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Not Eating As Much Hay Beginning 5/7

ashleemelda

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On Thursday, May 7, I opened a fresh new bag of hay (I use Oxbow's Timothy Hay/Orchard Grass Blend). Neither of my guinea pigs seemed that interested and preferred instead to eat what was left of their old bag; hay that was arguably less fresh and getting stale. But even then, they did not eat as much hay as is typical for them (usually I am refilling their hay racks three times a day - 7:30am, 3pm, and 8pm) and now they can go a whole day without needing so much as a handful refilled.

I checked their teeth and they are not broken nor too long, but I also would find it hard to believe it could be a teeth problem as this is affecting both my guinea pigs equally and started on the exact same day.

I am starting to get quite worried, especially because for the past two days, one of my girls is not eating as much pellet food as usual either (they are still eating their daily vegetables with just as much eagerness as before, though). They are also not pooping a lot due to lack of hay intake, and what little they do go, it's dry immediately upon being dropped.

I have been staying in my room a lot more lately due to COVID-19 as other members of my household are needing the downstairs in order to work-from-home. Is it possible for guinea pigs to be shy about eating any, or as much, hay when people are around? Also, I have been going through a pretty severe depressive episode since Wednesday, and since realizing this lack of hay-eating, I have been crying and really stressing more than I already was for other reasons. Is it possible that they have been picking up on this and are not eating any, or as much, hay because they realize I am sad?

I also feel they might be experiencing a stronger-than-usual season. My one guinea pigs' genitalia is slightly swollen, which is usually an indicator of her being in-heat, but there has been a slight uptake in the amount of rumble-strutting and getting in each other's faces this time around as well. But I've never heard of them being in-heat correlating with a distaste for hay.

I'm really at a loss for what to do, especially since this is affecting both of them equally. I keep offering them their hay and having minimal success. The only vet that takes exotic and small animals within 100-miles (I live in a small town in Southwest Virginia) is temporarily closed due to a staff member testing positive for COVID-19. They are open for emergencies but that vet is allergic to guinea pigs, I found when I called yesterday to inquire about scheduling an appointment.

I appreciate any and all advice about what could be wrong and what I can possibly due going forward, especially as I face this standstill re: my vet. I am scared that I will soon start seeing weight loss beyond the 40g threshold for a full vs. empty bladder/stomach.
 

Swissgreys

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I have had the odd bag of hay that looks and feels fine to me but the piggies have been reluctant t eat.
Do you have another bag you could open and try?

The guinea pigs may also be picking up on how upset you are and adjusting to having you around more, which could contribute, but overall if they are well they should still be eating.
What is their cage set up like?
Do they have lots of places to hide in, and is their hay easily accessible in a covered location.
Some guinea pigs can be shy about eating in the open, so make sure they have at least once covered eating area too.
 
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