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Specialist Guinea Pig Cocoa Not Eating

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gatorgirl

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First off, we currently reside in the US. So our guinea pig Cocoa is starting to worry me. Last week we went to an exotic vet because Cocoa was wearing her teeth down at an angle and seemed to no longer want to eat except for the treats in her pellets. She had her insisors clipped and supposedly her molars were taken care of as well. It has been several days since that visit and the poor baby will still not eat. She only eats when I feed her Oxbow's Critical Care. She will not eat her fresh veggies, hay or pellets and to say I'm worried is an understatement! I will return to the vet on Monday to see if the vet can figure out what is going on with her now.

What do y'all think? Could it be her jaw is misaligned? She stays hunched up in a ball whenever being held or by herself in the cage and per poop is coming out thin and oddly shaped.

Brief history: When we first got her she had an URI and has always been smaller than our two other piggies. Last month we were treating her for an ulcer on her eye and luckily she didn't lose her eye! She has been through a lot and is such a little fighter and is the best piggie we own, just sweet. We are doing all that we can
 
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Wiebke

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Not eating on her own is pretty par for the course for dental piggies. Their mouth is very sore and their teeth need to be slowly worked in again. They may need one or more rounds of filing until they are perfectly rebalanced again.
Have you got some painkiller from your vets?

Please weigh Cocoa daily at the same time to control her food intake. Also make sure that she is drinking enough.
Here is our hand feeding guide; it has got a section with recommendations for dental guinea pigs. https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/complete-hand-feeding-guide.115359/

@furryfriends Excellent Adventure Sanctuary
 

gatorgirl

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Thank you for the advice Wiebke. She is still drinking her water and I'm trying to limit her Critical Care feedings. Currently she is being fed 4-5 times daily. She has always been on the small side, weighing around 1 pound but before her dental visit she was down to 3/4 of a pound. I weigh her daily and am happy to see her gaining weight but it is only because of the CC. In fact, I can only spoon feed her because when I try syringe feedings she is always tilting her head from left to right so that makes using a syringe difficult.
 

Wiebke

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Thank you for the advice Wiebke. She is still drinking her water and I'm trying to limit her Critical Care feedings. Currently she is being fed 4-5 times daily. She has always been on the small side, weighing around 1 pound but before her dental visit she was down to 3/4 of a pound. I weigh her daily and am happy to see her gaining weight but it is only because of the CC. In fact, I can only spoon feed her because when I try syringe feedings she is always tilting her head from left to right so that makes using a syringe difficult.
You can try grated veg at first and see whether she can cope with this, but please keep her topped up with Critical care and/or mushed up pellets as much as needed so she can start putting on weight again. 350g is a seriously weight. How old is Cocoa?
 

gatorgirl

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I believe Coca was born in October of 2013 but I cannot be certain. We got her from a pet store and according to the manager they obtain piggies when they are around 4 months old. We may have gotten her when she was 4 months or she could be older because the store will allow returns. Right now I'm letting her eat as much of the CC as she can tolerate. The poor baby will start squeaking from her cage whenever she is hungry and the moment you pick her up she starts searching for her food. I cannot ignore her cries for food! I also add a little extra vitamin c into her feed to make sure she is getting enough. For her lunch I tried mixing in finely chopped veggies so she may have eaten a few as well. I am just praying she recovers and soon eat on her own because she is such a sweet piggie!
 

Wiebke

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Fingers firmly crossed! She will need the Critical for as long as she is not eating hay, as fibre should make up to 80% of the daily food intake to keep her guts working well. Could you try chopped up cilantro/coriander or parsley for minerals and vitamin C? You are doing the right thing in giving her extra vitamin C to keep up her immune system.

If she cannot eat much in one go, then she will need more smaller feeds. The more food you can get into her, the better for her. It is always an anxious time.

I have tagged our dental specialist for you.
 

Abi_nurse

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Just to add to this, is she on any pain relief? Pain will often easily stop them from eating and dental scan be sore.

Did your vet clip the teeth or burr them? Clipping can seriously risk fracturing the tooth and damaging roots.

Hope she feels better very soon.

x
 

gatorgirl

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I am not sure how she did the dental work. I do know Cocoa was anesthetized for the procedure. Our previous vet, who is a regular vet, clipped her incisors before in the past but did not touch her molars. You know, ever since we had her her mouth on one side always appeared to be "off" somewhat but whenever it was brought up during vet visits it was brushed off. It is like muscle weakness I guess. I will call the vet in the morning to ask about pain meds because she is currently not taking any.

As for her CC, she is eating all of her recommended dosage for her weight which is lovely because at first she did not want too. But mixing in a little baby applesauce seems to do the trick and she devours it
 

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Bless her, sounds like your keeping her stable. I would definitely recommend some pain relief. As for the muscle wastage, there could be a possibility that she's got some degenerative joint disease in the jaw if she is older. This isn't always the case but it's something to think about. If she was aneathetised then it's likely the back teeth were checked and possibly blurred down.

x
 

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Why are you trying to limit the amount of Critical Care you are giving her? Limiting syringe food doesn't encourage them to eat for themselves. If she could eat, she would, regardless of the syringe feeding. It is important to keep food going through her, and to keep up her strength and weight or she will just become weak. Please aim to get in the region of 120 mls of syringe food into her in a 24 hour period.
 

gatorgirl

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I guess part of me was afraid she was becoming accustomed to the CC so I would delay her feedings by only a little to see if she would eat but I have completely scraped that idea so no worries there! I talked with her vet yesterday and apparently I was wrong about her molars being worked on because they only worked on the front teeth and given her poor body weight anesthesia is out of the question until her weight comes up. I guess that would explain why when she would get a small amount of parsley in her CC she would throw her head back.

So for now she will be eating 6 times a day, maybe more. The only thing I am going to do is slowly cut back on the applesauce in the CC because I don't want to upset her tummy. But right now she's happily eating away and I'm wiping her nose off as she eats and chasing her other cage-mates off. Those two little monkeys slowly keep working their way to her as I type to see what she's eating!
 

gatorgirl

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I'm not sure if anyone is monitoring this thread anymore, but Cocoa is starting to gain weight. I am happy to say she is now 455g. Tonight though she kept falling over and after cleaning her up she developed a case of the hiccups. I am really puzzled by the falling over part. Maybe it is her teeth bothering her or her eye, which is bad on the side she falls over on. As for now she is loving her critical care and if something bacterial is going on the antibiotics will take care of it. My fingers are crossed and prayers are being said for her.

Also, thank you to all for the words of encouragement and advice.
 

Ruby Inferno

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Just read the whole thread. I'm afraid I can't offer any advice about the falling over, but I'm glad she's getting better.

As she only eats critical care, would it be possible to encourage her to chew on something wooden during feeding time (in addition to having the critical care) to help keep her teeth trim? You wouldn't want her teeth to have to be trimmed again.
 

gatorgirl

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Just read the whole thread. I'm afraid I can't offer any advice about the falling over, but I'm glad she's getting better.

As she only eats critical care, would it be possible to encourage her to chew on something wooden during feeding time (in addition to having the critical care) to help keep her teeth trim? You wouldn't want her teeth to have to be trimmed again.
That's difficult. She has never chewed on things in her cage. Her 2 cage mates chew on everything they can but she will not. I believe at one point I had apple wood sticks for them but she did not chew on those.
 

Lady Kelly

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Oh bless her, she's still very underweight for her age but as long as the weights increasing at least she's going in the right direction. I'm not sure about the falling over, it doesn't sound normal. Maybe you could ring your vets and mention it to see of they think it could be something separate that might need treating?
 

Ruby Inferno

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That's difficult. She has never chewed on things in her cage. Her 2 cage mates chew on everything they can but she will not. I believe at one point I had apple wood sticks for them but she did not chew on those.
Ah. =/ Probably best to go and ask the vet about the falling over.
 

gatorgirl

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Hi guys. So Cocoa had a visit with the vet today. To start with she has a massive ear infection in her right ear and she has completely lost her vision in her right eye. She also falls to the right when she looses her balance so the vet feels it could be related to the ear infection or not being able to see out of her right eye. Worst case for the balance lose would be a possible lesion behind her right eye that could be pressing against her brain.

Cocoa also has muscle loss on the right side of her face as well. To me, it looks like she had a stroke because the right side of her face droops. The vet said she may have been dropped before we bought her and the vet also mentioned a failure to thrive as well. She just doesn't seem to gain much weight, no matter how much I feed her. Also, something weird: the vet pulled some strange object out of her food pouch and we have no idea what it could be! That probably explains why she was always chewing. I just pray that she starts gaining more weight and eventually eats on her own. She seems to have stalled at the 1 pound mark.
 

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Fingers very firmly crossed. What medication and support is she on? Ear infection is a serious problem on top of everything else.
 

gatorgirl

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Fingers very firmly crossed. What medication and support is she on? Ear infection is a serious problem on top of everything else.
She is on Baytril Otic for the ear infection, received an injection for pain which should last a few days and is receiving ointment for her eye daily. Her molars, according to the vet look good. So now I'm worried that maybe she doesn't want to eat because of how she feels. Maybe it's related to her loss of vision in one eye or from the ear infection. It shouldn't be due to the muscle atrophy on her right side of her mouth because she was eating before. I am back to grinding her pellets down into a powder a making a mush for her but unless it has applesauce in it she will still make her "wheeking" sounds until I give in. I do not want to see her go hungry. I was hoping the injection for her pain would make a big difference but so far nothing. I am at my whits end.
 
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