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Is this blockage behavior?

GuineaInTX

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Hello everyone,

I have a 5 1/2 year old guinea pig. He just got over a URI infection on Sunday after the vet prescribed Baytril and doxycycline. I would give him his probiotic one hour after his medication, which he received twice a day. As of Sunday, sneezing, crusty eyes, wheezing, and watery lungs are gone! The vet checked him Wednesday and she said he is good to go and no longer needs antibiotics. Yesterday (Thursday) his appetite decreased and he started exhibiting signs of pica. He is eating bedding, paper towel tubes, tries eating my jacket, his cage, the towel he is cuddled in, etc. I had to remove some toys and his bed because he was actually ingesting this stuff! He has never behaved like this before.

Today his appetite decreased even more, he is drinking less water than he normally does, and his poops are smaller. He is still alert and can run around the house normally and doesn't look bloated, but I could be wrong because he is the first guinea pig I've ever had so I do not know what bloat looks like. He does not whimper in pain and still runs up for the "fuzzies" from his timothy hay. He also stopped eating his favorite food ever, carrots :( The vet said this is probably due to stress and to not handle him for a few days and she checked his teeth and they are fine. He runs into his hideaway if he gets annoyed by me trying to feed him vegetables he used to like, and will stay in the hideaway for hours until he comes out for water. This is all very odd behavior and advice would be appreciated.
 

Wiebke

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Hello everyone,

I have a 5 1/2 year old guinea pig. He just got over a URI infection on Sunday after the vet prescribed Baytril and doxycycline. I would give him his probiotic one hour after his medication, which he received twice a day. As of Sunday, sneezing, crusty eyes, wheezing, and watery lungs are gone! The vet checked him Wednesday and she said he is good to go and no longer needs antibiotics. Yesterday (Thursday) his appetite decreased and he started exhibiting signs of pica. He is eating bedding, paper towel tubes, tries eating my jacket, his cage, the towel he is cuddled in, etc. I had to remove some toys and his bed because he was actually ingesting this stuff! He has never behaved like this before.

Today his appetite decreased even more, he is drinking less water than he normally does, and his poops are smaller. He is still alert and can run around the house normally and doesn't look bloated, but I could be wrong because he is the first guinea pig I've ever had so I do not know what bloat looks like. He does not whimper in pain and still runs up for the "fuzzies" from his timothy hay. He also stopped eating his favorite food ever, carrots :( The vet said this is probably due to stress and to not handle him for a few days and she checked his teeth and they are fine. He runs into his hideaway if he gets annoyed by me trying to feed him vegetables he used to like, and will stay in the hideaway for hours until he comes out for water. This is all very odd behavior and advice would be appreciated.

Hi and welcome!

Please step in with syringe feeding support asap! Be aware that around 80% of the daily food intake is hay and that veg shouls only make around 15% - the equivalent of a human afternoon snack. You can use mushed up pellets in a pinch (cut off the syringe tip just before it widens to allow fibre to pass through but still hold the plunger in) until timothy based recovery formula arrives. Fine grind usually goes down better. Monitor the weight daily instead of weekly; the poo output is running a day or two behind. Adjust the level of support feeding accordingly.
You need to feed fibre and water the more often the less your piggy is eating and drinking in a feeding session - round the clock. Your home support care is as crucial as any medical care to keep the gut going and your piggy alive through any crisis. You are ideally aiming at a minimum of 60 ml in 24 hours but the closer you can come to 40 ml for the bare survival minimum, the better.

The need to breathe comes before the need to drink and only thirdly the need the to eat. This means that a serious respiratory infection leads to loss of appetite and thirst. Both baytril and doxycycline are known for being the antibiotics most likely to knock out the crucial gut microbiome, too; so that is a double whammy for your piggy to deal with. If you have a healthy companion (considering that guinea pigs are group animals and not wired to live alone), then correctly prepared 'poo soup' (i.e. live healthy microbiome transfer) is the most effective gut support. Otherwise a probiotic powder given either 1 hour before (US recommendation) or 2 hours after the antibiotic (UK recommendation) may help; there is nothing between the two methods.

Please take the time to read our emergency and syringe feeding support guides. They have been specially written for owners that have never had to do this before and show you in easy to follow step-by-step detail and pictures all the tricky bits that are too much to discuss in every post we answer. But they are key to getting your little piggy through his!
Emergency, Crisis and Bridging Care until a Vet Appointment
Not Eating, Weight Loss And The Importance Of Syringe Feeding Fibre
Complete Syringe Feeding Guide
Probiotics, Recovery Foods And Vitamin C: Overview With Product Links
Weight - Monitoring and Management

All the best!
 

Freela

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Definitely supplement him if he is not eating well. The pica could be linked to the antibiotics, some guinea pigs react to Baytril this way because it can cause gut upset, they will try to eat anything and everything! Hadley, the pig in my avatar picture, tried to eat my drywall, furniture, carpeting, and her sister's fur compulsively the last time she was on Baytril. The probiotic can help but may not rule it out completely. I'm wondering if the antibiotics are throwing off his gut and, conversely, if he worsened again shortly after stopping them, they may have been stopped too soon. Definitely supplement him and call the vet!
 

GuineaInTX

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Hi and welcome!

Please step in with syringe feeding support asap! Be aware that around 80% of the daily food intake is hay and that veg shouls only make around 15% - the equivalent of a human afternoon snack. You can use mushed up pellets in a pinch (cut off the syringe tip just before it widens to allow fibre to pass through but still hold the plunger in) until timothy based recovery formula arrives. Fine grind usually goes down better. Monitor the weight daily instead of weekly; the poo output is running a day or two behind. Adjust the level of support feeding accordingly.
You need to feed fibre and water the more often the less your piggy is eating and drinking in a feeding session - round the clock. Your home support care is as crucial as any medical care to keep the gut going and your piggy alive through any crisis. You are ideally aiming at a minimum of 60 ml in 24 hours but the closer you can come to 40 ml for the bare survival minimum, the better.

The need to breathe comes before the need to drink and only thirdly the need the to eat. This means that a serious respiratory infection leads to loss of appetite and thirst. Both baytril and doxycycline are known for being the antibiotics most likely to knock out the crucial gut microbiome, too; so that is a double whammy for your piggy to deal with. If you have a healthy companion (considering that guinea pigs are group animals and not wired to live alone), then correctly prepared 'poo soup' (i.e. live healthy microbiome transfer) is the most effective gut support. Otherwise a probiotic powder given either 1 hour before (US recommendation) or 2 hours after the antibiotic (UK recommendation) may help; there is nothing between the two methods.

Please take the time to read our emergency and syringe feeding support guides. They have been specially written for owners that have never had to do this before and show you in easy to follow step-by-step detail and pictures all the tricky bits that are too much to discuss in every post we answer. But they are key to getting your little piggy through his!
Emergency, Crisis and Bridging Care until a Vet Appointment
Not Eating, Weight Loss And The Importance Of Syringe Feeding Fibre
Complete Syringe Feeding Guide
Probiotics, Recovery Foods And Vitamin C: Overview With Product Links
Weight - Monitoring and Management

All the best!

Thank you for the response! I am definitely supplementing and making sure he is continuing to drink water.
 

GuineaInTX

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Definitely supplement him if he is not eating well. The pica could be linked to the antibiotics, some guinea pigs react to Baytril this way because it can cause gut upset, they will try to eat anything and everything! Hadley, the pig in my avatar picture, tried to eat my drywall, furniture, carpeting, and her sister's fur compulsively the last time she was on Baytril. The probiotic can help but may not rule it out completely. I'm wondering if the antibiotics are throwing off his gut and, conversely, if he worsened again shortly after stopping them, they may have been stopped too soon. Definitely supplement him and call the vet!

This sounds exactly like my pig! When/how did Hadley stop eating everything?
 

GuineaInTX

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Update:
His appetite has slightly increased and he is drinking on his own more! Also, his paper cravings are going down and he is nibbling on more hay. However, his poop looks like beads on a string and is still small, and there was one poop that was diarrhea that had a white mucous on it early in the morning. He is a bright and active pig, so the vet said to continue monitoring and supplementing and see if he improves.
 

Wiebke

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Update:
His appetite has slightly increased and he is drinking on his own more! Also, his paper cravings are going down and he is nibbling on more hay. However, his poop looks like beads on a string and is still small, and there was one poop that was diarrhea that had a white mucous on it early in the morning. He is a bright and active pig, so the vet said to continue monitoring and supplementing and see if he improves.

Poo output runs 1-2 day behind input; it doesn't give you the up to date information that only weighing can give you. Continue to try and get as much fibre (preferably hay fibre) into him with either recovery formula or mushed up pellets. Your syringe feeding support during a crisis and a recovery can make all the difference. It is the 80% hay in a piggy's daily diet that are not only responsible for keeping the crucial back teeth ground down but also the digestive process on an even keel. The more fibre you can get into him, the quicker he will recover.
 

Freela

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This sounds exactly like my pig! When/how did Hadley stop eating everything?
It took a few days after the antibiotics were stopped, maybe up to a week or so. Fortunately she never stopped eating her food, she just began eating everything else! It was really unusual behavior for her, only when she was on Baytril.
 

GuineaInTX

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Update: he's drinking a lot more water and nibbling on hay. I force supplemented him mushed pellets and he has not pooped at all today. Energy levels are still high. He is seeing the vet Wednesday. What should I do in the meantime to try and get him to poop?
 

Piggies&buns

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Update: he's drinking a lot more water and nibbling on hay. I force supplemented him mushed pellets and he has not pooped at all today. Energy levels are still high. He is seeing the vet Wednesday. What should I do in the meantime to try and get him to poop?

keep syringe feeding. No poop means not enough food going in.
are you weighing him daily? monitoring the weight is the only way to know enough food is going in
 

GuineaInTX

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keep syringe feeding. No poop means not enough food going in.
are you weighing him daily? monitoring the weight is the only way to know enough food is going in
Yes, he gets weighed every morning. He hasn't lost weight since Friday, but the lack of poop is worrying. Continuing to syringe feed.
 

Siikibam

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You have to remember that poo output is 1-2 days behind. So if he eats well (enough) tomorrow then it would be evident Wednesday-Thursday.
 

GuineaInTX

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Hello everyone,

I want to share my guinea pig's experience with an upper respiratory infection and what helped him heal.

I noticed he had a URI when there was labored breathing, a runny nose, and a crackling/clicking sound when he inhaled. His energy levels were great and he was acting normal, but I knew something was off so I took him to the vet and was prescribed Baytril (0.3ml) and doxycycline (0.2ml) twice a day for four days since his infection was minor. I had to force feed him his medication and probiotic (which was regular acidophilus crushed and mixed with water since the probiotic for guinea pigs was sold out and wouldn't arrive in time), but other than that he was a good patient and continued to have a normal appetite.
After his last dosage, his appetite and water intake decreased and he became mopey and had a new interest in eating anything other than food. Concerned, I brought him to the vet again and she said it was pica due to the stress of being handled twice a day and force fed medications. Two days went by and he ate lots of bedding and paper and anything else he could get his mouth on, but refused hay. He was losing weight daily so I syringe fed him crushed pellets multiple times a day. He was still active but would pant and puff up in a corner when he was not moving around and would have water only when I would bring the bottle to his mouth. There was barely any poop output and even then it would look misshapen and small. One day he didn't poop for the whole day, so I gave him Little Remedies Gas Relief Drops simethicone/antigas (0.15ml) two nights in a row and a tummy rub 30 minutes after the dosage. He began to poop again and only ate pellets. The next day he drank water on his own. The following days he was on a strict hay and pellet diet and eventually returned to his normal self. This is not medical advice (please visit your vet when your pig is sick!) but I wanted to share and encourage people that guinea pigs are stronger than they look and to not give up hope on your sick piggie!
 

Siikibam

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Hello everyone,

I want to share my guinea pig's experience with an upper respiratory infection and what helped him heal.

I noticed he had a URI when there was labored breathing, a runny nose, and a crackling/clicking sound when he inhaled. His energy levels were great and he was acting normal, but I knew something was off so I took him to the vet and was prescribed Baytril (0.3ml) and doxycycline (0.2ml) twice a day for four days since his infection was minor. I had to force feed him his medication and probiotic (which was regular acidophilus crushed and mixed with water since the probiotic for guinea pigs was sold out and wouldn't arrive in time), but other than that he was a good patient and continued to have a normal appetite.
After his last dosage, his appetite and water intake decreased and he became mopey and had a new interest in eating anything other than food. Concerned, I brought him to the vet again and she said it was pica due to the stress of being handled twice a day and force fed medications. Two days went by and he ate lots of bedding and paper and anything else he could get his mouth on, but refused hay. He was losing weight daily so I syringe fed him crushed pellets multiple times a day. He was still active but would pant and puff up in a corner when he was not moving around and would have water only when I would bring the bottle to his mouth. There was barely any poop output and even then it would look misshapen and small. One day he didn't poop for the whole day, so I gave him Little Remedies Gas Relief Drops simethicone/antigas (0.15ml) two nights in a row and a tummy rub 30 minutes after the dosage. He began to poop again and only ate pellets. The next day he drank water on his own. The following days he was on a strict hay and pellet diet and eventually returned to his normal self. This is not medical advice (please visit your vet when your pig is sick!) but I wanted to share and encourage people that guinea pigs are stronger than they look and to not give up hope on your sick piggie!
We don’t recommend simethicone use in piggies. It gathers gas into one bubble which can be very painful and difficult/impossible for them to pass.
 

GuineaInTX

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Hello again all,

I spoke too soon in my earlier post. My guinea pig has the clicking/light wheeze than can only be heard when you put your ear up to his nose. He also seems to be slightly bobbing his head with every heartbeat and sometimes has these hiccup like stomach heaves, almost like a chest spasm for a second. Also, his wheeking is softer, he feels squishy, and when he purrs it sounds muffled. My guess is he has fluid in his lungs. Based on other posts I've been reading on here, it sounds more like a heart condition. Other than those symptoms, he is very active, bright eyed, and has a great appetite. Does anyone have any tips on how to treat this/what medication I should ask the vet for?
 

Siikibam

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You’re best off taking him to the vet. Once they’ve checked then over then you can decide with them how to proceed. The members are experienced rather than qualified vets, and hands-on is the best way to go. Hope you get some answers soon.
 

GuineaInTX

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Hi everyone, hope you are well. My guinea pig is doing much better minus the continuous pica. He first started eating his paper bedding when he was put on antibiotics 6 weeks ago. He finished his antibiotic course 4 weeks ago and continues to eat bedding. His appetite is fine and he is still pooping, although it is a little darker and softer than how it used to be before antibiotics. I am still giving him his probiotics. When I put fleece in as bedding, he starts to eat that, too, so I figured it was safer to stick with paper bedding. Are there other bedding sources that won't aggravate his respiratory system but are safe to consume? Or has anyone found a way to stop their pig from eating bedding?
 

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I would use deep hay as bedding and a layer of newspaper underneath, then he can eat as much as he wants x
 

GuineaInTX

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I would use deep hay as bedding and a layer of newspaper underneath, then he can eat as much as he wants x
Great idea, I am trying that this week! So far the only drawback is his urine isn't being soaked up well by the liner (which he does not chew) so there is an odor by his cage.
 

Piggies&buns

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Great idea, I am trying that this week! So far the only drawback is his urine isn't being soaked up well by the liner (which he does not chew) so there is an odor by his cage.

my piggies are fully bedded on hay - they live in a hutch in my shed so a thick layer of hay is essential for them - but you have to go through the hay and remove any wet areas daily, I then go right down to the substrate (which my case is either newspaper or aubiose depending on whether I can get hold of aubiose!) and remove the wettest areas of newspaper every couple of days (Not a full cage clean, just any completely sodden areas of newspaper, leaving the rest of it in the cage until full cage clean day)
 
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