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Won't Eat Veggies How can I fatten him up?

nismosmama

Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Sep 21, 2005
Messages
695
My Momo recently had surgery to have a kidney stone removed. From the time he developed the stone, we found it in an Xray, and finally surgery, he lost about 200 grams. When he went into surgery he wasn't even eating half of the veggies I was giving him, and I was giving him the most variety possible for him to pick from, and at the same time trying to give him food that is low in calcium (vet's orders). Well in a couple days right after the surgery he went from 750 grams to 705 grams. The vet told me that likely it was because of all the backed up urine and stuff due to the blockage from the stone. So now the focus is to get him really eating again and get the weight back on. However, herein lies the problem. Momo is still not eating well like i was hoping he would after surgery. I am trying all different types of veggies and fruits. At this point he completely ignores any type of lettuce. The vet recommended a lighter colored lettuce like maybe just the romaine heart or iceberg since they are not high in calcium. I've been trying green peppers, red peppers, celery, squash, carrots, grapes, strawberries, apples. And he will nibble on different things, and continue to nibble through the day, but won't even eat half of what I give him. I thought about syringe feeding him, but I am fairly sure that won't work. I have to give him 3 different medications right now twice a day, and every single time its a HUGE ordeal.. Momo detests having that syringe anywhere near his mouth, it takes me forever to get that medication in him. So I know that trying to actually feed him via syringe will be torture for him and nearly impossible. He does like his pellets, but even those he doesn't eat a ton of either. It seems the only thing he is truly interested are raisins :rolleyes:. I'm at my wits end, I just don't know what to do. it is quite frustrating because I've had Momo for almost 5 years and he has always been my fat pig, the one that always LOVED to eat, so it saddens me how much weight he's lost, and moreso that I haven't seen him regain that love for food yet. I suppose its possible that he is still in some pain post-surgery, maybe that's why he's not eating as much. But there has to be something I can do, I don't want him to lose anymore weight. Does anyone have any suggestions for what I can do?
 
How long has it been, and is he still losing, or is he maintaining or slowly gaining?
 
He just had surgery on Monday. I picked him up on Tuesday evening. So it's only been a few days. He hasn't lost anymore weight since I picked him up, but he also hasn't really gained any.

I "think" I may have found something he likes. I bought a bunch of carrots with the leaves still on them. I gave him some of those leaves and he seems to really like them. Are the carrot leaves OK for cavys?
 
Carrot tops are fine in moderation only a couple times a week. But they are high in oxalic acid like carrots and if your pig just had a stone removed, you want to adjust his diet to where he gets very low levels of calcium and oxalic acid.
 
Thank you Ly, that was my concern, I had no idea if carrot tops were high in calcium and it sounds like they are. What about other herbs like maybe basil, mint, etc? I'm wondering if he might like those and if they would be ok to give him at this time?
 
My cavies didn't like plain lettuce but they really like the Spring Garden mix. Their favorite was an organic brand called "Marketsides" from Wal-Mart, but they also like Nature's Promise Spring Mix as well. It gives more variety in taste, texture, and color. Even the pickier of my eaters, Talia, devours it rapidly. In fact she will smell it from across the room and come running in anticipation. She will even eat it from my hand, something she will never do otherwise. It contains things like Radicchio, green and red leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, and several other things. It might provide him enough variety to entice him. I can't promise anything but a suggestion never hurt. Also, I'm not sure what tomatoes you offer him but my cavies like Roma tomatoes, but not cherry tomatoes, so that could make a difference. Also might I suggest trying yellow pepper? My girl likes green pepper but won't touch yellow and my boy likes yellow pepper but ignores green. Also, Cilantro? I bought a substantial size bundle of organic cilantro for only $.99. Also, maybe try offering very small amounts over the day instead of the typical twice a day? He might be more willing to eat if he has constant fresh veggies in front of him? Also you could go and buy a few single green beans at the store to test and see if he will eat those. He can have 1 baby carrot a day and that is only 3 mg of calcium. He might go after that, or you could try shredding the carrot and providing him little bits through the day to keep it fresh-tasting. Again, little portions through the day might help him get readjusted to enjoying food again. Or try cucumber and zucchini? According to the charts they can have them 2-4 times a week. They can have gooseberries, raspberries, and strawberries almost daily in small quantities, fruit might entice him to eat too. Another thing you could try once per week is apples (with skin). Careful, tehse are high in sugar so only once a week, but my cavies love them. They are also low in calcium. I am pretty new to feeding my guinea pigs a healthy diet, so I don't know if any of these suggestions can help, but I figured it couldn't hurt to try! Anything to get back his love of food.

Also, try presenting his hay in multiple ways? I know my girl will eat the hay wrapped in a toilet paper roll before she moves to the hay in her bin, same with my boy and his tissue box prefered over his hay bin. It couldn't hurt to try? I provide my cavies at least two ways of eating hay to give them a bit of variety.

hope I can help, hope he feels better soon. Give him a pat and a kiss for my, and my best wishes and thoughts will be with him!
 
Thank you Ly, that was my concern, I had no idea if carrot tops were high in calcium and it sounds like they are. What about other herbs like maybe basil, mint, etc? I'm wondering if he might like those and if they would be ok to give him at this time?

Did the vet tell you what type of stone he had? There are different types of stones. Carrot tops aren't so high in calcium but they are high in oxalic acid as are carrots. Oxalic acid can bind with calcium to form oxalate stones.

So when feeding, it's not just calcium you have to look at but oxalic acid and inverted calcium to phosphorus ratios. Things that have higher phosphorus content than calcium can lead to phosphate stones.

If you look over on guinealynx there is a stones diet that you may want to follow with him. Paula could probably give you advice on stones diet as well.

All fruits should be fed no more than 2 times a week no matter what my charts indicate.
 
Ly, the vet didn't tell me. We have a follow-up appointment on Monday, so I will ask him for sure. When he told me about feeding him, he just said foods low in calcium and didn't mention anything about oxalic acid, so I will ask him about that too. Basically all he emphasized for me not feed him were dark green leafy veggies, and to give him some extra treats for a few days to try and entice him. He's a very cavy savy well respected exotics vet, so I'm a little surprised he didn't tell me all that stuff you mentioned.

This afternoon I did decide to just try and get him to eat some food via syringe. I even tried techniques I didn't know about on Guinea Lynx, but boy was it the ordeal. I made the pellet mashup, and after a huge mess and mash all over his face and fur, i think I was able to get almost 10cc's of food in him. After a while he was so distressed, he clamped his teeth down and would not allow me to get anything else in his mouth, and he was wiggling wildly, so I just let him rest and calm down. I'm going to let him digest that food I managed to get in him, and I'll try again in a couple hours. This is so stressful :-(, I just want my little one to start eating again and gain weight. But I will keep at it, my poor little guy.
 
I just wanted to give a quick update. We've been having good progress as far as Momo cooperating when it comes to hand feeding. He now lets me give him the pellet mash with the small syringe, but he will only take about 10 cc's in one sitting and he's done, he won't let me get anymore in his mouth. But I've been feeding him about 3 times a day right now (because of work schedule otherwise it was about 4 times during the weekend). He's gained a little weight, but still not as much as I'd like. We had a follow-up vet appointment yesterday and the vet says his staples look good and it looks like he's healing well. he really thinks that the not eating is likely associated with him still healing, he's probably still hurting, and since they made internal incisions to get the stone out, those are healing as well, so he's still in the process. he agrees that I should keep hand feeding and just keep weighing him daily. He has another appointment next week to get his staples removed. In the past couple of days he has been a little more active though, so that is a positive sign, and he is definitely drinking water, so that is good as well. I'm still trying new veggies and trying to find a good balance between something he likes and something low in calcium and sugar.
 
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