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Specialist Bloat every 3-4 days

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Hi,

My piggy has experienced continuous weight loss over the past 6 months. She was 1200g last year, and only 850g now. I wrote a post about this situation 2 months ago, Continuous weight loss over 4 months
In the past two months, I weighted her daily and closely monitored her behavior.
 

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(Sorry that I post it before I finished, and I don't know how to delete.)

In the past two months, I weighted her daily and closely monitored her behavior. I found out that she will have a bloat every 3 to 4 days, and the bloat will last 1-2 days. During that period, she is less active and eats far less that usual. Her tummy is only slightly bigger, but I can feel the gas when I massaging her.
When she is having a bloat, her weight will go up (probably because of the gas in her tummy), but she will lose weight after, because she doesn't have enough food. I will attach a graph of her weight, and you can see how she lost 100g in the past 2 months. The red dots are the days that she is not bloat at all and having good appetite.
I am wondering why is she constantly having a bloat? And if anyone can recommend some effective massage method? Thank you!
 

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Piggies&buns

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What is her diet like?
There may be something which isn’t agreeing with her.

Bloat can come on at any time, be a serious issue and be fatal. I see completely what you are saying but you never know if the next bloat issue will be worse.
Could you try another vet? It isn’t normal to be experiencing this every few days, there must be something going wrong somewhere. Bloat can come in waves though - the guide I linked in explains
 
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What is her diet like?
There may be something which isn’t agreeing with her.

Bloat can come on at any time, be a serious issue and be fatal. I see completely what you are saying but you never know if the next bloat issue will be worse.
Could you try another vet? It isn’t normal to be experiencing this every few days, there must be something going wrong somewhere
I limited her vege amount since January, since her first tummy upset. Now she will only get for example half piece of a lettuce, one slice of cucumber, and one piece of cilantro per day. She had unlimited timothy hay, and orchard, oat hay to add variety. She had 1-2 tea spoons of Oxbow pellets.
One thing to point out is that my other piggy is also having a bloat problem for more than a year. She was on antibiotics from January to April and always has soft poops until now. But she seems to get used to it and never stops eating.
Is it possible that my piggy has a tummy problem but doesn't have healthy guinea pig poop to eat, thus cannot cure? (they are both on probiotic everyday though)
 

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I would look for another vet if I were you - get a second opinion. Have a look at the vet locator for US and see if you can get them both seen by one. What was the antibiotics for? I’d also consider taking them off veg. When introducing only give herbs - cilantro is nice and mild.
Guinea Lynx :: GL's Vet List
 

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I agree about getting a second opinion - regular bloat and continual weight loss is not normal.
What other tests has she had - scans, x-rays, fecal culture, bloodwork?
And is she on a probiotic to help with her digestion?
 

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Oh dear, bloat like this needs more than just massage or dietary changes, really it needs effective medication from the vet as well to help manage this- is your piggy getting regular prescription medication such as emeprid or cisapride? If your vet isnt prescribing something effective, really you should try a different vet, recurrent bloat is a dreadfully worrying thing but can be managed through both diet and medication x
 

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I limited her vege amount since January, since her first tummy upset. Now she will only get for example half piece of a lettuce, one slice of cucumber, and one piece of cilantro per day. She had unlimited timothy hay, and orchard, oat hay to add variety. She had 1-2 tea spoons of Oxbow pellets.
One thing to point out is that my other piggy is also having a bloat problem for more than a year. She was on antibiotics from January to April and always has soft poops until now. But she seems to get used to it and never stops eating.
Is it possible that my piggy has a tummy problem but doesn't have healthy guinea pig poop to eat, thus cannot cure? (they are both on probiotic everyday though)
Hi! I would recommend to either see your vet again or to see a specialist vet.
Has your vet checked the gut for thickening/'doughiness'? The gut is normally very fine with thin walls, but like in some rabbits, it can thicken and cause symptoms that resemble irritable bowel syndrome. it is not something a general vet would necessarily be aware of.

I have currently another piggy with IBS like symptoms of which mild to medium off and on bloating is one of the symptoms; without medication Barri can also suffer short, very painful severe bloating attacks that cause him to grunt and can even impact on his use of back legs. My Pili Pala (RIP 2018), the first piggy with thickened gut I ever had, didn't have it as severely but had very variable up and down weight in the wake of a massive GI stasis and was eventually diagnosed with IBS and stayed on her cocktail of gut meds for the rest of the year she was to live. Mild off and on bloating was part of it.
Management is with gut stimulants like emeprid, metacam and cisapride; sadly zantc/ranitidine has stopped, which is the most effective anti-bloating drug. Cisapride can help but does come with some serious side effects and can actually make bloating worse when given too much.

It can of course be caused by something else but as it is an ongoing long term problem it should be investigated further past the general first line defense of any vet who hasn't got any idea of what is going on, a course of antibiotics.

Do you have just your boy or does he have a healthy companion or other piggies in your household?

Please be aware that guinea pigs need two runs through their gut in order to fully break down the tough fibre in grass and hay. Caecotrophs contain the not fully broken down fibre that is still containing more nutrients from the first run and are produced at a different time to any waste poos resulting from both runs. The consistency of the waste poos doesn't mean that your boy is not digesting his caecotrophs but that there may be a problem in the lower gut (pain?) that impacts on the 'firming up' stage at the end before the poos are excreted if that makes sense to you?
 

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I would look for another vet if I were you - get a second opinion. Have a look at the vet locator for US and see if you can get them both seen by one. What was the antibiotics for? I’d also consider taking them off veg. When introducing only give herbs - cilantro is nice and mild.
Guinea Lynx :: GL's Vet List
Thank you for your suggestion! I will definitely bring them both to the vet again.
The antibiotics is for the other piggy, she had a serious tooth abscess and went through several surgeries earlier this year. This piggy never had any antibiotics.
I have tried cutting off veg in February/ March, but didn't make much improvement, so I continued feeding veg afterwards.
 

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I agree about getting a second opinion - regular bloat and continual weight loss is not normal.
What other tests has she had - scans, x-rays, fecal culture, bloodwork?
And is she on a probiotic to help with her digestion?
Thank you for your reply! She hasn't take any tests you mentioned. I will suggest to the vet this time.
She has been on probiotic for several months, 1 gram per day, but I am not sure if it is effective.
 

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Oh dear, bloat like this needs more than just massage or dietary changes, really it needs effective medication from the vet as well to help manage this- is your piggy getting regular prescription medication such as emeprid or cisapride? If your vet isnt prescribing something effective, really you should try a different vet, recurrent bloat is a dreadfully worrying thing but can be managed through both diet and medication x
Thank you for you reply! My vet only prescribed probiotic and she has been on probiotic for several months. It seems that she does need something more effective...
 

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Good luck finding another vet and let us know how you get on.
 

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A probiotic is not actually a medication, but it can be given alongside appropriate medications such as those pigglepuggle has mentioned.
 

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Hi! I would recommend to either see your vet again or to see a specialist vet.
Has your vet checked the gut for thickening/'doughiness'? The gut is normally very fine with thin walls, but like in some rabbits, it can thicken and cause symptoms that resemble irritable bowel syndrome. it is not something a general vet would necessarily be aware of.

I have currently another piggy with IBS like symptoms of which mild to medium off and on bloating is one of the symptoms; without medication Barri can also suffer short, very painful severe bloating attacks that cause him to grunt and can even impact on his use of back legs. My Pili Pala (RIP 2018), the first piggy with thickened gut I ever had, didn't have it as severely but had very variable up and down weight in the wake of a massive GI stasis and was eventually diagnosed with IBS and stayed on her cocktail of gut meds for the rest of the year she was to live. Mild off and on bloating was part of it.
Management is with gut stimulants like emeprid, metacam and cisapride; sadly zantc/ranitidine has stopped, which is the most effective anti-bloating drug. Cisapride can help but does come with some serious side effects and can actually make bloating worse when given too much.

It can of course be caused by something else but as it is an ongoing long term problem it should be investigated further past the general first line defense of any vet who hasn't got any idea of what is going on, a course of antibiotics.

Do you have just your boy or does he have a healthy companion or other piggies in your household?

Please be aware that guinea pigs need two runs through their gut in order to fully break down the tough fibre in grass and hay. Caecotrophs contain the not fully broken down fibre that is still containing more nutrients from the first run and are produced at a different time to any waste poos resulting from both runs. The consistency of the waste poos doesn't mean that your boy is not digesting his caecotrophs but that there may be a problem in the lower gut (pain?) that impacts on the 'firming up' stage at the end before the poos are excreted if that makes sense to you?
Thank you for your reply! This piggy acts completely like a normal health piggy on the days she doesn't have a bloat. And when she has a bloat, her left bottom side feels harder, and when I massage the left side, I can feel bubbles break on the right side. Not sure if this can give you any clue on what is happening?
This piggy does have a companion, but not a healthy companion sadly.
 

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Thank you for your reply! This piggy acts completely like a normal health piggy on the days she doesn't have a bloat. And when she has a bloat, her left bottom side feels harder, and when I massage the left side, I can feel bubbles break on the right side. Not sure if this can give you any clue on what is happening?
This piggy does have a companion, but not a healthy companion sadly.
It may be that something is pushing on the gut?

We can unfortunately only speculate.
 

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It may be that something is pushing on the gut?

We can unfortunately only speculate.
Thank you:)
And thanks for suggesting me trying different hay two months ago. She is still a fan of oat hay when she is having a bloat, which is a huge relief for me.
 
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