• 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

Frequency of Poop; Medication Not Helping

ashleemelda

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Jun 7, 2019
Messages
45
Reaction score
8
Points
155
Location
Virginia
A couple weeks ago, I made a post detailing how both my girls' poop had become much lighter in color and was very dry even immediately after being dropped. On top of that, while they had been pooping, it was significantly less than I was used to seeing, especially first thing in the morning. This was my main concern. Nothing else about their behavior had changed, and they were still eating their hay, pellets, and veggies with as much eagerness as always. There were also no alarming weight fluctuations that indicated they may have not been getting enough hay. They were both rather petite when I got them and I've been working to bulk them up. They both stand at about 840g currently.

I got them in early June of this year. For the majority of the time I've had them I was in-between jobs, so their diet was rather limited - a rotating slice of red, orange, and yellow pepper; a slice of cucumber; and 1-2 leaves of green leaf lettuce daily per pig. I also had them on the Kaytee brand of Timothy Hay that you can get at Walmart but was very unnerved by the coarseness of the hay and have since switched to Oxbow brand Timothy Hay and Orchard Grass Blend, which they LOVE. I have also slowly been introducing 1-2 sprigs of cilantro, a slice of celery, and a whole green bean into their diet per @Wiebke's diet guide, which I plan to continue following for the long term outside of the type of lettuce because spring greens and gem lettuce are hard to come by where I live in Virginia.

I have since made an update post after I took them to the vet last Monday, December 2. She checked all their vitals and said they appeared to be in really good shape. She prescribed an antibiotic (Bactrim, SMZ-TMP, to give orally twice daily for 10 days) in case it was the start of an infection and Ben-Bac Plus Microbial Gel (orally once daily for 10 days) to help in regulating their bowel movements.

It is now day nine of each medication and while the color of their poop has returned to a normal dark brown, the frequency of their poop has not. As stated earlier, nothing about their behavior has changed and Rose has gained back the weight that she appeared to lose when the medication was first administered.

I am at a loss regarding where to go from here and would appreciate any and all advice you guys could give. It's especially baffling because it is and has been affecting both of them and started at the same time. Do you think it could be one of the three mainstay veggies (red, orange, yellow sweet pepper; cucumber; and green leaf lettuce) I've been feeding them and I should cut back and then slowly re-introduce to try and find the culprit? Or since I've been feeding those consistently since June would I have seen signs earlier if it was causing some digestive upset?

I also discussed with the vet having noticed some sudden dominance issues on Rose's part and she suggested separating them when eating hay, pellets, and veggies. I bought a new, larger cage a couple months ago that I've been meaning to put them in. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of putting them in said cage the night we got back from the vet after they were already dealing with the stress of traveling, being handled and poked, and prodded by strangers, and getting used to the medication. They have taken to the cage significantly in the week since, but I have noticed Rose has been rumble-strutting a lot and Moira within the past day has begun dragging her butt on the ground when she poops. Is this normal dominance behavior and them continuing to get used to the cage or something that could be related to the lack of poop?
 

Wiebke

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 10, 2009
Messages
75,596
Reaction score
51,605
Points
3,466
Location
Coventry UK
A couple weeks ago, I made a post detailing how both my girls' poop had become much lighter in color and was very dry even immediately after being dropped. On top of that, while they had been pooping, it was significantly less than I was used to seeing, especially first thing in the morning. This was my main concern. Nothing else about their behavior had changed, and they were still eating their hay, pellets, and veggies with as much eagerness as always. There were also no alarming weight fluctuations that indicated they may have not been getting enough hay. They were both rather petite when I got them and I've been working to bulk them up. They both stand at about 840g currently.

I got them in early June of this year. For the majority of the time I've had them I was in-between jobs, so their diet was rather limited - a rotating slice of red, orange, and yellow pepper; a slice of cucumber; and 1-2 leaves of green leaf lettuce daily per pig. I also had them on the Kaytee brand of Timothy Hay that you can get at Walmart but was very unnerved by the coarseness of the hay and have since switched to Oxbow brand Timothy Hay and Orchard Grass Blend, which they LOVE. I have also slowly been introducing 1-2 sprigs of cilantro, a slice of celery, and a whole green bean into their diet per @Wiebke's diet guide, which I plan to continue following for the long term outside of the type of lettuce because spring greens and gem lettuce are hard to come by where I live in Virginia.

I have since made an update post after I took them to the vet last Monday, December 2. She checked all their vitals and said they appeared to be in really good shape. She prescribed an antibiotic (Bactrim, SMZ-TMP, to give orally twice daily for 10 days) in case it was the start of an infection and Ben-Bac Plus Microbial Gel (orally once daily for 10 days) to help in regulating their bowel movements.

It is now day nine of each medication and while the color of their poop has returned to a normal dark brown, the frequency of their poop has not. As stated earlier, nothing about their behavior has changed and Rose has gained back the weight that she appeared to lose when the medication was first administered.

I am at a loss regarding where to go from here and would appreciate any and all advice you guys could give. It's especially baffling because it is and has been affecting both of them and started at the same time. Do you think it could be one of the three mainstay veggies (red, orange, yellow sweet pepper; cucumber; and green leaf lettuce) I've been feeding them and I should cut back and then slowly re-introduce to try and find the culprit? Or since I've been feeding those consistently since June would I have seen signs earlier if it was causing some digestive upset?

I also discussed with the vet having noticed some sudden dominance issues on Rose's part and she suggested separating them when eating hay, pellets, and veggies. I bought a new, larger cage a couple months ago that I've been meaning to put them in. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of putting them in said cage the night we got back from the vet after they were already dealing with the stress of traveling, being handled and poked, and prodded by strangers, and getting used to the medication. They have taken to the cage significantly in the week since, but I have noticed Rose has been rumble-strutting a lot and Moira within the past day has begun dragging her butt on the ground when she poops. Is this normal dominance behavior and them continuing to get used to the cage or something that could be related to the lack of poop?
Hi!

If your sows are holding their weight, then they are very obviously eating enough and you need to not worry about the number of poos. it is likely that with a better diet they get more nutrition without having to process as much volume. Everything should normalise after the end of the course of baytril, so I would not worry at this stage. ;)

Spring greens are a milder relative of kale; you can replace them with a half the amount of kale or by feeding a little kale every second day; how much also depends on how hard the water is where you are. The US are generally a soft water country while the UK is majorly a hard water (i.e. high calcium) country; we have to take that into account in the UK where feeding too much high calcium veg like kale or spinach can quickly lead to bladder stones.

How old are your girls now? they are exhibiting normal dominance behaviours, including territory marking. A new cage is new territory and requires a re-establishment of the existing group hierarchy with all the attendant dominance behaviours. My feeling is that you have teenagers, which are always more hormonal/dominant. This is not as well known as with boars as it rarely leads to fights and fall-outs in sows.
Here is our sow guide:
Sows: Behaviour and female health problems (including ovarian cysts)
When Sows Experience A Strong Season (videos)

The dominance phase in bondings or territorial changes: Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics

I hope that this helps you?
 

ashleemelda

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Jun 7, 2019
Messages
45
Reaction score
8
Points
155
Location
Virginia
Hi!

If your sows are holding their weight, then they are very obviously eating enough and you need to not worry about the number of poos. it is likely that with a better diet they get more nutrition without having to process as much volume. Everything should normalise after the end of the course of baytril, so I would not worry at this stage. ;)

Spring greens are a milder relative of kale; you can replace them with a half the amount of kale or by feeding a little kale every second day; how much also depends on how hard the water is where you are. The US are generally a soft water country while the UK is majorly a hard water (i.e. high calcium) country; we have to take that into account in the UK where feeding too much high calcium veg like kale or spinach can quickly lead to bladder stones.

How old are your girls now? they are exhibiting normal dominance behaviours, including territory marking. A new cage is new territory and requires a re-establishment of the existing group hierarchy with all the attendant dominance behaviours. My feeling is that you have teenagers, which are always more hormonal/dominant. This is not as well known as with boars as it rarely leads to fights and fall-outs in sows.
Here is our sow guide:
Sows: Behaviour and female health problems (including ovarian cysts)
When Sows Experience A Strong Season (videos)

The dominance phase in bondings or territorial changes: Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics

I hope that this helps you?
This helps a lot and does much to calm my nerves, which I can’t even begin to say thank you enough for! It's been a pretty rough couple weeks for me (and mostly them!) from pre-vet to now post-vet, especially watching the frequency of their poops change so drastically almost overnight and then not respond to the meds.

Unfortunately, I am not aware of their ages, as they were bought as an early birthday gift from the pet store from my father and sister who knew I was down on my luck while not having a job. I have always been very vocal about my disdain for pet store chains such as PetSmart and PetCo due to their treatment (or lack thereof) of the animals in their care and how they often do not have the resources needed to properly care for them upon being purchased.

I think that's why I've been so hyper-vigilant and hyper-aware these past ~six months, as I want to give them the best possible life after having started out in those conditions and perhaps even worse prior. Perhaps that's also why I've been so nervous and worried watching this change the past couple weeks, but on a previous thread someone brought up a wonderful point about trying not to stress too much as guinea pigs can pick up on our anxieties, which was a much-needed reflection on my part.
 

ashleemelda

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Jun 7, 2019
Messages
45
Reaction score
8
Points
155
Location
Virginia
@Wiebke Something I neglected to mention that I'm not sure is relevant to this conversation or indicative of a potentially larger problem is that both my girls seem to be eating more poop than they are dropping.
 

Wiebke

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 10, 2009
Messages
75,596
Reaction score
51,605
Points
3,466
Location
Coventry UK
@Wiebke Something I neglected to mention that I'm not sure is relevant to this conversation or indicative of a potentially larger problem is that both my girls seem to be eating more poop than they are dropping.
Guinea pigs need to digest their food twice to get the most nutrition out of the tough grass/hay fibres. The poos containing the not yet fully broken down fibre that are eaten again for the second run are called caecotrophs and have a slightly different texture and consistency to the waste poos that are the ones that you see lying round as a result of both runs through the gut. Guinea pigs normally pick up caecotrophs straight from their anus because they are so precious. they can become pretty upset when they accidentally drop one and can't find it! that is why you rare see caecotrophs lying around. ;)
Especially recovering piggies after a course of antibiotics that has been hard on the gut need all the microbiome they can hang onto. If you really feel like you need to do something for your piggies, you can offer them a pinch of probiotic powder mixed with 1 ml of water twice daily while they are on antibiotic treatment.

However, I would strongly recommend that you try to please not become too fixated on poo production as long as your piggies are making normal sized poos and are holding/inceasing their weight in the regular weigh-ins. Pet anxiety can cause obsessive observation and control and can sadly destroy all the joy and benefits that your pets can bring you. It is a not at all uncommon branching out if you suffer from anxiety and have the need to be in total control/being assured that you are in total control at any moment; obsessive health or behaviour hovering it is sadly not rare. If you catch yourself checking your piggies instinctively for what is wrong instead of for what is right with them when you come into the room, you are likely to suffer from pet anxiety.
For your own long term happiness it is important that you become aware of this possibility if you are at risk and - if you can - please delegate any health checks to a partner/family member or friend to do them for you so you can get out of this trap again and concentrate on enjoying that your piggies are actually recovering nicely! :)

From all you are telling me, your piggies are well on the way to recovery and there is nothing wrong with them that you need to worry about right now. :tu:
 
Top