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Not Eating Help syringe feeding an extremely squirmy guineapig.

hithere234

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Hello All,
Hope you're doing well today! This is my first post here and the first time on the forums so nice to meet you all. Hopefully this question is in the right place so please let me know if I need to move it or if more information is needed. After a round of antibiotics for nasal issues, one of my guineapigs lost a little too much weight and I have been trying to feed him Critical Care and it has been an extreme hassle. I have tried the towel method and holding his head, but he is such a brat, and he always squirms whenever something is happening to him that he doesn't want happening to him. He only wants to do things on his time, as I can actually syringe feed him in the cage through the bars occasionally. Before I really started force feeding him he was only getting about 5ml/day of Critical Care but now I've at least gotten it up to 15ml/day but it's been a major struggle. I've also tried mixing a bit of apple sauce with the Critical Care and it's helped a bit but not a lot. I've gotten lucky by being able to feed him pea flakes and then getting the syringe in his mouth while he's chewing but even that's a process. If anyone has any comments or suggestions, anything would be much appreciated!

Just some health information as well, I got two piggies so I don't believe he suffers from loneliness, only being a brat, and their cage is a big 2x6 CnC. Their diet is oxbow pellets and a very large amount of oxbow timothy and grass hay. They get veggies twice a day which consists of Romaine lettuce and bell pepper/cucumber (alternating every other day). I don't believe he has gut stasis as he still eats occasionally on his own, but he's always been an extremely picky eater which has caused his weight to suffer even before the antibiotics. He weighed at most ~770g before the antibiotics and I always closely monitored his weight; he never lost a significant amount of weight, so I always assumed he is just a slim pig.

Best,
J
 
Last edited:

ItsaZoo

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Not all the Critical Care flavors are appealing to guinea pigs. Mine never liked the anise flavor. I found mixing the apple banana flavor with smooth grind papaya seemed pretty tasty to them.

The applesauce idea was a good one. Maybe there’s a favorite veggie that could be ground up and mixed in. Sometimes if they like the flavor, they will lick it off a plate, or a spoon or spatula.
 

bpatters

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How much has he lost? How old is he? And why do you think he's lost too much?

The easiest way to do it is to put your left arm (assuming you're right-handed, otherwise reverse these directions) on a table, a towel on the table and over your arm, and the pig on the towel. Wrap him like a football, snuggle him against you with your arm, and FIRMLY hold his head with your hand covering his eyes.

Use a small-barreled syringe, insert it from the side of his mouth a little more than half an inch (behind his front teeth, in front of his back teeth), and turn it so you're directing the food toward his throat. Give half a cc or so each time, leaving the syringe in his mouth, and letting him swallow it. If he's not chewing, you're not getting it far enough back in his throat.

Don't expect him to like this -- it's called "force feeding" for a reason. But he's a small guinea pig and you're a large human, and you're equipped to win this battle.
 

hithere234

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Not all the Critical Care flavors are appealing to guinea pigs. Mine never liked the anise flavor. I found mixing the apple banana flavor with smooth grind papaya seemed pretty tasty to them.

The applesauce idea was a good one. Maybe there’s a favorite veggie that could be ground up and mixed in. Sometimes if they like the flavor, they will lick it off a plate, or a spoon or spatula.
He definitely does not like the papaya one, I bought the apple and banana one to see if he likes that more and that's arriving tomorrow.

How much has he lost? How old is he? And why do you think he's lost too much?

The easiest way to do it is to put your left arm (assuming you're right-handed, otherwise reverse these directions) on a table, a towel on the table and over your arm, and the pig on the towel. Wrap him like a football, snuggle him against you with your arm, and FIRMLY hold his head with your hand covering his eyes.

Use a small-barreled syringe, insert it from the side of his mouth a little more than half an inch (behind his front teeth, in front of his back teeth), and turn it so you're directing the food toward his throat. Give half a cc or so each time, leaving the syringe in his mouth, and letting him swallow it. If he's not chewing, you're not getting it far enough back in his throat.

Don't expect him to like this -- it's called "force feeding" for a reason. But he's a small guinea pig and you're a large human, and you're equipped to win this battle.
He went from 770 to 690, he's about 10 months(?) and I feel like a loss of over 10% of his body weight is quite a bit.

I am currently trying the burrito method, but he just squirms that much that is extremely difficult, even the vet said that he's one of the most difficult guinea pigs they've had to deal with. Maybe I'm not wrapping him firm enough or holding his head firm enough but I feel like if I were to use any more force while trying to hold his head it would really hurt him, or if I wrapped him any harder he wouldn't be able to breathe. He does not know what self preservation is and has no regard for his life. The amount of times that he's just willingly let himself almost fall off our couch is astonishing. He's more like a lemming then a guinea pig I swear.
 

4boipigs

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Can you get something else like Emeraid? I had a picky boar that didn't like Sherwood, Critical Care, or Science Selective. We got Emeraid from the vet and he was crazy for it.
 

hithere234

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Can you get something else like Emeraid? I had a picky boar that didn't like Sherwood, Critical Care, or Science Selective. We got Emeraid from the vet and he was crazy for it.
Thanks for the suggestion, I'll try that.

I've gotten him to eat a bit more by mortar and pestling pellets and a bit of apple and he doesn't seem to reject it, so I'm glad he's at least eating right now.
 

ItsaZoo

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Glad to hear he’s eating more. I’ve also used a smoothie blender and mixed hay, pellets, and veggies into a smoothie that one of my sick pigs ate off a saucer.
 

bpatters

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Just an FYI. He doesn't "willingly let himself fall." He has eyes on the sides of his head, like a horse, and therefore has almost zero depth perception. Three inches, three feet, three yards, it all looks the same to him. No guinea pig should ever be placed where it can accidentally walk off the edge of something. It will do so, and it will be because it can't tell how far it's going to fall.
 

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