• Discussions taking place within this forum are intended for the purpose of assisting you in discussing options with your vet. Any other use of advice given here is done so at your risk, is solely your responsibility and not that of this forum or its owner. Before posting it is your responsibility you abide by this Statement

Digestion Issues - Any Advice?

Status
Not open for further replies.

claire2281

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Aug 28, 2014
Messages
41
Reaction score
11
Points
145
Location
Ashford, UK
One of my two nearly six year old boars is having constant digestion issues which I can't quite seem to get a handle on.

He's had a couple of episodes of gas in the past 5 months which have been successfully treated and I am good at getting him to the vets before it gets too serious. However I can't quite seem to get him right again. He's staying a stable enough weight (and is still having a small amount of hand feed every day) but again today he's subdued and off his food. His stomach sounds gurgly. I noticed the other day that his soft poops were mushy and smelly (the others were fine) and gave him a little fibre plex and he has a probiotic every day. He eats a small amount of fresh food twice a day (mostly herbs). He is very fond of little biscuit treats. His teeth were checked about a month ago and were fine.

He obviously has a very delicate gut and I wonder if people have any advice on how to keep him settled and well fed. Poor little guy is probably fed up with me messing with him and he'd be far happier if we could get this properly sorted.

Conventional wisdom says take his fresh food away completely but the vet always advises against that (and she is generally very good with my guinea pigs and knows what she's doing).
 

Tbag

Adult Guinea Pig
Joined
Oct 11, 2011
Messages
1,819
Reaction score
1,076
Points
730
Location
Surrey
Hm I would agree that removing his fresh food sounds like a good and most logical idea... Perhaps you could trial it for a few days just cutting leafy greens out and see if his tummy starts to settle and poos start to firm up again?
 

helen105281

Forum Donator 2019/20
Joined
Jan 27, 2010
Messages
18,878
Reaction score
10,545
Points
2,155
Location
Herts
I would give him a few days with no fresh food just to see if it helps and try to increase his hay, does he eat much at the moment?

When he is gassy, you could try massaging his abdomen, either using an electric toothbrush or an electronic massage pad. Gripe water can also help. I use the Woodwards one but you may prefer to run it past your vet. Some people use Infacol and some vets recommend it too but I don't like it as it causes the gas to form one big bubble which can be dangerous if there is a blockage and can cause a torsion.

Has he been checked by a vet? I would consider an xray (conscious if possible) just to rule out a blockage.

Plenty of fluids too.
 

claire2281

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Aug 28, 2014
Messages
41
Reaction score
11
Points
145
Location
Ashford, UK
Just got him back from the vets. She said his tummy sounds far too noisy and whilst he still weighs 1kg he feels thin for him (because he's quite a big lad). His normal poops are solid but light coloured. The caecal pellets really do stink and are very mushy. His teeth still seem to be fine so she's given me metoclopramide and zantac. She's given me enough to keep some at home for if this reoccurs. She said considering this has been going on and off for six months it may just be old age and there's nothing more we can do (she said he can stay on the gut stimulants for as long as they help), there may be some underlying problem (although previous xrays were clear) or he may just have an incredibly sensitive gut. He did have some chicory and sweetcorn the last couple of days which he's had before and has been fine but I wonder if that's done it.

She suggested that he has no more than one of my small handfuls of fresh food a day but I am inclined to keep him off completely for a few days. I'm syringe feeding him Supreme Science Recovery Plus (he prefers the taste to that of Critical Care) which he's very good with and will regularly take 15ml at a time, and he's been nibbling hay too. I really need to try and get his weight back up again but I don't want to further upset his gut in the process.

Not sure what else to do tbh!

EDIT: Just to add I have give him gripe water before (which he hates!) and metatone (which he loves!)
 

Abi_nurse

Adult Guinea Pig
Joined
Jun 25, 2010
Messages
4,545
Reaction score
1,362
Points
845
Location
Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire.
Sounds like he has hyper motility of the gut (although he is on gut meds too?)t. In other words they are possibly moving too fast which can sometimes occur. In patients like this it is generally about balancing it out. Lots and lots of fibre (hay) for him. I would certainly consider stopping veg just for a few days and then re introducing things slowly just to see if there are any triggers in his diet which causes the gas build up or mushy poos. I would steer clear or be very sparing of brassicas such as califlower, Brussels, cabbage etc as these may exasibate the symptoms.

Hope he feels better soon.

x
 

NASH

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Dec 5, 2009
Messages
222
Reaction score
63
Points
265
We've had piggies with sensitive guts with bloating and gas. We avoided gas producing foods such as cabbage, broccoli etc and fruits. We found sweetcorn including the baby corn caused problems. We didn't stop fresh food when they had problems we were just super careful and reduced the amount they were given concentrating on herbs they especially liked mint, we also split the food up so they had small amounts a couple of times a day instead of having a largish portion at one meal overloading their tummies. We couldn't increase the hay as they already have loads but we did severely limit pellets to encourage them to eat more hay. A good run around on the floor helped shift any gas and encouraged pooping. We used a vibrating pad to further help shift it. Flash still isn't allowed cabbages etc as he is just one of those sensitive piggies. Good luck.
 

juls65

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Jun 26, 2014
Messages
106
Reaction score
49
Points
210
I would cut out the biscuit treats too as they can slow the gut down & go easy on any hard feed as well as if they are cereal based they can cause dysbiosis which means the gut flora is imbalanced which causes mushy, smelly caecals & gas. He can't re-ingest mushy caecals & won't if they don't smell right either so the cycle continues. Try & get him to eat as much hay as possible to keep everything passing through. If you have another healthy guinea pig around you can mush some of its poo in to the syringe feeds to help repopulate the gut flora. Good hay/ grass eating will help maintain his weight too. I have a rabbit with this problem at the moment & have had to strip the diet back to a few pellets, grass & loads of meadow hay & this will be his diet for life now. Two days in & he is much better already. Hope your guinea picks up soon too :)
 

claire2281

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Aug 28, 2014
Messages
41
Reaction score
11
Points
145
Location
Ashford, UK
So Fred has been on the gut medication for a week and has been hand fed well. He's put on about 100g since last Friday. He's a large lad and was feeling quite bony across his hips even at just over 1kg but he's improving now weight wise at least. Things I'm noticing:

- His wee has been bright orange. This could be from the Pro C due to the chlorophyll content or from bacterial imbalance
- His stools are better formed and coloured but still soft
- He's not moving around much in his cage. He prefers to sit where he is and eat the hay around him rather than come out and forage.
- He's often wet underneath when I pick him up because he's not moving much I presume
- He eats very enthusiastically when I get him out for feeding. He's having 18ml of CC at a time, a small handful of herbs once a day and tucking into a pile of timothy hay each meal.
- He was showing some signs of dehydration so I've upped his water intake
- Most concern; he's now squeaking when he poops. But never when he wees.

This is frustrating and infuriating - I just want to find out what's wrong with the poor little guy and get him settled again.

I'm going to take him to the vets tomorrow again because I don't want him being in pain. He moves around the floor very well when down there but his reluctance to forage in the cage concerns me (unless it is massive laziness!). I'm going to query a bladder issue what with the squeaking (I mix his CC up with cranberry juice already) but is there anything else people would suggest? The vets I go to are very good and are well prepared to listen to my suggestions as well as make their own.

I had vague thoughts of a systemic fungal infection but surely then he wouldn't be putting on weight at all. He has been xrayed when his digestion problems first started and there was no signs of stones or sludge then but that was back in August. Could it be this time he has a stone or IC and the gut issues are actually due to that/the pain?
 
Last edited:

juls65

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Jun 26, 2014
Messages
106
Reaction score
49
Points
210
He may be sitting around due to his age, arthritic pain or from pain somewhere else. Will he eat meadow hay as well as timothy? Sometimes after stomach problems timothy hay can be a bit tough on the digestion as it is very fibrous & also there is a lot of fibre in the CC. Too much fibre can cause soft poos as well as not enough, & can keep the imbalance going & meadow hay may provide some interest to forage as it contains different types of grasses whereas timothy is a single variety hay. I would check him for impaction too just in case as this can be quite common after gut problems. Hope you can find out what's wrong. poor Fred :(
 

claire2281

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Aug 28, 2014
Messages
41
Reaction score
11
Points
145
Location
Ashford, UK
Yup they are indeed both rather lazy which I expect at their age though George will come out for food but Fred isn't interested at all right now (yet will happily eat what you put in front of him). Fred doesn't seem to have any problems moving; he trundles around very happily on floor time and will hop quite athletically into his soft basket!

His bedding is meadow hay and he will eat that when he's sitting there. I'll certainly give him some of that to eat rather than the timothy in case it helps. Interesting about the amount of fibre causing soft poos - never heard that one before! They are mostly perfectly formed and smooth now, right colour again but can be easily flattened between two fingers. He's on a high fibre diet at the moment since too much veg caused his issue in the first place. He has suffered from soft impaction on and off for a couple of years and I clean him out when necessary.

I'm still 50/50 on whether the squeaking when pooping (it isn't every time) is because of a bladder issue or whether the ongoing gut issue has just made him very sore. They did give him a pain killing injection at the vets and that pepped him up but nothing to take home. I still have metaclopramide and zantac left as the vet gave me enough to keep on standby should he show issues again.

The original cause of all these issues was definitely dietary - it was being overfed fresh food by a well meaning family member! I'm just not sure what to do to get him 'right'. The vet said only a small handful of fresh food a day (he does have Oxbow nuggets but he doesn't eat many of them). I couldn't even begin to describe how much veg his brother has in comparison!

Would it be a good idea to try and feed him just on meadow hay and up the amount of veg a bit then? At the moment I'm only giving him basil, coriander, a tiny sprig of parsley and mint. He had some leafy celery tops too. I haven't given him any romanine or little gem in months through worry of bloating him - maybe add these back? I'm trying to syringe at least 40ml of water into him with bio lapis. I'm a bit paranoid about the veg as this is what caused his digestion issues and gas in the first place.

As I said, terribly frustrating trying to know what's right for him! The fact he CAN put on weight is encouraging but obviously I want him settled and happy again.
 

Pebble

Banned
Joined
Oct 12, 2009
Messages
3,030
Reaction score
1,487
Points
880
Location
Sussex
Hi Claire
I am currently dealing with a few other intnesive cases that need my urgent help-atm.

He sounds like he is holding his own and can rely on your supportive care. I wlil be back to you soon as..by which I mean sunday evening

x
 

claire2281

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Aug 28, 2014
Messages
41
Reaction score
11
Points
145
Location
Ashford, UK
Hi Claire
I am currently dealing with a few other intnesive cases that need my urgent help-atm.

He sounds like he is holding his own and can rely on your supportive care. I wlil be back to you soon as..by which I mean sunday evening

x
Thank you! He certainly isn't on death's door and is showing signs of improvement (of course the little sod just came out to get some food for the first time in days!) but I'd love some advice on his diet and anything else I should be doing when you have the time.
 

claire2281

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Aug 28, 2014
Messages
41
Reaction score
11
Points
145
Location
Ashford, UK
He may be sitting around because of old age :(
He isn't a spring chicken but he doesn't seem like an old man yet - he still looks in lovely condition with his beautiful silky coat and when he's on the floor he's very spritely (and happily chatting to himself as he walks). I certainly don't rule out 'well I've been well fed and there's food here so why should I move?' as the reason for him spending more time staying put.
 

Pebble

Banned
Joined
Oct 12, 2009
Messages
3,030
Reaction score
1,487
Points
880
Location
Sussex
I am pleased to report.......We have had a chat and devised a cunning plan
x
 

claire2281

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Aug 28, 2014
Messages
41
Reaction score
11
Points
145
Location
Ashford, UK
Quick update on Fred - he started showing discomfort whilst weeing yesterday evening so off to the vet this morning. She, like me, suspected a UTI. She palpated his bladder and couldn't feel any stones. He was very obliging and peed on the table so she was able to test it - blood and protein in his urine. He had an injection of painkiller and he's got loxicom to use from tomorrow. They didn't have any septrim in and she said there was no way she was giving him baytril so she's ordered that and I'll be able to pick it up tomorrow evening or Tuesday morning. The pain killer has already pepped him up and he's having his critical care mixed with cranberry juice to help with the taste. Just going to make sure he gets plenty of fluids. She said the UTI is most likely due to the fact that his immune system is a bit low after being ill. I'm just glad it's that and not stones!
 

claire2281

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Aug 28, 2014
Messages
41
Reaction score
11
Points
145
Location
Ashford, UK
So Fred picked up today after a couple of days on Septrin - more keen to eat and much brighter (convinced the vet to let me give two slightly smaller doses of loxicom a day). Of course this evening he then develops horrible diarrhoea! ARGH!

Withdraw all fresh food immediately and brought out the Fibreplex rather than using Bio Lapis. Mixed up to dioralyte and have the imodium on standby. I also have plenty of zantac still. Fortunately it has gone from liquidy to mushy within just a couple of hours and he's been nibbling some hay so I'm hoping this is just a blip. Obviously he's got to have the antibiotic but I am assuming it's this which has upset his already fragile tummy.

Anyone got a best practice tip for the dioralyte? 5ml every hour or so? Or is it all right to just give him more with his feeds?

Thanks!
 

Wiebke

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 10, 2009
Messages
76,890
Reaction score
53,603
Points
3,466
Location
Coventry UK
So Fred picked up today after a couple of days on Septrin - more keen to eat and much brighter (convinced the vet to let me give two slightly smaller doses of loxicom a day). Of course this evening he then develops horrible diarrhoea! ARGH!

Withdraw all fresh food immediately and brought out the Fibreplex rather than using Bio Lapis. Mixed up to dioralyte and have the imodium on standby. I also have plenty of zantac still. Fortunately it has gone from liquidy to mushy within just a couple of hours and he's been nibbling some hay so I'm hoping this is just a blip. Obviously he's got to have the antibiotic but I am assuming it's this which has upset his already fragile tummy.

Anyone got a best practice tip for the dioralyte? 5ml every hour or so? Or is it all right to just give him more with his feeds?

Thanks!
Just offer the dioralyte with his feeds. I would hold off the immodium, please, as it is not piggy medication, and just give the zantac and as much fibre as possible to stabilise things. If the diarrhea hasn't firmed up again by tomorrow morning, please contact your vets.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top