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Older Pig Eating But Losing Weight?

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nilsthepiggie

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Hey, new to this forum!

First, let me say that my girl (Neels - weird name, I know) is 6 years old, thus why I was not concerned when she began to lose a little weight; everyone I talked to about it said that this is normal.

I have no way of weighing either of my girls, but I know that if I were to shave Neels' fur, she would practically be a skeleton in most places of her body. If I give her a little ear rub, I can feel her jaw bone. It's bad. She seemed to be doing a lot better during the summer when we let them munch on grass outside (no pesticides, very safe, don't worry) but then began to lose weight again, and I'm not sure what to do anymore aside from supervising their feeding and making sure she gets enough - even though my gaming chair is right beside their cage, and when she isn't inside her house, she's in front of the pellet dish. If anything, SHE steals food from Peaches, or tries to. When I put food in the cage she rears up on her legs and sniffs all over my hands like she's looking for something specific, almost desperately, and it breaks my heart because I don't know what to give her.

I do have another piggie as well (Peaches, 2), and the cage is quite small for two, or even one, but I have watched and like I said, if anything Neels is the one who hogs more of the food. However Peaches is quite chubby, even chubbier than Neels has been throughout her life, so I'm puzzled. I even put vitamin C drops in their water, and do the best that I can as I live at home (I'm 19) and have no way of paying for a vet or a bigger cage right now. There is no way I can take her to a vet at all, and I feel awful about that, but that is why I've come to this forum - in the hopes that somebody experienced can maybe give me an idea of what to do. She doesn't seem to be in pain, just hungry. I checked her teeth and they don't SEEM to long, but I'm not sure what to look for. (I should also say, I've tried to give them chewie things, but neither of them will touch them. They mostly chew on their houses).

I give them the best variety of veggies I can, and there has never been a problem with Neels her entire life until now. I clip their nails, give them clean water every other day, vitamin C drops, veggies, hay (when we can get it), and a constant supply of pellets. Their cage is very small, like I said, but they each have their own house. They don't fight over the pellets, or the water, or anything. They bicker a little bit, but it has never, ever been serious and it is mostly just Neels seeming annoyed that she runs into her, kind of like two sisters who have to share a room and bathroom 24/7.

I'm at a loss for what to do. Can anyone help?
 

Adelle

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Hey, new to this forum!

First, let me say that my girl (Neels - weird name, I know) is 6 years old, thus why I was not concerned when she began to lose a little weight; everyone I talked to about it said that this is normal.

I have no way of weighing either of my girls, but I know that if I were to shave Neels' fur, she would practically be a skeleton in most places of her body. If I give her a little ear rub, I can feel her jaw bone. It's bad. She seemed to be doing a lot better during the summer when we let them munch on grass outside (no pesticides, very safe, don't worry) but then began to lose weight again, and I'm not sure what to do anymore aside from supervising their feeding and making sure she gets enough - even though my gaming chair is right beside their cage, and when she isn't inside her house, she's in front of the pellet dish. If anything, SHE steals food from Peaches, or tries to. When I put food in the cage she rears up on her legs and sniffs all over my hands like she's looking for something specific, almost desperately, and it breaks my heart because I don't know what to give her.

I do have another piggie as well (Peaches, 2), and the cage is quite small for two, or even one, but I have watched and like I said, if anything Neels is the one who hogs more of the food. However Peaches is quite chubby, even chubbier than Neels has been throughout her life, so I'm puzzled. I even put vitamin C drops in their water, and do the best that I can as I live at home (I'm 19) and have no way of paying for a vet or a bigger cage right now. There is no way I can take her to a vet at all, and I feel awful about that, but that is why I've come to this forum - in the hopes that somebody experienced can maybe give me an idea of what to do. She doesn't seem to be in pain, just hungry. I checked her teeth and they don't SEEM to long, but I'm not sure what to look for. (I should also say, I've tried to give them chewie things, but neither of them will touch them. They mostly chew on their houses).

I give them the best variety of veggies I can, and there has never been a problem with Neels her entire life until now. I clip their nails, give them clean water every other day, vitamin C drops, veggies, hay (when we can get it), and a constant supply of pellets. Their cage is very small, like I said, but they each have their own house. They don't fight over the pellets, or the water, or anything. They bicker a little bit, but it has never, ever been serious and it is mostly just Neels seeming annoyed that she runs into her, kind of like two sisters who have to share a room and bathroom 24/7.

I'm at a loss for what to do. Can anyone help?
Hi,
Could you add your location to your profile? This will help us give advice specific to your location.

The most important thing jumping out at me here is that Guinea pigs need access to hay 24/7.. This makes up 80% of her diet, so only giving her it sometimes means she is not getting enough food. Filling up on pellets and veg with no hay means she can't digest it properly. They need fibre to process all the food and this is why they need hay. Is there anyway you can make sure they have hay at all times?

The only way you will know if she is bony through old age (which is normal and is usually a result of a loss of body condition but only actually no to little weight loss) or if she is losing weight consistently is to purchase some scales. Digital kitchen scales that weigh up to or above 2kg are fine and are relitavely cheap. Mines where around £5 and Iv had them 3 years now. If she's losing weight consistently then there is a health issue and she NEEDS to see a vet.

The lack of hay could of caused a dental issue. Most Guinea pigs will ignore chew toys ( mine do) as its the hay and grass that wear down the teeth. If left to overgrow they will develop Spurs (pointy bits) on their back teeth which make it difficult for them to eat properly. This isn't visible by looking in the mouth yourself and needs a vet with a scope to look in right at the back.

Other than getting hay, scales and getting her to a vet I really can't advise any other solutions.. She won't gain weight by offering high calorie foods if there's an underlying health issue.

Once you've added your location we may be able to advise on charity vets (if there are any in your area) that provide treatment to animals when owners have a low income.

With regards to the cage space; how big is it? Do they get regular floor time for excercising?

Really hope she can be seen by a vet soon x
 

Jesse's pigs

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Very sorry about your situation but do try not to worry. Like @Adelle rightly said you should do everything in your power to seek out some kind of veterinary help especially if her weight seems to be dropping dramatically. Guinea pigs are excellent at hiding things until the very last minute so it's always best to check it out. Six years old is a great age however and with the older age it is normal for piggies to drop weight a little bit. Do try to weigh her- even if you borrow a friends or someone else's scales- perhaps a shelter nearby that has small animals would let you use theirs? Also hay is a very important thing in their diet in order for them to keep their teeth down,get the correct nutrients and maintain a healthy weight. It is actually pellets that are less important and don't need to be given 24/7. Obviously pellets should be given once a day but piggies aren't supposed to chew them constantly as their jaws were not built for it.
Teeth should be straight and even with no overlapping and their back molars should not be covering the tongue or growing into the cheek. If their teeth are long,you can notice a drop in weight also so do check- and by DON'T SEEM long- what does that mean? Could you send a picture. The picture I've attached is of what a piggies teeth should look like.

@nilsthepiggie

GuineaPigGoddess-8.jpg

DSCN4401a-300x278.png
 
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