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How To Tell If A Guinea Pig Has Bloat, And What To Do?

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Natasha Harmer

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Hi
So I've rescued two piggies recently and one of them is a lot rounder than the other. We took her to the vets a couple of weeks ago because she seemed in pain and she was put on antibiotics because the vet suspected an infection which may have caused bloating ( I must admit the vet didn't seem to really know anything about guinea pigs, so I'm not 100% sure about her diagnosis) but when we went back a week later she was satisfied that Margo's stomach was better.
Margo eats a LOT, she eats a lot of hay and we give them romaine lettuce as well as carrot, cucumber and occasionally a bit of spinach and pepper. She loves her food and she squeaks all the time...the other day I opened a packet of crisps and she started wheeking because she thought I was rustling her lettuce!
She poos normally and hasn't lost her appetite, aside from having a very rounded belly there doesn't seem to be anything else wrong with her.
Should I be concerned? The only sign that there's something wrong is that her belly is really rounded and quite firm. She doesn't appear in pain at the moment and she hasn't lost her appetite.
I keep reading about bloat and how it can be life threatening, so I don't want to take any risks but I'm just not sure whether it's anything to be concerned about, maybe I'm just being paranoid!
Thanks :)
 

Wiebke

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Hi
So I've rescued two piggies recently and one of them is a lot rounder than the other. We took her to the vets a couple of weeks ago because she seemed in pain and she was put on antibiotics because the vet suspected an infection which may have caused bloating ( I must admit the vet didn't seem to really know anything about guinea pigs, so I'm not 100% sure about her diagnosis) but when we went back a week later she was satisfied that Margo's stomach was better.
Margo eats a LOT, she eats a lot of hay and we give them romaine lettuce as well as carrot, cucumber and occasionally a bit of spinach and pepper. She loves her food and she squeaks all the time...the other day I opened a packet of crisps and she started wheeking because she thought I was rustling her lettuce!
She poos normally and hasn't lost her appetite, aside from having a very rounded belly there doesn't seem to be anything else wrong with her.
Should I be concerned? The only sign that there's something wrong is that her belly is really rounded and quite firm. She doesn't appear in pain at the moment and she hasn't lost her appetite.
I keep reading about bloat and how it can be life threatening, so I don't want to take any risks but I'm just not sure whether it's anything to be concerned about, maybe I'm just being paranoid!
Thanks :)
Hi and welcome!

Can you please add your country, state/province or county to your details, so we can tailor any advice to what is available and possible where you are. We have members from all over the world, with very different access to knowledgeable vet care and rescues, different medical and food brands, as well as climate etc. Click on your username on the top bar, then go to personal details and scroll down to location. Thank you!
We have a piggy savvy UK vet locator on the top bar, but can provide a link to recommended vets in other countries if wished.

How old are your girls roughly and how long have they been with you? Have they have had access to a boar before they came to you?
Especially adult sows can have very different shapes at the bum end, some much more so than others.

Bloating is noticeable by a very hard, tight belly and a blown up appearance. When you gently knock against the tummy, it sounds hollow. Acute bloating is very uncomfortable/painful and is usually accompanied by loss of appetite and other signs of not being well.
If you suspect bloat, always take your piggy off any fresh food that could contribute to further build-up of gas in the belly.
However, it doesn't sound like acute bloat to me.

Please be aware that 80% of the daily food intake should be unlimited hay, 10-15% fresh veg and only 5-10% good quality pellets (no dry mix/muesli). A balanced diet will hopefully help your two girls.
You may find these threads here helpful in terms of diet and greedy eating/overweight:
Recommendations For A Balanced General Guinea Pig Diet
The Importance Of Weighing - Ideal Weight / Overweight / Underweight
 

Natasha Harmer

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Hi and welcome!

Can you please add your country, state/province or county to your details, so we can tailor any advice to what is available and possible where you are. We have members from all over the world, with very different access to knowledgeable vet care and rescues, different medical and food brands, as well as climate etc. Click on your username on the top bar, then go to personal details and scroll down to location. Thank you!
We have a piggy savvy UK vet locator on the top bar, but can provide a link to recommended vets in other countries if wished.

How old are your girls roughly and how long have they been with you? Have they have had access to a boar before they came to you?
Especially adult sows can have very different shapes at the bum end, some much more so than others.

Bloating is noticeable by a very hard, tight belly and a blown up appearance. When you gently knock against the tummy, it sounds hollow. Acute bloating is very uncomfortable/painful and is usually accompanied by loss of appetite and other signs of not being well.
If you suspect bloat, always take your piggy off any fresh food that could contribute to further build-up of gas in the belly.
However, it doesn't sound like acute bloat to me.

Please be aware that 80% of the daily food intake should be unlimited hay, 10-15% fresh veg and only 5-10% good quality pellets (no dry mix/muesli). A balanced diet will hopefully help your two girls.
You may find these threads here helpful in terms of diet and greedy eating/overweight:
Recommendations For A Balanced General Guinea Pig Diet
The Importance Of Weighing - Ideal Weight / Overweight / Underweight
Hi
I'm in the UK...I've updated my profile.
I'm not sure exactly how old the piggies are, we were told 6 - 9 months when we adopted them and we've had them just over a month. I wouldn't know if they had access to a boar unfortunately, there was little info on their previous home however in the store where they were up for adoption they were kept separate from other piggies, they'd only been there a few days before we adopted them.
Pregnancy did cross my mind, but when we took them to the vets the vet did thoroughly feel her belly so I imagine she would've felt the babies if she was pregnant?
They both have a balanced diet, lots of hay, decent pellets and fresh veg although we have been prone to giving in when they squeak and therefore they end up eating quite a lot of lettuce throughout the day! The one with the bigger belly does eat considerably more than her sister! Hopefully it is just that she's greedy and we need to be stricter with their food

Thanks for your help
 

Wiebke

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Hi
I'm in the UK...I've updated my profile.
I'm not sure exactly how old the piggies are, we were told 6 - 9 months when we adopted them and we've had them just over a month. I wouldn't know if they had access to a boar unfortunately, there was little info on their previous home however in the store where they were up for adoption they were kept separate from other piggies, they'd only been there a few days before we adopted them.
Pregnancy did cross my mind, but when we took them to the vets the vet did thoroughly feel her belly so I imagine she would've felt the babies if she was pregnant?
They both have a balanced diet, lots of hay, decent pellets and fresh veg although we have been prone to giving in when they squeak and therefore they end up eating quite a lot of lettuce throughout the day! The one with the bigger belly does eat considerably more than her sister! Hopefully it is just that she's greedy and we need to be stricter with their food

Thanks for your help
We have had cases were impending babies have been mistaken for bloat by a vet. I would however be very unhappy with a vet pressing the belly of a potentially pregnant sow! A pregnancy lasts around 10 weeks, but you can see signs only during the last 3 weeks. Please open a thread in our pregnancy section and have a read through our guides at the top of the section.

Many sows develop their adult pear-shaped figure around 6-10 months of age once the quick growth is over. This is about the age of your two girls.
 

Natasha Harmer

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Oh dear :/ the vet we went to see didn't seem to know what she was doing, she squished her belly quite hard (she squeaked in pain at one point) we had her check if they definitely were both female just to be sure, and she checked and said 'I think they're both female but I'm not an expert'...not what you want to hear from a vet! I think we'll be looking for a new vet when we have to take them in again.
One piggy is very pear shaped (the one with the rounded belly) while the other is still very slim, but they're both the same age.
thanks for your help
 

lucie

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the above advice is great:) It could be possible she is pregnant.. especially if she is eating more. Sounds like the vet doesn't really know a lot about guinea pigs either. And I know what you mean about them wheeking at every rustling bag, mine do that, very cute and hard to resist! :) Hope she is well.
 
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