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How to encourage weight gain?

moodysuzy

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Our Edgar has had a hard 6 months with repeated bladder infections and trips to the vets (plus a GA and an x-ray).

he started off at 1385g, and dropped to around 1200g at the second infection and then dropped again to around 1050g at the third infection. He seems to stay at a stable weight in between infections, but obviously drops a lot when he’s ill.

he had a check up at the vets 2 weeks ago and got a clean bill of health, but since his last infection he’s off his pellets although still eating hay like a pro. His weight does seem to be holding steady at 1030g currently (we are weighing him daily).

ive started him on cystease to hopefully give his bladder a chance to recover. I’ve also been syringing him some critical care daily, but he just absolutely hates the process and I only get a few ml in him. I’m also aware that any weight he puts on through syringe feeding he probably won’t keep on once I stop.

ive tried mashing up pellets with some banana, but he won’t touch it, same with porridge oats 😂


I’ll probably take him back up to the vets either this week or next, but as he’s not actively losing weight I don’t want to him through unnecessary stress - he’s a very fussy and highly strung pig.

I thought about picking up some Timothy hay to supplement their usual meadow hay, would this help?

He also broke one of his lower incisors recently, although its grown back now, and I pulled a massive wad of hay and bedding out of his mouth last week that was stuck between his top incisors! Poor boy had a gap between his teeth for a few days before it went back to normal. I suspect this didn’t help his eating habits...
 

Piggies&buns

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Yes you could add in a different type of hay to encourage more consumption and add variety but adding weight back in is a much longer process.
Have you tried leaving a bowl of critical care in his cage?
 

moodysuzy

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Yes you could add in a different type of hay to encourage more consumption and add variety but adding weight back in is a much longer process.
Have you tried leaving a bowl of critical care in his cage?
i haven’t actually, his greedy cage mate absolutely loves the stuff so we’d have to keep an eye on him. I’ll give that a go though thanks, he’s almost like a toddler - knows when I’m trying to get him to eat and refusing 🤣
 

Sgboyd

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Try hand feeding critical care. Oatmeal and pea flakes help with weight gain too.
 

Eriathwen

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For the emaciated piggies I've taken in, I find probiotics really help with weight gain, they need good bacteria to help break down food to properly utilise the nutrients in it :) if he's been on antibiotics for his infections it would correlate with needing a bit of a boost in good gut flora. You can use poop from a healthy piggy to make a poop soup, there's also gel/paste probiotics like fibreplex and benebac, or pellets such as pro fibre for rabbits and burgess dual care (this pellet contains extra calories which also may help!) Or powders such as pro C or biolapis.

Oat hay or other cereal hays are excellent for weight gain, readigrass as well.
 

moodysuzy

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For the emaciated piggies I've taken in, I find probiotics really help with weight gain, they need good bacteria to help break down food to properly utilise the nutrients in it :) if he's been on antibiotics for his infections it would correlate with needing a bit of a boost in good gut flora. You can use poop from a healthy piggy to make a poop soup, there's also gel/paste probiotics like fibreplex and benebac, or pellets such as pro fibre for rabbits and burgess dual care (this pellet contains extra calories which also may help!) Or powders such as pro C or biolapis.

Oat hay or other cereal hays are excellent for weight gain, readigrass as well.
Thank you that’s all very useful, he’s had three lots of antibiotics to a probiotic is probably a good idea thanks!

We do have readigrass, and luckily he lives the stuff!
 

Siikibam

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@Eriathwen how much readigrass? Is it not high in calcium?
@Sgboyd i don’t know if pea flakes would be a good idea for weight gain. They’re supposed to be a treat and wouldn’t encourage the ‘right’ type of weight gain. Just a thought because I’m not entirely sure.

Hope he starts gaining it back, even slowly.
 

moodysuzy

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@Eriathwen how much readigrass? Is it not high in calcium?
@Sgboyd i don’t know if pea flakes would be a good idea for weight gain. They’re supposed to be a treat and wouldn’t encourage the ‘right’ type of weight gain. Just a thought because I’m not entirely sure.

Hope he starts gaining it back, even slowly.
I am careful with the amounts of readigrass they get as I also think I read somewhere that it’s high in calcium.

I'm keen for him to gain weight the ‘right’ way, can’t have him developing a sweet tooth 🙈
 

Eriathwen

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@Eriathwen how much readigrass? Is it not high in calcium?
@Sgboyd i don’t know if pea flakes would be a good idea for weight gain. They’re supposed to be a treat and wouldn’t encourage the ‘right’ type of weight gain. Just a thought because I’m not entirely sure.

Hope he starts gaining it back, even slowly.
I usually give half a handful to a small handfull a day, with some extra bell pepper, the readigrass calcium to phosphorus ratio is calcium heavy, whereas the pepper is phosphorus heavy and balances out the extra calcium, I find. Although calcium is required for rebuilding condition, its needed for muscle contraction and is helpful for muscle building when they've lost some weight :) I find it a less calcium dense than alfalfa which some people advise for sick piggies. I think its probably fine for nursing and babies, but sick piggies don't necessarily absorb calcium as well as those so I prefer readigrass for sick pigs, if that makes sense?

Although trying to perfectly balance anything in the diet using calcium to phosphorus ratio is almost impossible so its best not to get too hung up on making anything exact, but I do try to balance things out a little bit when offering something high in calcium.

I'm sorry if I'm rambling 🤣 ive not had an awful lot of sleep lol
 

Siikibam

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Ramble on! I enjoyed reading that, very informative.
 

moodysuzy

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@Eriathwen

I’ve got some pro-c for Edgar, I’d rather syringe it to him so I know how much he’s getting. Do you know what an appropriate dosage would be?

I can make it up to the concentration they suggest (1 scoop / 200ml water), but wasn’t sure how much of the solution I should try to get into him.

thanks for your help :)
 

Eriathwen

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I usually mix it as suggested and syringe about 5-10ml depending on how much they want to cooperate, twice a day. The rest I put in an extra water bottle and give them the option to drink it if they want :)
 

moodysuzy

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I usually mix it as suggested and syringe about 5-10ml depending on how much they want to cooperate, twice a day. The rest I put in an extra water bottle and give them the option to drink it if they want :)
Thank you! :D
 

DougalandDiego

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I have a piggy who has also suffered with bladder problems on and off for a while. He has been diagnosed with IC after ruling out stones etc. with xrays but he has been having cartrophen injections alongside cystease which *touch wood* have started to work. I didn’t notice a difference until the 4th injection (they have one weekly until the fourth then drop down to once a month or once every 6 weeks).

It’s an injection meant for dogs and cats with arthritis but because of its high glucosamine content it’s good for piggies with bladder problems and their inflamed bladder lining. It might be worth discussing with your vet if you feel he needs them alongside the cystease if it doesn’t do the trick.

Hope he manages to gain more weight for you!
 
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