with the right medications and told me if the abscess comes back again then it should be tooth problem. The medications did work but 2 months later the wound from the last huge lump of abscess started leaking puss. We used more medications during august and thought that should do it. But no, last week it started happening again, over the weekend the vet recommended the tooth extraction surgery. I told him I'll think about it first and brought Snowball back with Chlor palm and metacam.

He's eating and pooping normally, just that the vet mentioned more teeth can get infected if I wait too long. My parents don't support the surgery at all because what the vet said about the risks really got to them. They do have a point, the vet said the roots are deep and he's so tiny, so there might be complications. But this medication routine can't go on forever, plus it's not good for his system. Does anyone know just how risky it would be for Snowball to get a tooth extraction? I know there are risks but are we talking about 1% risks that we barely think about when we sign forms for sedating pets or actual risk of hitting a major blood vessel? If he does get the tooth out will there be other medical problems as a result? And how long would the recovery period be until Snowball would start eating solids again?

by the way, he's already over 3 years old. I adopted him from SPCA so I don't know his exact age (he might be very close to 4 yrs). I didn't get the vet to do another x-ray on the weekend visit so I'm not sure how many teeth are infected or is it still just the one. But there weren't signs of infection in May.

Please let me know what you guys know about this type of condition. Thanks
 
Re: Possible tooth extraction surgery with abscess on the cheek. Advice needed. Thank

My suggestion is that you post this over at Guinea Lynx. There are two or three people over there who have had experiences with this sort of thing, and should be able to help you out.
 
Elongated roots and abscess are not necessarily the same thing. I've dealt with both dental abscesses and elongated roots. It's possible to treat the former but if the teeth themselves are involved it can be a long and expensive road. Elongated roots are very difficult and in the cases I've had I always wished I'd euthanized rather than prolonged what was ultimately inevitable. I'd get a second opinion from a vet who has (hopefully) dealt with both and can let you know the prognosis and potential issues with both and also hopefully let you know which of the two (if not both) you are dealing with.

His age alone shouldn't exclude him from surgery or from trying to save him.
 
Thanks Paula and bpatters.
 
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