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General Large clumps of poop, sluggish behavior?


Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
May 19, 2013
Hey all,

My wife was cleaning the cage this morning and he reported one of our boars had a massive poop. It just looked like a giant block, not even just multiple poops clumped together. She said she wasn't sure who it was, but then noticed one of them, Spiderpig, "walking and falling" when coming over to eat some lettuce.

When I got up later to check him out. he was hiding under a fleece blanket and didn't come out like he normally does. I took a piece of pepper and coaxed him out and he was walking just fine; he grabbed the pepper and ran to the other side of the cage under a hidey to eat. I then gave him a seed head which he ate without a problem. However, I did notice a smaller clump of poop under the fleece blanket (this looked like a bunch of small ones mashed together). There were also some small poops nearby; I wouldn't say they looked dry, but they looked a bit wrinkly.

This suggests to me that Spiderpig might have impaction; he's 5.5 years old. I don't know how to explain the "walking and falling" that my wife saw (especially since I didn't see it). But he's always had at minimum a 2x4 cage, so he's had plenty of space to run in. Just luck, I guess...

I'm going to call our vet to schedule an appointment, but if anyone can provide some advice or tips on what I can do over the weekend, what I should be watching out for, etc. I would greatly appreciate it.
I don't have any tips but it's great to have that vet visit line up. Is he doing okay for now?
I don't have any tips but it's great to have that vet visit line up. Is he doing okay for now?
I pretty much confirmed it's fecal impaction when I picked him up and checked him out. It took a few sessions for me to get him unblocked; most of it came out easily but there was a dry, hard mass that was pretty up there that took a few attempts to remove. Then I cleaned him up with some mineral oil. I did it 3x a day over the weekend but I think I can get away with it 2x or even 1x now...

He's otherwise doing fine. Still eating well and drinking water. A little bit less social than usual but I'm chalking that up to distrust of the human who squeezes his butt.

We're still scheduled for a visit on the 23rd so I'm going to manage it until then. Unfortunately, him being 5.5 years old means there isn't much that can be done, right?
The mineral oil is a good idea. When guinea pigs age, the muscles that are used to eject the poop pellets can weaken, resulting in impaction. He will likely require more maintenance from you, but I believe you're correct. There is little than can be done about it, other than help keep him clean and the poops mobile.
The mineral oil is a good idea. When guinea pigs age, the muscles that are used to eject the poop pellets can weaken, resulting in impaction. He will likely require more maintenance from you, but I believe you're correct. There is little than can be done about it, other than help keep him clean and the poops mobile.
Yeah, we've had him since he was a pup (he was born on 6/21/18, I believe we adopted him that August) so it sucks to see this happening to him. But the good thing is that aside from him being extremely suspicious of me now, he's doing okay!

It feels like I'm filling up a Bingo card of maladies that can affect guinea pigs. So far:

1. Mass near anal gland that needed to be removed (Spiderpig)
2. Arthritis in all four knees (Xavier)
3. Maloclussion (Pigsilver)
4. Sudden decision to stop eating (Magneto; by the time we realized it was bad, he was too far gone and passed away while at the vet)
5. Lymph node infection and swelling (Pigsilver)
6. Respiratory illness (Pigsilver; he passed away while at the vet)
7. GI impaction (Xavier; pretty sure this is what did him in; our vet said they felt a mass by his abdomen)
8. Fecal impaction (Spiderpig)

Throw in the things we've had to do for our dog and it's been a crazy 5 years...
Update after about a week. Vet is still scheduled on Monday, though I don't have much hope for an optimistic prognosis. I've been able to get away with some sort of routine cleaning 3 times every 48 hours or so. It looks like he's not fully impacted; I still see him laying poops, but they're noticeably smaller and stickier. When I pick up an especially dry one they're also a bit crumbly.

My routine is essentially - Pick Spiderpig up, put him on a towel. Gently squeeze out whatever poop I can, then feel around to see if there's any mass that's stuck up there. If there is, then I use a Q-tip of mineral oil as lubricant and slowly try to get it out (he hates this). If there isn't, I still try to clear blockages; basically, if I see them starting to clump up next to each other, I clear it. Otherwise, if they're sitting "in queue", so to speak, I let Spiderpig try to do his thing. Then I rub a little mineral oil around his groin to clear away debris. Every third clean or so I soak him in a bit of warm water for a few minutes as well.

He takes it okay; he really hates it but after I finish I can see him being more active, so it's...doing something. I just wish it didn't smell. so. bad. The room they're in is also where I work and it's been especially pungent. Sometimes I end up making him pee which likely doesn't help.
Saturday night now and he's suddenly taken a turn for the worse. He eats his lettuce and pepper, but very slowly. Doesn't seem interested in hay. Doesn't seem interested in moving. Might squirm a little, go a few steps, then plop down.

He seemed to be behaving fine just yesterday and eating lots of hay. But all of a sudden he's just lost interest. When I pick him up he doesn't put up much of a fight. He usually chirps loudly as I approach but now it's fairly weak.

Not entirely sure if he'll make it to Monday morning, but we'll see. But we have some critical care to tide him over.
Fingers are crossed. I hope it's nothing major. Hoping for the best for him, and you.
Good luck with him! Could he have a bit of gut stasis? Do you have any meds on hand?
Good luck with him! Could he have a bit of gut stasis? Do you have any meds on hand?
Unfortunately, only some metacam but that's past its best by date. I've been feeding him some critical care. He takes maybe 5ml at a time before it becomes a slog (i.e., it'll take me about half an hour or more to get him a full 10ml syringe). So my wife and I opting to give him frequent small feedings.

He looks extremely haggard right now but he seems to have not gotten worse overnight. He nibbles at some pepper or lettuce but doesn't try particularly hard to eat. He's able to stand upright for a little bit at least.

My fear is that it is gut stasis; I'm hoping the critical care tides him over until tomorrow. But then again, my wife and I were thinking, is there any scenario where we don't decide to put him down at this point? With everything he's gone through and will continue to go through, I'm not sure if he'll be able to live a comfortable life.
Euthanasia is a very personal thing and your vet can help you decide. I haven't kept up totally w/ what he is going thru and admit I skim a lot of posts. In my experience, you just know when it is time.
Just had my 3yr old male piggie euthanized by the Vet without hesitation as he could no longer eat properly just nibble on soft, juicy foods. This was due to dental issues with his molar teeth stopped him chirping, loved that, but no more as left him constantly mouth grinding due to the pain he was experiencing. Always have known not being here meant heaven is a pain free zone so best he speedily be allowed to go on comfortably. Vet provided a biodegradable calico bag, lock of hair in small glass vial, gold paint foot print of his foot on cardboard for a frame. Two homes for utmost comfort, here and there, stoked for him.
R.I.P. DRAMBUIE - Buiey Boy 💕💕
Since Saturday evening my wife and I were coming to terms with the idea that we'll be putting Spiderpig down. But somehow, Sunday night into this morning, he showed some noticeable improvements in his demeanor and behavior. We brought him to the vet and she suggested that while he is definitely impacted, she doesn't believe that by itself would result in the sudden change in behavior I described nor the seeming reversal into the morning. She said she noticed he had a full bladder and while expressing some urine, there was a lot of sediment in it and a very strong odor. His teeth look fine, so she believes that he may be dealing with a urinary tract infection that's making him incredibly uncomfortable. There's still poop in his butt so she doesn't believe there's been gut stasis. It's thin and sticky, though.

After some discussion with my wife, we decided that given Spiderpig's visible improvement this morning and the optimism of the vet, we would leave him overnight to do some tests. We later got a call back and this was the summary:

1. Spiderpig lost about 300 grams of weight since his last visit about 2 years ago.
2. Possibly related to the weight loss, there was a marker in the liver that was elevated, but not alarmingly so.
3. No observed issues with the kidneys. No stones detected.
4. Heavy arthritis in the hip and the knees. It might explain his erratic movements over the weekend.
5. Nothing in his blood that suggests something may be wrong.

At the time of the call, she said he was munching on some pellets, which gives me hope. She said she'll provide instructions to the tech to see if he can observe him eating hay. But otherwise I'm picking him up tomorrow with an antibiotic treatment as well as some metacam.
Looking forward to hearing more positive news for Spiderpig. Please, keep us updated on his progress and condition.
Sounds like a plan to me.

I had a very senior sow that I kept going for nearly a year on metacam. That's longer than they recommend for that med, but the alternative was for her to live in pain. She did very well on it until it no longer worked and she couldn't move her hind legs, and then I had her euthanized.
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So, we brought Spiderpig home yesterday. He eats pepper and carrot but not so much the lettuce for some reason. He doesn't seem to enjoy the critical care and it's a bit of a struggle to get him to take all 10ml in a reasonable time frame.

He's able to move around slowly and gingerly, but spends most of his time in his hut (I left hay and pellets close by). My main concern is that he'll develop maloclussion at this point because I haven't seen him eat hay. Our vet said she didn't notice anything wrong with his teeth and that we may just need to give him time.

We have a follow-up appointment on 11/1 so we'll know more then. For now, we have 4 medications that we need to give him daily. It looks like he's passing some stool on his own again, though.
Around Thursday or Friday we opted to stop giving him Critical Care because we saw him eating hay. He's doing A LOT better now. He's actually moving around, he feels beefier when I hold him. He's able to make all of his usual noises, too. He's less active still, but I'm going to chalk that up to him being old and dealing with arthritis.

It seems like he's able to manage his impaction pretty well. I still see his poops, even though they're much smaller and in some cases, stickier than before. Occasionally I will see a clumped up wad on the fleece but hey, if he's pushing it out himself that's fine with me. I'll still check on him every two days because occasionally it looks like there's an extremely dry piece that I fear will cause more blockage later. His infection must be clearing up because I don't smell any more odor, either.

Follow-up appointment in two days.
So glad to hear he's doing much better! Looking forward to hearing more good news!
Probably time for another update!

Spider pig is still not peeing on his own regularly. The vet suggested that we express his bladder at least twice a day because keeping his urine in like that is potentially very bad. So we've been doing that. A week ago my wife said she noticed that it was still coming out tinged brown and there was notable sediment. Then one morning she said it was more dark red. So I called the vet and brought him in Friday.

The vet said that when she expressed his bladder initially it came out normal colored, then later on she noticed the sediment and brown discoloration. She couldn't detect any other issues, so she theorized that because he's holding in the urine, it's causing a lot of irritation in the bladder walls and that's what's causing the discoloration. The reason why he's not peeing himself may be due to "poor tone" and related to why he's impacted.

She suggested that she can do some sort of "acupuncture" along the spine that might help things a bit. She also suggested we can give him a bunch of Vitamin B12 which might help too. She said there's also medication that's only been tested on rabbits they can try, but I opted not to.

Now he's been back. Over the weekend his pee looks like it's been a bit more normal, but we'll see. Otherwise his behavior has been largely the same.

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