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Guinea pig not eating hay after bladder stone surgery

CarrieC

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Hello!

My 4-year old guinea pig, Oswald, had surgery to remove a large bladder stone last Monday (20th July 2020). For the first few days after surgery I had to syringe feed him and his poos were very small. He is now brighter and moving about a bit more (not hunched in the corner as much). I am still struggling to get him to eat hay or grass. He will now eat his veg although is *very* picky and will eat his pellets. His poos are going back to normal but I am concerned he is not eating his hay or grass (he always loved grass) and I will often go in the room and he is sat looking pained and miserable despite being on metacam.

I am wondering if I need to take him back to the vets or if this is just to be expected after a major surgery? The vet did say his bladder was inflamed from the size of the stone. Any advice from people who have had pigs who had this surgery appreciated.
 

Piggies&buns

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Are you still syringe feeding him in place of the hay he is not eating? (eating veg and pellets isn’t enough)
I would definitely say to go back to the vet if he still isn’t right.
 

Wiebke

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Hello!

My 4-year old guinea pig, Oswald, had surgery to remove a large bladder stone last Monday (20th July 2020). For the first few days after surgery I had to syringe feed him and his poos were very small. He is now brighter and moving about a bit more (not hunched in the corner as much). I am still struggling to get him to eat hay or grass. He will now eat his veg although is *very* picky and will eat his pellets. His poos are going back to normal but I am concerned he is not eating his hay or grass (he always loved grass) and I will often go in the room and he is sat looking pained and miserable despite being on metacam.

I am wondering if I need to take him back to the vets or if this is just to be expected after a major surgery? The vet did say his bladder was inflamed from the size of the stone. Any advice from people who have had pigs who had this surgery appreciated.
Hi!

Please contact your vets again. Bladder trauma can make for miserable time until the bladder starts healing.
How much metacam is he on and what strength (cat or dog)? He may need a higher dosage than general vets would prescribe as they tend to work down from cats which are not as tolerant of high dosages and have a much slower metabolism.

Please keep on feeding and weighing daily to judge the amount of support feed your boy needs to firstly stabilise the weight. It is a good sign that the poos are normalising but they only tell you what has happened 1-2 days before (depending on how well the gut is working), not what is going on now. For that you need to borrow your kitchen scales.
Weight - Monitoring and Management
How To Pick Up And Weigh Your Guinea Pig Safely

I would also strongly advise you to start giving glucosamine to support the beleaguered natural glucosamine coating of the walls of urinary tract which prevents the corrosive urine coming into contact with tissue. it is not an instant quick fix but it will help to ease symptoms and contribute to long term comfort to allow the bladder eventually relax a bit more although from my own experience it will always remain rather tight. We recommend mixing the contents of one capsule of feliway cystease (UK brand) with 2 ml of water until the powder is absorbed, then shake again before use and syringe 1 ml every 12 hours. In the first week you can even go as high as syringing the the full capsule in one go.

You may also want to have a look at our urinary tract diet information for the longer term.
Long Term Balanced General And Special Needs Guinea Pig Diets
 

CarrieC

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Thanks both for your comments. I had stopped syringe feeding but I will start up again and contact my vets. Initially, he seemed to enjoy syringe feeding but as he was starting to eat more on his own he started rejected it, so I stopped to see if he started eating hay on his own too. He's on 0.35 metacam (cat) two times a day. The vets were reluctant to give me more when requested but I can see he is still in pain.

This is my first pig with bladder stones (no idea what caused them, all my pigs eat the same thing) so it's a bit of a learning curve! Thanks for mentioning about glucosamine.

I've put him back in with his friend (Edward) but am wondering if I should separate them again so I can monitor Oswald more closely. I hoped he was improving and wanted to put them back together.
 

Wiebke

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Thanks both for your comments. I had stopped syringe feeding but I will start up again and contact my vets. Initially, he seemed to enjoy syringe feeding but as he was starting to eat more on his own he started rejected it, so I stopped to see if he started eating hay on his own too. He's on 0.35 metacam (cat) two times a day. The vets were reluctant to give me more when requested but I can see he is still in pain.

This is my first pig with bladder stones (no idea what caused them, all my pigs eat the same thing) so it's a bit of a learning curve! Thanks for mentioning about glucosamine.

I've put him back in with his friend (Edward) but am wondering if I should separate them again so I can monitor Oswald more closely. I hoped he was improving and wanted to put them back together.
You can safely give up to 1.2 ml of cat metacam (0.4 ml of dog metacam) twice daily to a very ill 1 kg piggy. The normal dosage prescribed by exotics vets for piggies with urinary tract problems is around 0.75 ml of cat metacam (0.25 ml dog metacam) twice daily.

Please do not separate your boys again; companionship is important during recovery! keep on syringe feeding for as long as needed. Recovery takes its own time depending on how badly the body has been impacted.

Since Oswald is deteriorating, I would strongly recommend to contact the vet clinic.
Tips For Post-operative Care
 

Piggies&buns

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Thanks both for your comments. I had stopped syringe feeding but I will start up again and contact my vets. Initially, he seemed to enjoy syringe feeding but as he was starting to eat more on his own he started rejected it, so I stopped to see if he started eating hay on his own too. He's on 0.35 metacam (cat) two times a day. The vets were reluctant to give me more when requested but I can see he is still in pain.

This is my first pig with bladder stones (no idea what caused them, all my pigs eat the same thing) so it's a bit of a learning curve! Thanks for mentioning about glucosamine.

I've put him back in with his friend (Edward) but am wondering if I should separate them again so I can monitor Oswald more closely. I hoped he was improving and wanted to put them back together.
If you can see he is in pain then do talk to the vet again. Your piggy can have more cat metacam than he is being given but it’s down to a vet to prescribe.

Weigh him daily to ensure he is getting enough hay and/or syringe feeds.

What is his diet like? Pellets and unfiltered drinking water contribute a lot of calcium to the diet and this can be the cause of stones. Pellets need to be kept strictly limited to one tablespoon per day. Low calcium pellets contain more calcium than the highest calcium veg so while keeping high calcium veg limited is a good idea, it’s also very important not to overdo pellets. Ensure the diet is 80% hay, 15% veg (about 50g per day) and 5% pellets which is one tablespoon.
Now he has had a bladder issue, do take a look at his diet and see if there is anywhere you can make changes

This guide gives ideas on feeding bladder piggies Long Term Balanced General And Special Needs Guinea Pig Diets
 

CarrieC

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Hi all,

Apologies for the delay in getting back to you. Sadly, Oswald passed away yesterday. We took him back to the vets however he had deteriorated and was having diarrhea and had lost a lot of weight, despite syringe feeding (which I was having to force him to have). I think it was all too much for his little body. The vet did give him fluids and we tried to save him but when he got home he was in an even worse state and could not stand up. He was then gasping for breath and passed away on his favourite cushion next to his friend, Edward. I've had guinea pigs for many years but it never gets easier when they are unwell and I'm always wracked with guilt wondering if I could have done things differently. I think he had pneumonia and the surgery really took its toll on his body.

My aim now is to try and prevent any of my current pigs developing these horrible bladder stones and I want to thank you for the guides on this forum; they are incredibly useful. I have certainly being giving too many pellets, which I have now reduced for the other pigs. I will also buy a water filter.

Thankfully, his friend is still eating and going about his piggy business.
 

Piggies&buns

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I am so sorry to hear that.
You could post a tribute to him in the Rainbow Bridge section when you are ready
Sleep tight Oswald.
 

Ali_x

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I’m sorry for your loss, I was just reading this to see if anyone has been in a similar situation to me... my 1 year old piggy has lost his appetite over the past 3 weeks, he’s been to the vets, had X rays and bloods; they’ve put it down to dental and jaw pain, since he’s been home he’s been back to the vets twice but each time there’s no improvement

They’ve said to continue Metacam, he’s on the same dose as your Oswald and he’s still not improving and getting worse... despite the syringe feeding, I’m not syringe feeding him nearly the same amount as recommended, as like Oswald, he’s rejecting it and showing signs that his body just doesn’t want it now, I fear he is going to pass away... he’s not in pain, his comfortable, he’s with his brother.. I don’t want to take him back to the vet now to poke and prod him when it’s not going to make any difference... did you know it was going to be the end with Oswald and did you still try to syringe feed him up until the end? I just don’t know what’s the kindest thing for him, I’ve never lost a guinea pig so young 💔 heartbreaking

Sorry for your loss, I just wanted to hear what advice you had as you went through something similar recently

Xx
 
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