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Baby Guinea Pig Coughing After Milk?

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Harriet123

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I am hand rearing a baby guinea pig, when it came to be it had rather fast breathing (came to me at a few hours old) but seemed fine. It's now approaching a week old, eating soaked food and drinking milk, nibbling on hay, pooing, urinating, doing all the right signs. Very noisy and very alert. However, every time I have given it milk, it almost coughs and splutters afterwards, I've tried different syringes, in case it was getting too much air, it sucks on the syringe and swallows itself so am not forcing milk down its throat. I did think perhaps that milk had gone into his lungs, but as he is a week old, I am sure he wouldn't be with us by this time if this is the case. He goes quite quiet after milk, and am hoping that he is just drinking too fast? Would be nice to put my mind at rest on this, Thanks.
 

Yvi

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Hi,
Great that you're going to help this baby!
I hand rearing many pets.
It is really important that this baby just gets one little drop and then stop for swallow and breath and then gets another one.
It could be that there is milk in his lungs and that could be the reasen cause a lunge infectiont take a few days.
Take him warm and be carefull with the milk.
 

Harriet123

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Hi,
Great that you're going to help this baby!
I hand rearing many pets.
It is really important that this baby just gets one little drop and then stop for swallow and breath and then gets another one.
It could be that there is milk in his lungs and that could be the reasen cause a lunge infectiont take a few days.
Take him warm and be carefull with the milk.
Okay thanks, hopefully it isn't too bad. I will be extra careful with milk.
 

Wiebke

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I am hand rearing a baby guinea pig, when it came to be it had rather fast breathing (came to me at a few hours old) but seemed fine. It's now approaching a week old, eating soaked food and drinking milk, nibbling on hay, pooing, urinating, doing all the right signs. Very noisy and very alert. However, every time I have given it milk, it almost coughs and splutters afterwards, I've tried different syringes, in case it was getting too much air, it sucks on the syringe and swallows itself so am not forcing milk down its throat. I did think perhaps that milk had gone into his lungs, but as he is a week old, I am sure he wouldn't be with us by this time if this is the case. He goes quite quiet after milk, and am hoping that he is just drinking too fast? Would be nice to put my mind at rest on this, Thanks.
Hi and welcome!

It is great that you are trying to help this newborn. Have you got a companion pig he could learn from or is your baby on its own?

Please be aware that syringing can be fatal for babies. Anything that is going down the wrong way can cause pneumonia. :(

You either need to let a baby lick single drops from a syringe or a spoon, or soak stale cubes of wholemeal bread in full fat goat milk, so he can eat at his own speed. By now, he should also be able to eat mushed up pellets and shift from nibbling on hay and veg to eating mostly solid foods in the second week of their life. The weening process starts soon after that around three weeks when mums increasingly discourage their babies from nursing.

Please do not feed cows milk; it is too rich. You can find a list of alternatives that work in this link here; they have all been used with success on this forum here over years, too: http://www.guinea-pig-information.co.uk/guinea-pig-health/hand-rearing/

As we have got members from all over the world, we find it very helpful in being able to tailor any advice to what is available and doable where you are if you please added your country, state/province or UK county to your details. Click on your username on the top bar, then go to personal details and scroll down to location. Thank you!

If you have got another healthy guinea pig, you
 

Harriet123

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Hi and welcome!

It is great that you are trying to help this newborn. Have you got a companion pig he could learn from or is your baby on its own?

Please be aware that syringing can be fatal for babies. Anything that is going down the wrong way can cause pneumonia. :(

You either need to let a baby lick single drops from a syringe or a spoon, or soak stale cubes of wholemeal bread in full fat goat milk, so he can eat at his own speed. By now, he should also be able to eat mushed up pellets and shift from nibbling on hay and veg to eating mostly solid foods in the second week of their life. The weening process starts soon after that around three weeks when mums increasingly discourage their babies from nursing.

Please do not feed cows milk; it is too rich. You can find a list of alternatives that work in this link here; they have all been used with success on this forum here over years, too: http://www.guinea-pig-information.co.uk/guinea-pig-health/hand-rearing/

As we have got members from all over the world, we find it very helpful in being able to tailor any advice to what is available and doable where you are if you please added your country, state/province or UK county to your details. Click on your username on the top bar, then go to personal details and scroll down to location. Thank you!

If you have got another healthy guinea pig, you
I have got an older female, but she has been on her own all her life so am a little worried that she may harm him?
Okay I will try and do that, have only been syringing as was advised by a vet! He is on kitten milk as well.
Thanks
 

Wiebke

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I have got an older female, but she has been on her own all her life so am a little worried that she may harm him?
Okay I will try and do that, have only been syringing as was advised by a vet! He is on kitten milk as well.
Thanks
Thank you! Kitten milk is fine. Sadly, many vets are not familiar with the dangers of hand rearing piggy pups.

Please introduce your two guinea pigs on neutral ground so your older girl doesn't feel invaded. They can still live next to each other if necessary for the youngster to learn to interact with other guinea pigs and see himself as guinea pig and not as a human. You will inevitably see some dominance behaviour from the older sow, but it is at least worth trying to see whether she will accept him or not.
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/dominance-behaviours-in-guinea-pigs.28949/

Youngsters learn what is safe to eat and how to frink water from their elders, ofteny licking their lips or snatching food from the mouth, which the adults will tolerate for that reason. Rodents don't have a vomiting reflex, so they can't bring up bad food again.

Please weigh your baby daily at the same time in the feeding cycle. You can help the change to a solid diet by soaking some fresh healthy poos from your adult and then mix a bit of the water into the kitten milk, so he is getting an infusion of all the right bacteria etc. and is less likely to get diarrhea when being introduced to solid food. Normally, traces of the veg are in the mum's milk, so the babies' guts get accustomed to it that way.

You can leave a boar baby with sows only until three weeks old (the average weight of a healthy baby is 250g). If your boy is well below that, he can stay up to a week longer.
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/after-birth-and-baby-care.109389/
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/separating-baby-boars-and-rehoming-babies.109391/

Wishing you the very best of luck! Please be aware that hand rearing babies is a very tricky business since babies haven't got the immune system and strength to fight off any bugs and can downhill within hours, often right out of the blue.
 

Harriet123

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Thank you! Kitten milk is fine. Sadly, many vets are not familiar with the dangers of hand rearing piggy pups.

Please introduce your two guinea pigs on neutral ground so your older girl doesn't feel invaded. They can still live next to each other if necessary for the youngster to learn to interact with other guinea pigs and see himself as guinea pig and not as a human. You will inevitably see some dominance behaviour from the older sow, but it is at least worth trying to see whether she will accept him or not.
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/dominance-behaviours-in-guinea-pigs.28949/

Youngsters learn what is safe to eat and how to frink water from their elders, ofteny licking their lips or snatching food from the mouth, which the adults will tolerate for that reason. Rodents don't have a vomiting reflex, so they can't bring up bad food again.

Please weigh your baby daily at the same time in the feeding cycle. You can help the change to a solid diet by soaking some fresh healthy poos from your adult and then mix a bit of the water into the kitten milk, so he is getting an infusion of all the right bacteria etc. and is less likely to get diarrhea when being introduced to solid food. Normally, traces of the veg are in the mum's milk, so the babies' guts get accustomed to it that way.

You can leave a boar baby with sows only until three weeks old (the average weight of a healthy baby is 250g). If your boy is well below that, he can stay up to a week longer.
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/after-birth-and-baby-care.109389/
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/separating-baby-boars-and-rehoming-babies.109391/

Wishing you the very best of luck! Please be aware that hand rearing babies is a very tricky business since babies haven't got the immune system and strength to fight off any bugs and can downhill within hours, often right out of the blue.
Thanks so much for all your help. Hopefully he can still pull through.
 

Wiebke

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Thanks so much for all your help. Hopefully he can still pull through.
I am keeping my fingers VERY firmly crossed! Losing a hand-reared orphan is always extremely heart-breaking.
 

Flutterby

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Got my fingers crossed that this little one makes it! You are doing your best for him!
 

Elwickcavies

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You are doing a wonderful job! I raised an orphan piggy (a long time ago), and we used a dropper for puppy milk, so that it didn't go down too quick. Although we didn't have any other guinea pigs around for the youngster to learn from, she seemed to figure it out herself and considered me her mum, I think. She lived a very pampered life, eventually leaving us at the grand old age of 8. Good luck!
 

Harriet123

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Thanks guys. Tried to introduce him to my friends female guinea who had pups a few days ago, unfortunately it didn't exactly go to plan so is continuing to be orphaned, currently having a sleepover with my boss tonight so I can get a nights sleep! He very much enjoyed his corn on the cob today :)
 

Wiebke

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Thanks guys. Tried to introduce him to my friends female guinea who had pups a few days ago, unfortunately it didn't exactly go to plan so is continuing to be orphaned, currently having a sleepover with my boss tonight so I can get a nights sleep! He very much enjoyed his corn on the cob today :)
I am very sorry that it didn't work out; it was certainly worth a try!

here are our recommendations for a balanced adult diet: https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk...or-a-balanced-general-guinea-pig-diet.116460/
 

Harriet123

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Hi guys. He is still here and doing quite well. Been out on the grass and has been nibbling on fruit and veg. He has also been eating bread soaked in milk rather than the guinea pig food in milk (he's a bit fussy). Nearly two weeks old now but still feels so thin, have you any tips on anything to help? Thanks.
 

Wiebke

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Hi guys. He is still here and doing quite well. Been out on the grass and has been nibbling on fruit and veg. He has also been eating bread soaked in milk rather than the guinea pig food in milk (he's a bit fussy). Nearly two weeks old now but still feels so thin, have you any tips on anything to help? Thanks.
How much is he weighing? Is he eating hay, which should make up to 80% of the daily food intake?
 

Harriet123

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He weighs 3oz, weighed him today. He does seem to be nibbling on it, also readi grass.
 

Wiebke

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3 oz, which is ca. 85 - 110g, is on the low side for a 2 week old (it is basically the ideal birth weight of a healthy baby), but as long as he is continuing to put on weight, he is doing OK and is still in with a chance of making it.

Try to encourage him to eat more and more solids, especially fibrous hay, and only top up with milk over the course of this coming week. You are now coming into the phase where mums start to slowly discourage their babies from drinking. By the end of the third week, the weaning process is usually in full swing.
 

Harriet123

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3 oz, which is ca. 85 - 110g, is on the low side for a 2 week old (it is basically the ideal birth weight of a healthy baby), but as long as he is continuing to put on weight, he is doing OK and is still in with a chance of making it.

Try to encourage him to eat more and more solids, especially fibrous hay, and only top up with milk over the course of this coming week. You are now coming into the phase where mums start to slowly discourage their babies from drinking. By the end of the third week, the weaning process is usually in full swing.
Okay great thanks. He was 2oz when he came to me (was one of seven) so has put weight on, slowly but surely.

Just one more thing, I'm a little worried about his hydration as he isn't drinking from a water bottle yet, is there anything I can do to help this? Thanks very much again!
 

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Okay great thanks. He was 2oz when he came to me (was one of seven) so has put weight on, slowly but surely.

Just one more thing, I'm a little worried about his hydration as he isn't drinking from a water bottle yet, is there anything I can do to help this? Thanks very much again!
As long as he is having milk and fresh veg, he won't get really badly dehydrated. Bottle drinking is something that babies learn from their elders, it is not in their instinctive kit. You will probably have to teach him by moving the ball and let him lick it, but it is something for once he is fully weaned.

Babies in large litters are usually smaller, around 50-60g. Hopefully, he will start putting on weight better once he is on an adult diet, but his weight is not alarmingly low, as he has made progress.
PS: 1 ounce is roughly 28g, but you can get by with using 30g.
 

Harriet123

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As long as he is having milk and fresh veg, he won't get really badly dehydrated. Bottle drinking is something that babies learn from their elders, it is not in their instinctive kit. You will probably have to teach him by moving the ball and let him lick it, but it is something for once he is fully weaned.

Babies in large litters are usually smaller, around 50-60g. Hopefully, he will start putting on weight better once he is on an adult diet, but his weight is not alarmingly low, as he has made progress.
PS: 1 ounce is roughly 28g, but you can get by with using 30g.
That's put my mind at rest, thanks. Hopefully we are getting there with him now!
 
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