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GuineaPigParent

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Hi. A few years ago, We had a pig that mostly stopped eating, our vets operated on his teeth under anaesthetic. Following that, he never ate again and they put him down. This time, with 2 three year olds, One has again nearly stopped eating. I told the vets, who were going to operate on his teeth, that under no circumstances is he to be anaesthetised, but merely sedated. They agreed and when I rang them later, they told me, "Oh we had to anaesthetise him". Even though I had given strict instructions, they just did what I told them not to and I'm probably now going to lose this pig too! Why can't they do what you tell them? Anyway, with my blood still boiling two weeks later, we seem to be fighting a losing battle. They said he should be eating normally within a couple of days, although he hasn't touched solid food since before the operation, (nuggets or vegetables of any kind). He does eat a bit sometimes, though I think he's doing it just to please us! His weight was remaining stable at around 900 grams, but it's now started to drop again and tonight he was 860 grams. We are giving him everything he used to love, including nuggets mashed into a paste and almost totally liquidised veg, mixed with Critical Care, to make it into a similar paste. This is the only kind of thing he will eat. As he has started to eat less, we have now begun syringe feeding again, although he now fights us, by throwing his head up and trying to escape the previously accepted syringe method. Is this piggy trying to commit suicide? He really has no interest in food at all anymore and when he isn't eating (most of the time), sits hunched up in the corner of his cage, like he is cold. He is passing pellets and urinating normally. The vets keep looking at him a couple of times a week, but seem to have no helpful suggestions. Any help will be gratefully received, thank you.
 

Jesse's pigs

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I don't think guinea pigs are capable of wanting to end their lives. They are first and foremost prey animals and will/do run from danger and hide their illnesses and pain for as long as they can in order to LIVE. I would suggest that it is still hurting to chew/eat (trying to resist the syringe feed is usual in most cases but it needs to be done or his gut will stop moving). Maybe try putting the wet pellets etc on a spoon for him to lick off? I would also suggest trying to find another vet. Yours doesn't sound to be very experienced with guinea pigs or at least their dental health. Where are you located? You can use the vet finder to find cavy savvy vets in and around your area. :)

I'll tag @Wiebke
 

furryfriends (TEAS)

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It sounds to me like the teeth haven't been done properly. They should be eating for themselves very quickly, if the teeth are right. However, unlike rabbits, who will eat as soon as any spikey bits are burred off their teeth, guinea pig teeth need to be exactly right before the piggy will eat.

I know it isn't close, but is there any way you can get your piggy to Northampton to be seen by Simon or Kim Maddock at the Cat and Rabbit Care Clinic? They see guinea pigs from all over the country and they do more guinea pig dentals in a week than most vets do in their whole career. The results they get are amazing and it really would be worth the journey. They are the reason that TEAS exists. Also Simon and Kim are able to carry out dental work without the need for sedation or GA.

www.catandrabbit.co.uk

www.teasnorthampton.co.uk
 

Cavy Kung-Fu

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I would find a better vet too, I haven't had to visit Simon thankfully but I would go there if I were you. Unfortunately your vet sounds like they don't respect your requests or know what they're doing :( I've had to change vets so many times because of this!

Did they say what they've actually done to the teeth? Not eating can be for so many reasons, not just teeth. I know many vets straighten piggy teeth and they shouldn't be straight, they're slanted like cows teeth at a 30 degree angle. A previous vet of mine wanted to do surgery or put one of my piggies down because her teeth were slanted, thankfully I asked on here before I made any decisions as she was perfect and healthy.

Hope your baby is okay, sending healing vibes! :hug:
 

Wiebke

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If you can at all, PLEASE travel to Northampton to see Simon Maddock at the Cat&Rabbit Care Clinic. He sees guinea pigs from as Edinburgh or the South Coast and is currently the most practised vet for guinea pig dentals in the country. He does about 15 piggy dentals in a week on average and has saved many piggy's life. Guinea pig dentals are not part of the usual vet curriculum (especially not a general vet) and most vets don't have the first clue about them. Simon is a general vet who is specialising in cats and small furries. He has been treating the residents of The Excellent Adventure Sanctuary (TEAS), which looks after guinea pigs with chronic dental problems, for years now and he has corrected many an unpractised vet's mistakes. :(
It is a pain to have to travel all the way, but it really makes all the difference!
The Cat and Rabbit Care Clinic

Please continue to syringe feed. if a guinea pig doesn't want to eat, then it is because it is too ill or not able to. Acute pining only happens when a closely bonded companion dies, and by far not always then.
Complete Syringe Feeding Guide
Travelling with guinea pigs
Tips For Vet Visits
 

GuineaPigParent

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Thanks very much all of you. I had heard that guinea pigs don't like travelling and should be seen by the nearest vet possible. Which is where our trouble started! Out nearest vet (who we were seeing) has recently decided (as there are quite a few rich people in the area, but don't count us it that!), to put their prices up by over 300%! A friend of ours had a dog which needed worming tablets & they asked £75 for one tablet! She eventually went to a shop that sells sells them and got two tablets for a fiver. So this latest vet came recommended, but obviously does not know as much as This Simon does. It would be very difficult for us to travel there (140 miles), but will keep it in mind as a last option.
 

Wiebke

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Thanks very much all of you. I had heard that guinea pigs don't like travelling and should be seen by the nearest vet possible. Which is where our trouble started! Out nearest vet (who we were seeing) has recently decided (as there are quite a few rich people in the area, but don't count us it that!), to put their prices up by over 300%! A friend of ours had a dog which needed worming tablets & they asked £75 for one tablet! She eventually went to a shop that sells sells them and got two tablets for a fiver. So this latest vet came recommended, but obviously does not know as much as This Simon does. It would be very difficult for us to travel there (140 miles), but will keep it in mind as a last option.
Guinea pigs travel surprisingly well! It takes me about an hour to get to Simon Maddock if I take the train; 10 minutes less if my husband drives me. I have made that journey regularly, including with freshly operated piggies - and none of them have every come to any harm. ;)

I have also travelled repeatedly on the train with guinea pigs aged from 7 weeks to 9 years old for over 3 hours, and none of them have suffered. The 9 year old travelled all the way from the Channel Island as an emergency rescue with her friends in a several days journey and lived for several months in her new home in the Liverpool area.
By car, we have taken guinea pigs on daily meds with us to a holiday cottage that was an over 6 hours drive away from us. Both guinea pigs have lived for a number of years to the ripe old ages of 6 and 8 years respectively. I know from Australian and US friends that 8 or even 14 hour car journeys have been made and I also know of older piggies that have been successfully flown for thousands of miles.

If you follow the tips in our guide, your piggies should travel well. You will find that they sleep for the better part of the journey if they start off well hydrated and with a full belly.

The Cat&Rabbit does charge you depending on the time and materials used for the dental treatment (depending on how difficult it is to sort it), but they use as little GA as necessary for first treatment and ideally none for any follow up, but they do not charge silly prices compared to some vets - and you get good value for it. They do not use the usual vetergesic for anaesthetics, which means that their operated piggies usually do not struggle with post-op complications and come round extremely well. I have grown up with piggies in the olden days, and I fully know what a huge difference this makes!
 
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GuineaPigParent

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Thank you Wiebke, that's very reassuring. My partner is disabled and a wheelchair user, so it can take quite a while to get her ready. This would mean getting up at the crack of dawn to be there by midday for us. So it would be a very long day. We usually take both piggies with us, even if only one of them is being seen. Would you recommend we do that on such a long journey too? Or would it be better for him to just go alone, so that he can sleep when he wants?
 

Wiebke

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Thank you Wiebke, that's very reassuring. My partner is disabled and a wheelchair user, so it can take quite a while to get her ready. This would mean getting up at the crack of dawn to be there by midday for us. So it would be a very long day. We usually take both piggies with us, even if only one of them is being seen. Would you recommend we do that on such a long journey too? Or would it be better for him to just go alone, so that he can sleep when he wants?
Companionship is important especially on a long journey - having a mate to snuggle up with during the trip is the best anti-stress medication for a guinea pig! I am very sorry that it is going to be such a long journey and a very long day. But like so many people you will find that it is absolutely worth it!
 

GuineaPigParent

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Hello again all. We couldn't get to see Simon Maddock in the end, but many people I've spoken to locally about our vet (who also own piggies), swear by ours and say that she is very good with all small animals. She even went to the trouble of getting a special device in just for him! (To enable her to work more specifically on his tooth problems). His teeth have now been trimmed to perfection (so they say), but he is STILL losing weight. In fact this is more of a desperate and possibly last question. For most of the past week, we had been able to keep his weight around the 700 grams mark. One day he even ate enough so that we didn't have to syringe feed him at all and that's the second time that's happened! Only now, he has dropped dramatically. Last night (Fri.) he was down to 688 grams, (from a starting weight of around 650 grams each morning). Today, he was 644 grams at breakfast time and although he seemed to eat quite a bit of Critical Care, his weight isn't improving at all, last night he dropped weight after a syringe feed, rather than putting it on and tonight, when I started to feed him, he was 655 grams and after taking 15ml in a syringe (weighing about 20 grams, with the syringe's 8g. weight deducted from 28 grams), he was 651 g! How is this possible? Also, after trying him on some more solid foods that he loved before (red pepper, basil, spinach etc.) he dropped even further to only 643 grams. So one gram less than at the start of day. In his indoor cage (after he had gone back out to his brother in their hutch), there are three large puddles of brown water, he is passing normal, healthy looking stools, but this is something different. My partner was thinking kidney problems? But I'm not sure. Where is all this water coming from and why isn't he putting on any weight? I know water weight could make up some of what he has lost, but he is still very lively for some of the time and other times he sits huddled up in the corner. If anyone can throw some light on this, I would be very grateful. Thank you.
 

Wiebke

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Hello again all. We couldn't get to see Simon Maddock in the end, but many people I've spoken to locally about our vet (who also own piggies), swear by ours and say that she is very good with all small animals. She even went to the trouble of getting a special device in just for him! (To enable her to work more specifically on his tooth problems). His teeth have now been trimmed to perfection (so they say), but he is STILL losing weight. In fact this is more of a desperate and possibly last question. For most of the past week, we had been able to keep his weight around the 700 grams mark. One day he even ate enough so that we didn't have to syringe feed him at all and that's the second time that's happened! Only now, he has dropped dramatically. Last night (Fri.) he was down to 688 grams, (from a starting weight of around 650 grams each morning). Today, he was 644 grams at breakfast time and although he seemed to eat quite a bit of Critical Care, his weight isn't improving at all, last night he dropped weight after a syringe feed, rather than putting it on and tonight, when I started to feed him, he was 655 grams and after taking 15ml in a syringe (weighing about 20 grams, with the syringe's 8g. weight deducted from 28 grams), he was 651 g! How is this possible? Also, after trying him on some more solid foods that he loved before (red pepper, basil, spinach etc.) he dropped even further to only 643 grams. So one gram less than at the start of day. In his indoor cage (after he had gone back out to his brother in their hutch), there are three large puddles of brown water, he is passing normal, healthy looking stools, but this is something different. My partner was thinking kidney problems? But I'm not sure. Where is all this water coming from and why isn't he putting on any weight? I know water weight could make up some of what he has lost, but he is still very lively for some of the time and other times he sits huddled up in the corner. If anyone can throw some light on this, I would be very grateful. Thank you.
Have you contacted your vet again?

How much syringe feed have you been getting in into him in 24 hours? The conversion is not quite straight in gram for gram; guinea pigs need to eat more feed than they will put on in weigh, as they extract nutrients from their feed, but discard a lot of it in the form of poos. ;)

40ml for instant is just enough energy to keep the guts from closing down, but it doesn't mean that your guinea pig is not continously losing weight on what is basically a starvation diet. A guinea pig in its prime will eat the equivalent of 120 ml of syringe feed in a day; older piggies with a slower metabolism will need less to keep their weight. Please also be aware that veg is only making about 10% of the daily food intake; 80% of of the daily feed come from unlimited hay (or your syringe feed)!
Please read our syringe feeding guide! Complete Syringe Feeding Guide
 
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