Bloat and Veggies

jfpj91

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This is my first post here, but I've read things on the site here and there and have seen how supportive and helpful this community can be.

I have 8 pigs in my herd, all female. Today Gaia was diagnosed with gas (or bloat from what I've read online being the correct term). She is 3 years old with no real health problems before now. I've read that bloat can be a recurring issue and I want to reduce the likelihood it'll come back for Gaia and reduce the chances the other 7 pigs wind up with it because of their diet.

Several months ago their diet looked like this:

Pellets
Timothy Hay
4 large leaves of Romaine (or occasionally green leaf) in the morning before I left for work 7-8 AM
1 of (carrots, parsley, cilantro, kale or rarely a fruit like cherries or banana) when I I home between 5-6PM
1/8 bell pepper (usually green, but sometimes yellow/orange/red) around dinner 7-8PM
4 large leaves of Romaine before bed 11PM-12AM

One of the pigs in the herd started smelling awful, or their stool, rather. We think it was Nut, (pronounced Newt). So I took them off of veggies completely. Their smell went back to normal. I slowly reintroduced veggies and wound up with this diet:

Pellets
Timothy Hay
4 leaves or romaine (or sometimes green leaf) morning
1/8 green bell pepper afternoon/evening
4 large leaves of romaine night

Now Gaia has bloat and the vet told me to avoid veggies for her. He gave me Critical Care and Ben-e-bac (sp?). Fortunately, he said Gaia seems very alert and her coat has a great sheen, so he doesn't want to start an antibiotic yet. I was told to call them tomorrow to provide an update and I guess we're gonna go day by day for the time being.

Anyway, my question is what is a good veggie diet for the herd to avoid bloat for the other piggies and is that a good diet for a piggie with bloat history or will she need a separate diet? I thought I had a good amount of Vitamin C and a good calcium:phosphorus ratio, or did prior to reducing their veggies, but I'm not sure what foods cause gas. Some websites list certain foods as good for bloat and other websites list the same foods as bad. Obviously Pellets and Timothy hay are going to remain on the menu, but what's a good veggie menu?

Sorry if some of this is circuitous, but I'm really worried about her. She is a really sweet pig and she usually gets along with everyone in the cage. I hate seeing her in pain, and I really hope I can help her and the others avoid it moving forward.
 

Free Ranger

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Hi there - we are all asleep over here (except me - darned insomnia!) but I'll tag @Piggies&buns who is usually online early. Some other members have experienced bloat so they will no doubt contribute too. I have no experience of this personally so all I can do is wish you luck x
 

Piggies&buns

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Bloat can be recurring or it can be an isolated incident. Different veggies can set off different piggies and cause digestive problems so its not a one size fits all scenario. Its about finding what works for yours. There are veggies which are more prone to causing gas such as cabbage, broccoli, sprouts for example but for some it can cause set off by something else which is seemingly harmless.

kale and parsley are too high in calcium to be fed daily. They should be fed a once a week in small amounts. I see you have now cut them out completely though. Again, carrots are too high in sugar to be fed daily and should be considered a treat only and not fed more than once per week.
Its a lot of romaine you give them, personally would not feed so much and slowly add a little variety back in provided everybody is ok with it. There isnt a lot of nutrition in lettuce and giving something like a herb (coriander/cilantro can be fed daily) in the evening instead will ensure they get a little more nutrition. Is that 1/8 of a pepper between all 8 of them?
Ensure hay is the majority of their diet, veg is one cup per pig per day and pellets are one tablespoon per pig per day.
You dont want to restrict their diet so much for something which may not happen again to Gaia, or may not happen to any of them.

Definitely keep Gaia off veggies while she is suffering from bloat. Ensure you switch from the normal weekly weight checks and instead weigh her daily while she is unwell so you can be sure she is really getting enough hay and critical care. Ill add our guide on bloat below.

Digestive Disorders: Diarrhea - Bloat - GI Stasis (No Gut Movement) And Not Eating
Long Term Balanced General And Special Needs Guinea Pig Diets
 

jfpj91

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Bloat can be recurring or it can be an isolated incident. Different veggies can set off different piggies and cause digestive problems so its not a one size fits all scenario. Its about finding what works for yours. There are veggies which are more prone to causing gas such as cabbage, broccoli, sprouts for example but for some it can cause set off by something else which is seemingly harmless.

kale and parsley are too high in calcium to be fed daily. They should be fed a once a week in small amounts. I see you have now cut them out completely though. Again, carrots are too high in sugar to be fed daily and should be considered a treat only and not fed more than once per week.
Its a lot of romaine you give them, personally would not feed so much and slowly add a little variety back in provided everybody is ok with it. There isnt a lot of nutrition in lettuce and giving something like a herb (coriander/cilantro can be fed daily) in the evening instead will ensure they get a little more nutrition. Is that 1/8 of a pepper between all 8 of them?
Ensure hay is the majority of their diet, veg is one cup per pig per day and pellets are one tablespoon per pig per day.
You dont want to restrict their diet so much for something which may not happen again to Gaia, or may not happen to any of them.

Definitely keep Gaia off veggies while she is suffering from bloat. Ensure you switch from the normal weekly weight checks and instead weigh her daily while she is unwell so you can be sure she is really getting enough hay and critical care. Ill add our guide on bloat below.

Digestive Disorders: Diarrhea - Bloat - GI Stasis (No Gut Movement) And Not Eating
Long Term Balanced General And Special Needs Guinea Pig Diets
Thanks for the responses.

It seems I had parsley and cilantro backwards. I was giving parsley a couple times a week, carrots a couple times, and cilantro only once or so. I'll keep that in mind as I rotate more variety back into their menu.
To answer your question, it's 1/8 per pig, so for my 8 biggies an entire pepper between all of them.

I spoke with her vet today, as they want to be called daily with updates (which I greatly appreciate). Gaia has been active, is alert, and is walking with her butt less down towards the ground. They said improvement at this point is great, as they are mainly trying to avoid any deterioration in the first 48 hours after making the adjustments post-vet visit. She refuses to take her critical care, but Dr. Marlo told me as long as she is eating her actual hay then it's fine to not have her on it for the time being. She definitely doesn't want Gaia aspirating it.

One thing I've noticed about Gaia today is she is all about other pigs' butt. She is sniffing them a fair bit of her active time. I've seen the behavior from all of the pigs at one point or another, but Gaia is fixated on it today. I'm sure it's related to her gas issues, but I'm not sure how. I'll probably ask the vet tomorrow when I call in with her update.
 

Piggies&buns

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:agr:
They do it to get the poop from another piggy. eating another piggy’s poop contains bacteria which they will know will help settle their tummies. As siikibam has suggested, you give her poop soup to help repopulate her gut bacteria.

You need to put a healthy piggy in a box, feed her some lovely snacks such as herbs and then wait for poops to arrive. Immediately pick them up and put them in water, soak them, stir them about and then syringe the water to Gaia.
 

jfpj91

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:agr:
They do it to get the poop from another piggy. eating another piggy’s poop contains bacteria which they will know will help settle their tummies. As siikibam has suggested, you give her poop soup to help repopulate her gut bacteria.

You need to put a healthy piggy in a box, feed her some lovely snacks such as herbs and then wait for poops to arrive. Immediately pick them up and put them in water, soak them, stir them about and then syringe the water to Gaia.
My vet said with the Benebac she's on, we probably won't need to do that, but I'll keep it in mind for any future issues.
 

Piggies&buns

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The natural bacteria in the poop soup (provided it’s very fresh) can be better than purchased probiotics, and poop soup can be given as well alongside purchased probiotics
 

jfpj91

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Just a quick update on Gaia. The vet asked her in today. He said he initially called us in for an antibiotic, but after seeing her and taking another x-ray for comparison from Monday, he said she is much better. She isn't 100% and it could be a long time before she is, but he said I start giving her leafy greens like green leaf lettuce in small amounts. Him feeling optimistic about her getting better has taken a ton of stress off of my shoulders. He wound up not even giving the anti-biotic, so it seems we caught this early enough to avoid any major issues for now. It pays to know all the little details about each of your pigs' normal behaviors.
 

jfpj91

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Well done, that's great news!
Not out of the woods yet. He said it could be a long recovery and yesterday and today haven't been great days for her. She's still eating, drinking, and today she is moving around some and talking, but I can tell she's not feeling 100%. Is that normal with bloat 2 steps forward 1.5 steps back?
 

jfpj91

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Yes it is normal with bloat - it can come in waves and take a while to get over.
I hope she feels better soon
I appreciate the well wishes and the info. I'll try not to stress as much every time there is a downish day (still calling the vet every day, so if something is really bad they'll have me bring her in).
 

jfpj91

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Thanks for the responses.

It seems I had parsley and cilantro backwards. I was giving parsley a couple times a week, carrots a couple times, and cilantro only once or so. I'll keep that in mind as I rotate more variety back into their menu.
To answer your question, it's 1/8 per pig, so for my 8 biggies an entire pepper between all of them.

I spoke with her vet today, as they want to be called daily with updates (which I greatly appreciate). Gaia has been active, is alert, and is walking with her butt less down towards the ground. They said improvement at this point is great, as they are mainly trying to avoid any deterioration in the first 48 hours after making the adjustments post-vet visit. She refuses to take her critical care, but Dr. Marlo told me as long as she is eating her actual hay then it's fine to not have her on it for the time being. She definitely doesn't want Gaia aspirating it.

One thing I've noticed about Gaia today is she is all about other pigs' butt. She is sniffing them a fair bit of her active time. I've seen the behavior from all of the pigs at one point or another, but Gaia is fixated on it today. I'm sure it's related to her gas issues, but I'm not sure how. I'll probably ask the vet tomorrow when I call in with her update.
I've really backed off the veggies for most of the herd lately. I think I may have put together a better diet than they were on. I would like to know what you think.

Romaine in the morning and green leaf at night. I'll take the top part of the lettuce that is leafy and give it to them, eliminating the least nutritious part, that center white part.
1/8 bell pepper (95% of the time green) per pig every other day
Each day sprinkle in something else, most often cilantro, occasionally some parsley or carrots or other foods they can start trying once Gaia gets to feeling better.
 

Piggies&buns

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I've really backed off the veggies for most of the herd lately. I think I may have put together a better diet than they were on. I would like to know what you think.

Romaine in the morning and green leaf at night. I'll take the top part of the lettuce that is leafy and give it to them, eliminating the least nutritious part, that center white part.
1/8 bell pepper (95% of the time green) per pig every other day
Each day sprinkle in something else, most often cilantro, occasionally some parsley or carrots or other foods they can start trying once Gaia gets to feeling better.
Sounds good. Herbs such as coriander (cilantro) contain a good amount of nutrients and tend to be mild on the tummy. I would start with herbs when you being to reintroduce veg again.

Ensure parsley is only given once a week due to its higher calcium content. Coriander can be given every day.
 

jfpj91

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Sounds good. Herbs such as coriander (cilantro) contain a good amount of nutrients and tend to be mild on the tummy. I would start with herbs when you being to reintroduce veg again.

Ensure parsley is only given once a week due to its higher calcium content. Coriander can be given every day.
Greatly appreciated!
 

jfpj91

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Sounds good. Herbs such as coriander (cilantro) contain a good amount of nutrients and tend to be mild on the tummy. I would start with herbs when you being to reintroduce veg again.

Ensure parsley is only given once a week due to its higher calcium content. Coriander can be given every day.
I was going to message you, but I couldn't find the button anywhere.

You mentioned parsley is high in calcium, but without it or kale in their daily diet, based on a Ca:P calculator I used from guinealynx it seems my ratio is less than 1:1, where it should be 1.3 to 2.1 (I'm ball parking I've seen some wide ranges on what the ratio should be. My point being my ratio is really low.) Should I focus on the Ca:P ratio or overall Calcium intake?

I hope I'm not coming across combative. I'm just really confused.
 

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I’m not Piggies&Buns. I would say to monitor the amount of calcium in their diet. Coriander does contain calcium, but to a much lesser degree than kale and parsley. Calcium content is 67mg, 150mg and 138mg in 100g respectively. You can feed them but I wouldn’t feed them both in the same week, and not more than once a week. A sprig of parsley or one leaf of kale.
 
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