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Feeding 'Recovery' food supplement

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Teejay

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Hi all, my Squeaky has a URI and he's really quite poorly at the moment :( His appetite is a bit up and down and he looks sooooo thin, poor fella (although the scales show he's remained pretty much the same weight).

He's had his first dose of antibiotics this morning, and the vet gave me a pack of Recovery (which I gather is like Critical Care).

Now, Squeak is a feisty little piggie (even in his current weakened state) and he really objects to being syringe fed. The whole process really seems to stress him out. So my question is, when would you make the decision to use the Recovery?

Like I say, his appetite is up and down; he's just wolfed back a small dish of fresh cut grass (he's ignoring the second dish-full though), and he's had some basil, dill, little gem lettuce and fennel this morning (I had to hand feed it though, he wasn't interested in it until I waved it under his nose). He's also eaten a few pellets, but they just seemed to be too mouch trouble for him to eat, so he quickly gave up on them. He's also been nibbling on a compressed hay cookie, but he can't seem to be bothered with regular hay.

He is/has been drinking, he was stood drinking at the water bottle for ages last night, but then, to my knowledge, he's not touched a drop since.

Would you be getting the Recovery into him now, knowing how much he hates the whole syringe feeding process? Or would you be trying to tempt him with nice morsels of food instead (I don't mind hand-feeding him all day, if need be).

Also, it says on the pack to make the powder up with 75ml of warm water.....does that mean that I should make up the whole sachet in one go? What about storing it? If it goes into the fridge, won't it be too cold to feed it to him. Maybe I can warm up a little bit at a time, using a bowl of warm water (like you can warm up a baby's bottle?).

The vet was very good, but I forgot to ask all these questions! She didn't seem to think that feeding the Recovery was urgent; she gave it to me 'just in case' Squeak wouldn't eat.

All advice welcome! Tracey
 

Wiebke

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I would start feeding him recovery food now; the more food he gets into him, the more body mass he has to fight with. Most piggies will fight syringe feeding. If necessary wrap him in a towel (but make sure that the upper body is always slightly higher). http://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/showthread.php?t=36533

Don't make up the whole thing - about 10-20 ml in one go, as he is still eating, if patchily. You may find that Recovery is rougher than Critical Care powder and doesn't get sucked up easily; it thickens the longer it stands. Either try a spoon, or cut of the end of your syringe. Try little but often until you and Bailey get the hang of it - and make sure that you don't wear your best clothes!

Please give also extra vitamin C. Dissolve 1/8 of a supermarket tablet in a little water and syringe.

When I had the problems with Hywel, the specialist vet couldn't say often enough how important round the clock care is - it can make all the difference - and that any ill piggy can't get enough vitamin C.
 

Teejay

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Hi Wiebke, thanks for that advice, it's really helpful when someone has actually been through the same thing and can tell you the best tips and hints!

I've been wrapping him in a towel to syringe feed him, but he's a feisty little so and so, bless him, he pushes the syringe away with his front feet and he wriggles like an eel, waving his head all over the place, and absolutely refusing to open his mouth!

The vet gave me some large syringes to feed the Recovery, so that should make it easier.....I don't fancy my chances much with a spoon! LOL!

I'll persevere with the syringe feeding; what's a bit of stress and struggling when it could mean the difference between life and death?

I'll get some vit C tablets this afternoon then, but it seems like I'm doing the right thing by trying to get him to eat a good mix of veggies......watery ones for hydration (he's had a bit of cucumber and lettuce), and high vit C ones (like parsley, pepper and a bit of satsuma) for nutrition.

Thanks again for your advice, Tracey x
 

Wiebke

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Make sure that syringe water as well - with Hywel I did about 1 lot of water for every 2-3 lots of food.

I only know too well how difficult it can be to get some food into a determined struggler! I found that guinea pigs often lose a lot of weight quickly, then hit a platform once for a while their extra weight has come off. After that they just get thinner and thinner without necessarly losing lots of weight . You want to prevent the next bit off weight loss as much as possible when it he loses vital substance that is harder to regain.

PS: I also add a small pinch of probiotic to every lot of recovery food to counter the antibiotic.

PS2: Simon Maddock in Northampton prescribes zithromax in severe cases of URI. It is a very powerful antibiotic for last ditch cases of bad abscesses/infections and URI. If your current lot doesn't work and Bailey continues to go downhill, you may consider asking your vet. Here are the contact details for Simon (who is one of the best guinea pig vets in the country): http://www.catandrabbit.co.uk/contact_us.htm
My having this at home (for my just deceased Llewelyn) plus the nursing was what saved Hywel's life over the weekend. I had got it through my vet after he'd spoken to Simon.
 

Teejay

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Hi Wiebke, thanks so much for your input. I've given Squeak his first lot of Recovery now, and after the initial 'OMG it's a syringe, fight!' moment, he actually started gobbling it down from the syringe. So I did actually try from a spoon (easier to keep refilling than the syringe!) and he ate about half of what I made up before he got fed up of it. I did end up wearing quite a lot of it, though.....yeuch! :{

I've put probiotic in his water (which, of course, is only really any use if he actually drinks the water!) but I'll also pop some in the Recovery next time I feed it.

He's a sorry looking poor thing, he just looks like he has no life in him at all. He's flat out on top of a pile of hay at the moment, so I'll give him an hour of rest then I'll get him up for more Recovery and water.

Thanks for those contact details. The vet was really good actually (she's not the practice's small animal specialist, but she was really good, took a full history, was really gentle with him and really seemed to be giving him the thought and concern he deserves). She said I should take him back today for a chest xray if he goes downhill (she's working all day), and I have a follow-up appointment in 3 days as well.

If he does go downhill and I do have to take him back (fingers crossed I don't), then I'll mention zithromax to the vet. Do you think they'd be willing to prescribe it without being able to speak to Simon? It'd be worth a shot, anyway.

Thanks again, your input is really appreciated. Tracey x
 

Wiebke

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Zithromax (azithromycin; a macrolide antibiotic) belongs to a group of antibiotics which is usually considered dangerous for rodents; which makes vets who have not used it before very wary. They will probably not have it in clinic and may have to order it for you.

However, the fact that Bailey is still eating is a good sign! You are doing great!
 

Teejay

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Hi Wiebke, he seems to be a bit more perky at the moment....I'm letting him rest for an hour or so, then I'm syring feeding him the Recovery (with probiotic in it) and some water.

He's still refusing/ignoring most food unless I wave it around in front of his face.....it's like he just can't be bothered to eat most of the time

He is having moments when he definitely looks more lively and 'with it', and when he's having a more lively moment, he wanders around the cage looking for things to eat, which is a good sign. He also manages to polish off a 4 or 5 x 1ml syringes full of Recovery at each sitting, so he's had about a third of the sachet so far today.

He doesn't seem to have deteriorated at all since he saw the vet, in fact, I'd say he seems a little better, so that's a massive relief. I know we're not out of the woods yet, but I'm hopeful.

I could do with every healing vibe out there, though!

Tracey
 
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