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ashleemelda

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I've posted on here several times (so very sorry!) about having taken my girls to the vet on Monday, December 2 in large part due to the fact that the frequency of their poops had gone down significantly. They were prescribed Bactrim (SMZ-TMP) to take twice daily in case it was the start of an infection and Bene-Bac Plus Microbial Gel to take once daily in hopes of regulating their bowel movements. Each dosage ended on Wednesday, December 11 and nothing had improved, so I took them to the vet the next day (Thursday, December 12) primarily because it seemed as though Moira was not pooping at all. I also went so soon after because we are going out of town for the holidays from Sunday, December 22 to Monday, December 30 and I have to take them with due to the lack of boarding facilities nearby and no one whom I would trust to watch them around town, and I want to make sure I'm doing everything I can before then to figure out what's going on and ensure that they are as comfortable and healthy as possible, especially given the inevitable stress of traveling, particularly with my Rose.

At our second vet visit, she once again ruled out any bloating, impaction, distention of the stomach, dehydration, dental issues, genital area issues, and after I mentioned that they've been scratching a lot recently, tested for mites and found that the white flakes on their skin were just dry skin and most likely caused from the suddenly drier air due to having started indoor heating. I have another appointment on Wednesday, December 18 at the vet's instruction to check them one final time before the trip. It's just been very hard for me not having a concrete answer and path forward, especially because the frequency of their poops has not returned and Moira appears to be continuing to go very little if at all. When she does appear to go, in the last day at least, her poops were smaller and appeared to have the tiniest of points at the top like a tear-drop. They continue to be holding their weight and eating their hay, veggies, and pellets with eagerness.

Two questions, then:
  1. Is there a chance this could be some small digestive upset based on the food I am feeding? Due to being in-between jobs and having limited resources, from June (when I got them) to early December, I fed them only a rotating slice of red, yellow, and orange pepper; one chunk of cucumber; and 1-2 leaves of green leaf lettuce daily. I have since begun introducing the other foods from @Wiebke's sample plate (1-2 sprigs of cilantro; one full green bean; and one small chunk of celery), but that did not occur until after the first vet visit. Could I have maybe been feeding them too much pepper, cucumber, or lettuce? I asked the vet about this and she told me to begin gradually cutting back on each vegetable so as to prevent a shock to their system. I read on here, however, about cutting out fresh veggies entirely for 24 hours to see if the poops normalize and if so, to continue doing so for the next 24-48 hours and then slowly reintroduce them. I would just like to know your alls thoughts on this and the process for cutting back on or cutting out veggies completely. A part of me is concerned about taking this route and having little time to reintroduce the vegetables before our road trip.
  2. How long does it typically take for medication to work its way out of a guinea pigs' system? As I mentioned prior, they were taking Bactrim and Bene-Bac Plus Microbial Gel, both of whoms dosage was completed on Wednesday, December 12. Could that potentially be having an impact on the frequency of their poops having not yet returned? Or no because the frequency had decreased prior to any medication? I also ask because their urine continues to be a rusty orange color which was not the case until the medication started. Additionally, I brought up to the vet that there have been calcium deposits left around the cage, which also did not start happening until giving them their medication, but she was not sure if the medication was a direct cause, what are your alls thoughts on this?
I know I've posted a lot of threads about this topic in the past three weeks since this all started, and I deeply apologize, especially in case the same people have been viewing and responding to them. It's just been very hard not having a concrete and clear answer about what is going on and how to proceed, and with knowing that I'll be taking them on a 9 hour and 15-minute car ride next week where they will be in a new environment and cage for a week. I have contemplated staying home with them but my grandparents are all in their late 80's and it's very important for me to see them because I don't know how much longer I have left. Especially because now I have a job, I do not know if or when my next chance to go to Illinois to see them would be.

I have made strides in working on my pet anxiety though. I have been getting out of my room and going out in the world, rather than forcing myself to stay in my room and watch them like a hawk as I had been. I have found comfort in the fact that they are holding their weight and eating their hay, pellets, and veggies with eagerness rather than looking for or having my mind play tricks on me about something new that is wrong. I'm enjoying them again, albeit still very worried, but not showing it outwardly and passing the anxiety off on them as a result.

Thank you all for your continued advice and support through this.
 

ashleemelda

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One thing I forgot to add. Both my girls appear to be incessantly chewing on the wood made available to them in their cage, which is especially out of character for my Moira. I know the vet ruled out dental issues, so could there be any other cause behind this?
 

piggieminder

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I can't answer your questions as I'm not an expert but am bumping your query up, you posted during our night time (UK) and you have no replies.
I hope your piggies are better soon, and you can enjoy your holidays.
 

Piggies&buns

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The normal reason for lack of and misshapen poops is often reduced food intake. It may appear they are eating enough but usually aren’t due to the fact that you cannot gauge that they are taking in enough hay by eye.

I have just looked back on your previous posts and have seen that they are teenagers - you say in this post that their weight is stable. It’s obviously good that they aren’t losing weight, so they are obviously eating enough to sustain but if their weight isn’t going up, as you would expect for teenagers, then it would suggest that they may not be eating enough hay. Do correct me if I have misunderstood their age.

The advice for a tummy upset is to stop all veggies, and only reintroducing veg 24 hours after all poops return to normal. This, I think, is what I would do in your situation - Stop giving all veggies (ensuring that you are only giving the recommended limit of one tablespoon of pellets per piggy) and see if things return to normal on a hay only diet (with a few pellets). If they do, then you can start to reintroduce a small amount of veggies very gradually. Herbs are often the best thing to start reintroducing first. Do be aware though that poop output is 1-2 days behind food intake, so you need to give it a couple of days with no veg before you are likely to see any improvement.

Some medications can sometimes suppress appetite.

I do feel though that as this has been going on for so long, if Moira is having periods of not pooping at all, then there would be clear signs that she, in particular, is unwell.

I am going to tag in the other health experts @Siikibam @PigglePuggle @furryfriends_(TEAS)
 

PigglePuggle

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I think really you need to trust the advice of your vet, and if you aren't happy with the advice of the vet then seek a second opinion!

Antibiotics can disrupt the gut bacteria for quite a while after the treatment finishes, a couple of weeks rather than a couple of days, but if you are giving a probiotic this should help sort that out.

Ideally the probiotic should be given for longer than the antibiotic, until the poops return to normal. Piggies with a gut bacteria imbalance are sometimes more prone to chewing, and providing some plain brown cardboard to chew can help, this is safe to eat and will provide extra fibre to help restore normal poops and gut function.

Keeping veggies limited to a bit of pepper and a few herbs like cilantro can also help, cutting out lettuce etc. This may also encourage more hay eating if they arent filling up on watery veg so much.

Best of luck with your piggies, but I think if their weight is stable you may be worrying unnecessarily, especially if the vet has no major concerns x
 

ashleemelda

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The normal reason for lack of and misshapen poops is often reduced food intake. It may appear they are eating enough but usually aren’t due to the fact that you cannot gauge that they are taking in enough hay by eye.

I have just looked back on your previous posts and have seen that they are teenagers - you say in this post that their weight is stable. It’s obviously good that they aren’t losing weight, so they are obviously eating enough to sustain but if their weight isn’t going up, as you would expect for teenagers, then it would suggest that they may not be eating enough hay. Do correct me if I have misunderstood their age.

The advice for a tummy upset is to stop all veggies, and only reintroducing veg 24 hours after all poops return to normal. This, I think, is what I would do in your situation - Stop giving all veggies (ensuring that you are only giving the recommended limit of one tablespoon of pellets per piggy) and see if things return to normal on a hay only diet (with a few pellets). If they do, then you can start to reintroduce a small amount of veggies very gradually. Herbs are often the best thing to start reintroducing first. Do be aware though that poop output is 1-2 days behind food intake, so you need to give it a couple of days with no veg before you are likely to see any improvement.

Some medications can sometimes suppress appetite.

I do feel though that as this has been going on for so long, if Moira is having periods of not pooping at all, then there would be clear signs that she, in particular, is unwell.

I am going to tag in the other health experts @Siikibam @PigglePuggle @furryfriends_(TEAS)
I am unfortunately not 100% sure if they are teenagers. My belief is more so based on the recent uptick I’ve seen in normal dominance behavior such as rumble-struting and scent-marking (but this may also be caused by the fact that I recently put them into a new, larger cage and they are having to re-establish the group hierarchy) and the fact they do not yet measure, from nose to bottom, the size typical of full grown adults.

I feed them one tablespoon of pellets each per day at 7:30am, and due to my schedule, their veggies (one rotating slice of red, orange, yellow sweet pepper; one chunk of cucumber; 1-2 leaves of green leaf lettuce; 1-2 sprigs of cilantro; a small chunk of celery; and one full green bean) are fed once daily at 3:30pm. In the future, would you suggest I split that up into multiple servings? And how would you suggest I break the veggies up if so? I’ve seen several posts on here saying they feed some of the above veggies for breakfast AND dinner, say, rather than only once per day, but I wasn’t entirely sure on which are okay to feed multiple times if that’s really the case.
 

ashleemelda

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I think really you need to trust the advice of your vet, and if you aren't happy with the advice of the vet then seek a second opinion!

Antibiotics can disrupt the gut bacteria for quite a while after the treatment finishes, a couple of weeks rather than a couple of days, but if you are giving a probiotic this should help sort that out.

Ideally the probiotic should be given for longer than the antibiotic, until the poops return to normal. Piggies with a gut bacteria imbalance are sometimes more prone to chewing, and providing some plain brown cardboard to chew can help, this is safe to eat and will provide extra fibre to help restore normal poops and gut function.

Keeping veggies limited to a bit of pepper and a few herbs like cilantro can also help, cutting out lettuce etc. This may also encourage more hay eating if they arent filling up on watery veg so much.

Best of luck with your piggies, but I think if their weight is stable you may be worrying unnecessarily, especially if the vet has no major concerns x
I recently ordered three syringes of Bene-Bac Plus Microbial Gel (15g) to have on hand, since the one the vet prescribed has since run out and was only good for 10 days. Since I will be taking them on such a long road trip where they will be subjected to a new cage and new environment for a week, the vet suggested I administer Bene-Bac a few days before we leave, while we are there, and a few days after we return, due to its aim of helping animals who have been subjected to adverse and stressful conditions such as traveling. Since you had mentioned that the probiotic should have ideally been given longer than the Bactrim antibiotic, do you think I should maybe resume the Bene-Bac today? I will be leaving for the holidays on the 21 or 22 (undecided) and will be returning the 30.

I currently feed my girls one rotating slice of red, yellow, and orange sweet pepper; one chunk of cucumber; 1-2 leaves of green leaf lettuce; 1-2 sprigs of cilantro; one small chunk of celery; and one full green bean per the sample diet guide by Wiebke. If I were to start a gradual reduction as you suggest, mainly in cutting out watery veggies, are there any other veggies you suggest I would keep as part of their daily diet in addition to pepper and cilantro (meaning the cucumber, celery, and green bean)? I haven’t feed them cucumber in two days as I have not had a chance to run to the store.
 

ashleemelda

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I am unfortunately not 100% sure if they are teenagers. My belief is more so based on the recent uptick I’ve seen in normal dominance behavior such as rumble-struting and scent-marking (but this may also be caused by the fact that I recently put them into a new, larger cage and they are having to re-establish the group hierarchy) and the fact they do not yet measure, from nose to bottom, the size typical of full grown adults.

I feed them one tablespoon of pellets each per day at 7:30am, and due to my schedule, their veggies (one rotating slice of red, orange, yellow sweet pepper; one chunk of cucumber; 1-2 leaves of green leaf lettuce; 1-2 sprigs of cilantro; a small chunk of celery; and one full green bean) are fed once daily at 3:30pm. In the future, would you suggest I split that up into multiple servings? And how would you suggest I break the veggies up if so? I’ve seen several posts on here saying they feed some of the above veggies for breakfast AND dinner, say, rather than only once per day, but I wasn’t entirely sure on which are okay to feed multiple times if that’s really the case.
AD4DDA9A-E638-4A34-9A33-5034CAE5D9AA.jpeg
For Reference:
This is an example of one of the posts where I discovered that some people feed some of the veggies twice daily, in this case pepper, celery, cucumber, and green bean.
 

Piggies&buns

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I am unfortunately not 100% sure if they are teenagers. My belief is more so based on the recent uptick I’ve seen in normal dominance behavior such as rumble-struting and scent-marking (but this may also be caused by the fact that I recently put them into a new, larger cage and they are having to re-establish the group hierarchy) and the fact they do not yet measure, from nose to bottom, the size typical of full grown adults.

I feed them one tablespoon of pellets each per day at 7:30am, and due to my schedule, their veggies (one rotating slice of red, orange, yellow sweet pepper; one chunk of cucumber; 1-2 leaves of green leaf lettuce; 1-2 sprigs of cilantro; a small chunk of celery; and one full green bean) are fed once daily at 3:30pm. In the future, would you suggest I split that up into multiple servings? And how would you suggest I break the veggies up if so? I’ve seen several posts on here saying they feed some of the above veggies for breakfast AND dinner, say, rather than only once per day, but I wasn’t entirely sure on which are okay to feed multiple times if that’s really the case.
How often you feed veggies is entirely up to you - multiple times or once a day comes down to personal preference. You just need to make sure that if you give veggies twice per day, that you make up the entire day’s portion and then divide it into two – this is to ensure you don’t inadvertently give too much veg.

Mine get their veg once per day in the evening, as It’s easier for me to prep their dinner veg at the same time as I do our dinner veg. It also means I don’t inadvertently give too much veg per sitting as they are getting it all in one go.
 

Piggies&buns

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, are there any other veggies you suggest I would keep as part of their daily diet in addition to pepper and cilantro (meaning the cucumber, celery, and green bean)? I haven’t feed them cucumber in two days as I have not had a chance to run to the store.
Please don’t overthink this.

If you are going to do a gradual reduction, then take out everything except the pepper and the cilantro. These items are both vit c rich and herbs are most well tolerated after a tummy upset.
If you want to do a total stop of veggies, then do so, but when you start feeding veg again, then start with herbs.

It’s more important that they eat hay than anything else. They get vit c from hay as well so stopping all veg for a few days will not hurt them and may help to settle their tummies.

I do agree with pigglepuggle though - trust your vet. As no positive diagnosis of a particular problem has been found, then try not to worry too much and instead ensure they get plenty of hay and see how things go.
 

ashleemelda

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@Piggies&buns Thank you for all your assistance and advice! One final question - PigglePuggle mentioned that plain brown cardboard is safe for guinea pigs to chew. Can this also be said for toilet paper rolls? I have plenty of those lying around the house!
 

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Yes please dont overthink things, following the recommended diet plate is brilliant but in the case of unusual poops and a minor tummy upset you could easily remove the celery, lettuce, and green bean for a while without any loss of nutrients and just feed peppers and cilantro for essential vit C for a couple of weeks. Toilet roll middles or plain brown cardboard boxes (my piggies like Amazon delivery boxes with doors cut in and any packing tape removed from areas they might chew) stuffed with hay are safe and edible and might help rebalance the gut and restore a good poop output by adding extra healthy plant fibre to the diet x
 

ashleemelda

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Yes please dont overthink things, following the recommended diet plate is brilliant but in the case of unusual poops and a minor tummy upset you could easily remove the celery, lettuce, and green bean for a while without any loss of nutrients and just feed peppers and cilantro for essential vit C for a couple of weeks. Toilet roll middles or plain brown cardboard boxes (my piggies like Amazon delivery boxes with doors cut in and any packing tape removed from areas they might chew) stuffed with hay are safe and edible and might help rebalance the gut and restore a good poop output by adding extra healthy plant fibre to the diet x
Glad to hear about the Amazon packages! As it is the holidays we have a ton of those lying around.
I believe I will try cutting out everything but pepper and cilantro from their veggie diet starting with their feeding this afternoon, and just stick to that and unlimited hay and their one tablespoon of pellets for awhile if things appear to normalize.
Thank you for your advice and continued support, and for providing a non-judgmental space for me to air these thoughts and any concerns I have had along this journey. With going out of town for the holidays and bringing them with, the traveling aspect of which is always somewhat hard for my Rose, I just wanted some additional reassurance and guidance, which you all have provided in full and then some. Thank you again!
 

ashleemelda

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@Piggies&buns @PigglePuggle I am going to the vet tomorrow for the girls’ final check-up before our trip for the holidays, but wanted to mention something that I have thought on since originally posting this, and get your all’s thoughts and see if it’s something I need to mention to the vet as a potential possibility behind their lack of poops. I'm not sure if it’s the sole reason but could very well be a contributing factor based on what I’ve read.

Today was day two of feeding only sweet peppers and cilantro, and there’s been very little change if
any in their poop outtake. Moira’s have in fact gotten more tear-shaped and remain small. I know it takes 1-2 days for food intake and poop outtake to line up, though.

I have noticed that they are staying on the second level where they hay is a lot longer than since this started. They have obviously been eating enough to sustain and hold their weight, but now I see, not enough to gain or to equal that 80%+ of their daily diet. How can I go about continuing to encourage that behavior when they are back to their staple diet? They used to spend what felt like hours up there after I would refill the hay and I’d like them to get back to that.

My question, though, is pertaining to pellets. They’ve never been the biggest fan, and only (and even still now that I’m in the process of transitioning them to Oxbow Essentials) prefer the bad-for-them bits of corn and artificially colored nuggets in the Wild Harvest brand you can buy at Walmart. Because they seem to only eat those pieces and avoid the plain green pellets in Essentials, I’ve been feeding them a tablespoon twice per day, in the morning and at night. I thought this was a way to increase the chances of getting them close to consuming that one recommended tablespoon since they leave so much behind, but now wonder if that could actually be part of the reason they’ve been pooping less and with a clear gut/stomach upset. It could maybe even be the cause for the sudden calcium deposits.
 

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Is the Walmart one a muesli? If so they’re likely selective eating. Mueslis aren’t recommended for that very reason. Keep trying and hopefully they will eat the pellets. But only a tablespoon per piggy per day. My girls first refused to eat the harringtons (they were on burgess with mint when I brought them home). Eventually they started eating them. Pellets aren’t exactly a large part of the diet though.

As for hay could you put some on the lower level so there’s always some somewhere? If they don’t seem to be enjoying the one you buy you could maybe try another type.
 

ashleemelda

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My earlier statement about “I feed them one tablespoon of pellets each per day at 7:30am” is what I was doing prior to the transition between foods, I should have clarified that and I apologize.
I am currently on Week 4/4 of the recommended transition period as described on the back of the Oxbow packaging, and that is when the two tablespoons per day began due to the amount of new food (the Oxbow Essentials) being left behind.
 
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