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Behavior Pig is like catatonic. also not really eating

SgtBilko

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A gift for a niece that I'm only keeping for a bit before we're give it to her.
New pig. Storebought. I had a pig as a class pet in first grade. Myself I've had hamsters a rabbit.
I've had him for like two days now. I made a big enclosure like I've seen, fleece bottom hidey holes etc. I'm awesome at that kinda stuff. hes got hay and pellets. some lettuce Water in a bottle and a little dish.
No resistance to handling. Freaky. I say to him I cant believe what a tame animal you are.

This little guy is like catatonic. Just sits. Sometimes I find him in a hidey hole, if I take him out and place him in the middle he just sits there- I even give him a little poke.

Thinking his enclosure was too spacious I made him one from gigantic semi opaque storage bin. Hay in there, and shredded paper. A little box hide. I sometimes hear him moving around a little..
I know that he CAN move since I tilted the box and he started sliding down he perked up and scrambled.
He is like not eating anything. Barely drinking. only drinks out of the dish and it doesnt seem like much. If I shove a lettuce leaf at him he takes like one bite.
I weighed him and he was 345g. today it was 320.
I tried syringe feeding him. The pellets are too clumpy to work, so I took some soy based protein powder (muscle milk) sugar, olive oil and psyllium husks and water. Strangely he has kinda taken to the syringe feeding. Pretty cute actually. what's the daily caloric requirement for GPs? I can only find approximate diets based on weight of hay eaten and what not.

I dont know, the not eating doesn't really bother me as much as how he just is frozen all the time. It's even difficult to TRY and scare him.
What's up with this guy?
 

4boipigs

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First, you take a lot of risks buying a petstore pig. You can look up PETA videos on what the conditions on like for where pet store animals come from. Pet store animals can have a lot going on for them - good article here about it. He's young, scared, and alone. From my understanding, pigs can get still like that when they are scared which may be his problem. A new friend will cause a wonderful change in his personality. He needs a friend. It is not optional. If another pig isn't reasonable for you, the niece, or anyone else involved, then you need to reconsider a gpig as a pet.

Second, is your niece that you bought for a child or minor? Who is the caretaker for the animal? Have you discussed this and future vet bills with the parents or the niece if she is an adult? Is everyone committed to the full lifespan? Animals aren't gifts, and it often leads to people growing bored of the animal or they don't anticipate what kind of needs the pet really has - and then it gets dumped or at a shelter. (As someone who has experienced/taken in abandoned guinea pigs, this is a very serious thing to consider!)

As for the storage bin - he can't live in there. You've had hamsters, so you may think a storage bin or aquarium is a great idea. It is not a habitat for guinea pigs. They need good air flow and circulation. So he has to leave the bin. You can find plenty of examples of good cages on this site.

All that aside, if he you suspect he is ill, then you need to discuss with the store. Stores like Petco and Petsmart have health guarantee. They will take the pig back, treat it there, and you get it back once the treatment is complete. If you bought from some other store which doesn't have this sort of policy, and he's losing weight, not eating, and otherwise seems unwell then it's vet time. Someone else can correct me but after 12 to 24 hours of not eating, they go into gut stasis which is life threatening.
 
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SgtBilko

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I appreciate the sermon. You should Volunteer for PETA.

My niece is a middle school age girl, who has had a pig before. One pig. As to your four sentences and bold text. It is optional. I understand that pigs are social creatures, and that you anthropomorphize him NEEDING a friend. My nieces last pig was happy as a clam, as was the one in my childhood. Her last pig lived quite a few years then got some ailment, went to the vet and instead of expensive medical treatment on an animal that's had an AWESOME life (particularly for a bottom of the food chain RODENT) life, it was time to go.. and yea that sucks

You don't know me so I forgive you judging my character by believing an aquarium is appropriate. My bin has eight square feet of floor area (WAY above the Animal Welfare Act Regulations Section 3.28 suggested area of 101 square inches, not that I would give him that anyway). oh yea, and the giant sweet enclosure I had set up.

I know all about the digestive tract lock up, Hence the syringe feeding. I think I hear him eating a little hay right now.
I can suggest some books: "guide for the care and use of laboratory animals" and "nutrient requirements of laboratory animals, 4th ed" so that way you won't need someone to check your work.

To clarify: your behavioral insight is "he's scared. He's alone".

Ok, well I'll keep an eye on him and see how he does.
 

teambenji543

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I agree with [MENTION=46209]4boipigs[/MENTION] , If your guinea pig is not eating then it could lead to GI stasis. I recommend bringing your guinea pig to get checked out at the vet. Just make sure to find a vet that knows how to treats guinea pigs. I totally agree with 4boipis on the fact that a storage bin is not good for your guinea pig. The size of the cage is not going to affect how active he is, in fact a smaller cage probably makes him even less active.

Olive oil can help with digestive issues when given in small doses (less then 1ml). Is your guinea pig popping and peeing? About the psyllium husks, I've never heard of feeding that to guinea pigs, hopefully someone else on this forum can answer that for you. It's REALLY weird that your guinea pig is so tame from the moment you brought him home. When guinea pigs feel sick, they tend to not move, eat or drink. I STRONGLY recommend getting the little guy a friend. Maybe another guinea pig will make him more active? I know when I got my guinea pig a friend she became a totally different pig.

How old is your niece? I don't recommend guinea pigs for kids under the age of 12. Her parents have to be willing to clean the guinea pig cage once, sometimes even twice a day, feed the guinea pig a constant supply of hay and veggies, and pay for the vet bills. Guinea pigs are definitely not "starter pets".
 

palmedfire

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Gotta agree with the general consensus here. Guinea pigs are social creatures, and while human companionship can help, they do best with others of their own kind. You say the ones you and your niece have had have been happy but... how can you tell? They are animals, not humans and our understanding of their mental states is never exact. Heck, humans are social creatures. If quarantine has taught us anything it's that humans don't do well in social isolation. Why should guinea pigs? Being quiet and not active is usually more a sign of a scared and bored guinea pig than a happy one.

Just because an animal (that you are choosing to bring into your home and care for) is a the bottom of the food chain doesn't mean it doesn't deserve care. If you/your niece/her parents aren't willing to invest in regular vet care, getting a pet is, frankly, irresponsible. They depend on you. And that means regular vet visits with a vet that specializes in exotics.

The storage bin might meet the space requirements, but guinea pigs need more airflow than solid walls allow, since their urine breaks down into ammonia, and their respiratory tracts are very sensitive.
 

4boipigs

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I appreciate the sermon. You should Volunteer for PETA.

Well this IS a provegetarian forum and I am a vegan since 2014. Animals and humans are equal and they all deserve the same treatment. Cat, dog, gpig, etc...they all have the same basic rights and they all deserve proper care and vet attention regardless of if they are 'cheap' animals or 'low' on the food chain.

So yes your pig does need a friend, given he is a herd animal. He may SURVIVE alone but he is not THRIVING. The change in behavior once he has a friend will be phenomenal and rewarding.

At the very least discuss a health guarantee with the store.
 

SgtBilko

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Good news: being totally LEFT ALONE has re-normalized him. A day and a half of being in a separate room, only in there to check on his food and water then this morning I noticed he needed food replaced and emerged from his hidey to furtively eat a piece of carrot from my hand. Funny that an animal becoming MORE skittish counts as normal.
Yea, back to acting normally- walking the perimeter, digging around in his hay/littler etc.
 

SgtBilko

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Pig is better. Still a pig though lol.

This is a pro vegetarian forum? Seriously? Didn't know that.
Yea. I used to donate to PETA until I started seeing their "speciest" nonsense. You and I are going to have VERY different viewpoints there. Animals and humans are NOT equal (not even remotely) and don't deserve the same treatment. Do you have parents? Anyone who's ever been sick? I'm happy to have some kinds of animal testing to make things better for humans.
Animals and humans being equal... what a first world problems point of view
"deserve" is a silly term to use. Nothing "deserves" or doesn't anything- humans included. It's NICE for everything to be lollipops and rainbows all the time and sure hypothetically I'm for that but reality is way different.
 

SgtBilko

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data on psyllium husks is available online.
He's better. Less tame.
I think being in the giant non-enclosure enclosure he had initially was no good for him.
 

Smileandnod

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If you are still syringe/force feeding you need to use a product formulated for the special diet and nutritional needs of guinea pigs. Critical Care by Oxbow is recommended because it has the correct balance of nutrients needed for an animal who is not consuming enough on their own and is hay based which is recommended. It can be purchased at most vet offices and online such as Amazon. It is inexpensive and is a good idea to have on hand. Too much sugar in the mash up you are trying to make will create & exacerbate gut issues.

How are the guinea pigs poops? Are they well shaped & abundant or small & few? You can tell a lot from their output.

I would recommend having the guinea pig seen by an exotics vet who sees guinea pigs for a health check up. Pet stores unfortunately often sell unhealthy guinea pigs. Some maladies can be passed to humans, so a quick health check can save you, the guinea pig, and your niece & her family a lot of heartache & expense.

A "giant enclosure" is never the culprit of a guinea pig who is behaving listless. Poor health, poor diet, and poor housing are all reasons but which fortunately can also be corrected. Too much space is not. A young, healthy guinea pig would be doing zoomies and enjoying that space. One that doesn't move and is losing weight is not healthy or normal.

I also would encourage you to make a cage with air flow and get the poor animal out of the storage bin. It's a storage bin...not a habitat for a healthy guinea pig.

If this is a gift for your niece wouldn't it be a wonderful gift to also model responsible housing and proper care for the guinea pig you are bestowing upon her? Also, since they should live 7-8 years, this should be a good lasting experience not a brief experience followed by heartbreak that is preventable. Also, I would not recommend lab books as care manuals...those guidelines keep an animal alive for the brief duration of experimentation, where most are then destroyed for autopsy results...it is not a guide for long term healthy pet care.

You seem resistant to accepting well meaning advice, so I wonder why are you posting your concerns? Surely you must realize that posting as if the guinea pig is a disposable gift is not going to be well received on a forum such as this.

I hope you stick around and learn from this forum. The people here have a lot of experience, many times unfortunately helping sick pigs due to previous owners who made a lot of well meaning, but preventable mistakes.
 
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SgtBilko

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If you are still syringe/force feeding you need to use a product formulated for the special diet and nutritional needs of guinea pigs. Critical Care by Oxbow is recommended because it has the correct balance of nutrients needed for an animal who is not consuming enough on their own and is hay based which is recommended. It can be purchased at most vet offices and online such as Amazon. It is inexpensive and is a good idea to have on hand. Too much sugar in the mash up you are trying to make will create & exacerbate gut issues.

How are the guinea pigs poops? Are they well shaped & abundant or small & few? You can tell a lot from their output.

I would recommend having the guinea pig seen by an exotics vet who sees guinea pigs for a health check up. Pet stores unfortunately often sell unhealthy guinea pigs. Some maladies can be passed to humans, so a quick health check can save you, the guinea pig, and your niece & her family a lot of heartache & expense.

A "giant enclosure" is never the culprit of a guinea pig who is behaving listless. Poor health, poor diet, and poor housing are all reasons but which fortunately can also be corrected. Too much space is not. A young, healthy guinea pig would be doing zoomies and enjoying that space. One that doesn't move and is losing weight is not healthy or normal.

I also would encourage you to make a cage with air flow and get the poor animal out of the storage bin. It's a storage bin...not a habitat for a healthy guinea pig.

If this is a gift for your niece wouldn't it be a wonderful gift to also model responsible housing and proper care for the guinea pig you are bestowing upon her? Also, since they should live 7-8 years, this should be a good lasting experience not a brief experience followed by heartbreak that is preventable. Also, I would not recommend lab books as care manuals...those guidelines keep an animal alive for the brief duration of experimentation, where most are then destroyed for autopsy results...it is not a guide for long term healthy pet care.

You seem resistant to accepting well meaning advice, so I wonder why are you posting your concerns? Surely you must realize that posting as if the guinea pig is a disposable gift is not going to be well received on a forum such as this.

I hope you stick around and learn from this forum. The people here have a lot of experience, many times unfortunately helping sick pigs due to previous owners who made a lot of well meaning, but preventable mistakes.

I am accustomed to people treating their cats and dogs like spoiled children but for some reason I didn't expect that from a rodent owners forum. I'm just kinda reacting to the "they're the same as humans" "they HAVE TO have a companion" "he should only eat like a little prince! what an irresponsible monster you are for not only feeding him organic trader joes".
Yea, I'm really knee-jerking against that and that is the source of what you perceive as my resistance.
They're nice little animals, but they're animals. I can appreciate that you may be all well meaning so let's not engage on that point. I'm sure we can go back and forth forever there.
My niece has a fence/corner open enclosure and a cage style enclosure where he soon will be going and living out the remainder of his luxurious little life.
I think the wide open space -essentially most of a room- was no good since my cats would be loitering by the edge. They like small spaces- ENCLOSURES really lol, which is why they're often in their little fish castles inside their enclosures.
the temporary container I've got him in is basically this https://www.containerstore.com/s/ir...-wheels/d?q=iris 44 gallon&productId=11005991 it's huge. I can almost fit in there. Since the lid isn't on there and I don't live on a spacecraft the airflow is abundant
He is a little $hit machine. the fecal volume and frequency of pellet in-pellet out animals has always amused me. Like a conveyor belt
I looked at the ingredients of the oxbow stuff and modeled my creation after that. It's basically hay, soy, oil, sugar and a multivitamin.
Out of curiosity, (and so I don't have to start a new thread on this) what's the most that people have spent on their GPs? Like the cumulative lifetime non medical cost and also the single and cumulative bills from veterinary offices?
 

Smileandnod

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Interestingly enough in some countries it's illegal to own just one guinea pig, so you're outnumbered in your assessment that they are "just rodents" and content as a loner.

Let's not play games...if you had difficulty with mashing pellets, I highly doubt you went through the labor intensive process of creating powdered timothy hay, measuring & weighing out proper multivitamin dosage, and balancing other ingredients properly. Just get the Critical care if you have to syringe feed.

They do not like small enclosures actually. If you have ever had the opportunity to see a healthy guinea pig they absolutely LOVE the large space. They zoom around, jump about (popcorning) and it is a lot of fun to watch. If any of mine seemed content in a small space I would be making a vet appointment ASAP.

Please don't be condescending in your comments about "not living in a spaceship". It has already been explained why airflow is important due to sensitive respiratory systems. High, solid walls do not provide adequate air flow...yeah, they get oxygen... but that's not proper ventilation. Hopefully you understand the difference. But, since you seem to be unwilling to learn, your niece will soon have a guinea pig with URI ...now, that can be an expensive vet visit.
 

Smileandnod

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Also, your plastic storage container isn't wide enough. They need width as much as length...at 20 inches, that's not even the equivalent of 2 grids wide....it would be like living in a narrow, short hallway.
 

4boipigs

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Out of curiosity, (and so I don't have to start a new thread on this) what's the most that people have spent on their GPs? Like the cumulative lifetime non medical cost and also the single and cumulative bills from veterinary offices?

Gpigs are as expensive as other pets. Maybe even more so. Between 6 pigs since July 2020, I have probably spent $3000 on medical bills. Maybe a little bit more. Heart failure, eye removal surgery (and many other eye-related visits/treatment), UTI, scurvy, ringworm. My experience is probably not typical, as 2 of those senior pigs were abandoned in a box. 3 from a shelter, 1 from an actual local gpig rescue. But as a general example, at a relatively normal priced vet, to treat ringworm with oral meds - it was $190. Eye removal was $1100. Heart failure was terribly expensive due to the medication. Only one pig, my 3 yr old, hasn't had a vet visit. Vet prices will vary wildly - our current vet is decently priced, but we have also been to cheaper vets. Our first vet, an exotics only vet who also has a TV show, is $105 just for the exam/visit. (Keep in mind...in some areas, not providing vet care is animal cruelty and you can go to jail/be fined.)

As for general, every day stuff, they probably cost me $100 to $200 a month for veggies, hay, and water bill from washing their fleece. They do consume a lot of time as well with picking up poop and tidying up.

I'd say my 9 yr old cat and 14 yr old dog are both less work and cheaper than guinea pigs.
 

lauryn670

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Having one of my pigs pass away from gut stasis related issues just yesterday and he was being treated by a vet and with critical care, if the pig isn't eating or drinking enough it's serious and needs attention immediately and he needs food supplements with the right nutrients for him like oxbow critical care or whatever else is on the market for guinea pigs. Everyone else who replied is correct too, guinea pigs should have a friend and it isn't treating them like humans it's just what they naturally need to thrive and be happy because they're herd animals. As for the fact he seems to not move much as far as I know pigs can tend to freeze when they're scared so he's probably getting used to his surroundings and not fully comfortable yet

A gift for a niece that I'm only keeping for a bit before we're give it to her.
New pig. Storebought. I had a pig as a class pet in first grade. Myself I've had hamsters a rabbit.
I've had him for like two days now. I made a big enclosure like I've seen, fleece bottom hidey holes etc. I'm awesome at that kinda stuff. hes got hay and pellets. some lettuce Water in a bottle and a little dish.
No resistance to handling. Freaky. I say to him I cant believe what a tame animal you are.

This little guy is like catatonic. Just sits. Sometimes I find him in a hidey hole, if I take him out and place him in the middle he just sits there- I even give him a little poke.

Thinking his enclosure was too spacious I made him one from gigantic semi opaque storage bin. Hay in there, and shredded paper. A little box hide. I sometimes hear him moving around a little..
I know that he CAN move since I tilted the box and he started sliding down he perked up and scrambled.
He is like not eating anything. Barely drinking. only drinks out of the dish and it doesnt seem like much. If I shove a lettuce leaf at him he takes like one bite.
I weighed him and he was 345g. today it was 320.
I tried syringe feeding him. The pellets are too clumpy to work, so I took some soy based protein powder (muscle milk) sugar, olive oil and psyllium husks and water. Strangely he has kinda taken to the syringe feeding. Pretty cute actually. what's the daily caloric requirement for GPs? I can only find approximate diets based on weight of hay eaten and what not.

I dont know, the not eating doesn't really bother me as much as how he just is frozen all the time. It's even difficult to TRY and scare him.
What's up with this guy?
 

Smileandnod

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I'd say my 9 yr old cat and 14 yr old dog are both less work and cheaper than guinea pigs.

I feel the same way! My dog & cats are far easier...cheaper & less time consuming ...than my guinea pigs!
 

SgtBilko

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Re: Pig has gone to therapy and is better.

Interestingly enough in some countries it's illegal to own just one guinea pig, so you're outnumbered in your assessment that they are "just rodents" and content as a loner.

Let's not play games...if you had difficulty with mashing pellets, I highly doubt you went through the labor intensive process of creating powdered timothy hay, measuring & weighing out proper multivitamin dosage, and balancing other ingredients properly. Just get the Critical care if you have to syringe feed.

They do not like small enclosures actually. If you have ever had the opportunity to see a healthy guinea pig they absolutely LOVE the large space. They zoom around, jump about (popcorning) and it is a lot of fun to watch. If any of mine seemed content in a small space I would be making a vet appointment ASAP.

Please don't be condescending in your comments about "not living in a spaceship". It has already been explained why airflow is important due to sensitive respiratory systems. High, solid walls do not provide adequate air flow...yeah, they get oxygen... but that's not proper ventilation. Hopefully you understand the difference. But, since you seem to be unwilling to learn, your niece will soon have a guinea pig with URI ...now, that can be an expensive vet visit.

Please don't be condescending in your comments, you said after starting a sentence with "let's not play games"?
Thank god this isn't Switzerland where it's illegal to own just one guinea pig.
The pig is doing fine with her. If it gets something that requires a many hundred dollar vet bill, it will be euthanized. And replaced. Still have that warranty from the petshop.
I actually don't understand the difference between ventilation and enough oxygen in this case. I assume you're not just talking nonsense so please explain it to me. I know they have "sensitive" respiratory systems, but what more than oxygenated air low in particulates could they need?

God, I didn't realize just how immature the pigs sold at pet shops are. It was like the size of a smallish rat. I saw some full grown pigs the other day and wow, those were much larger
 

Soecara

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The problem with ventilation isn't an issue of oxygen its about airflow to get rid of moisture and built up ammonia from their urine. Breathing in ammonia is not good for any respiratory system regardless of the creature it is within, and solid plastic walls are great for limiting airflow and trapping in humidity allowing ammonia to build up to potentially dangerous levels.

Guinea pigs are also great at creating moisture weather it be through urine, drinking messily, or even playing with water bottle nozzles. Solid plastic walls are great at trapping this in which can also encourage issues other than ammonia such as mould or fungus growth which are also very bad for the respiratory system.
 

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