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returning gastrointestinal problems

Sas

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I am from the Netherlands. I have two male guinea pigs, both 1,5 years old.
One of them is sick for the third time since September. Every time with the same gastrointestinal problems (the problem returns after approx. 2-3 months).
Symptoms: stops eating favorite red pepper bell and suddenly has a strong preference for endive, cucumber and chicory, while he normally really only eats these vegetables last. He also stops eating his Science Select pellets. Squeaks while pooping. Sometimes diarrhea, sometimes dried out poops that are in half. However he has a good appetite (hay and other vegetables) and is cheerful and lively.

I have been with him to 3 vets. First time they made an ultrasound of his body (not head). Besides a little bit of gas nothing to see. No bladder problems. Teeth look good. They gave him Novacam dog (metacam) and advised to use Science Select Recovery. Recovered after 3 weeks.
The second time I went to a vet that is specialized in the field of guinea pigs. She made a x-ray of his body (not head), looked at his poops under a microscope, looked at his teeth. Nothing found beside a bit of gas in his stomach. She gave antibiotics, Novacam dog and we gave him science select recovery because he lost weight. He recovered after 3 weeks.

After the last time we changed his diet. We always gave a lot of vegetables during the day. Now only two times a day and less than we did. We stopped with carrots and apple because we thought the sucres in it might cause the problem. However, 3 weeks ago the problems returned again. Although we immediately started using Novacam and he does not seem to have so much pain as the other times it goes on and off. Sometimes I think he is recovered but the other day he has diarrhea again. Hay water helps to stop the diarrhea. He also wants to gnaw more than usual.

Daily diet: in the morning and evening vegetables (red pepper bell, endive, cucumber, chicory, celeriac (sometime parsley or dill), during the day hay (several sorts of timothy hay) and science select pellets. I used to give some Guinea pig Granola in the afternoon but I have not given that since last week. I give bamboo from my garden every other day.

Does someone have any idea what this could be?
 

Bill & Ted

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Hello and welcome to the forum
I’m no expert and hopefully soon one of our fab health advisors may be able to help you with his problems far better than me.
I think that from my experience of tummy problems is antibiotics can kill the important gut bacteria so perhaps you could give him a pro-biotic like Fibreplex or Pro-C, you should be able to find some on the Internet or pet store. I think it may be trial and error to find out if there’s some kind of trigger causing this related to food stuffs too, does he enjoy eating plenty of hay? That certainly helps with regulating the gut and is the main and most important part of his diet.
I would also speak to your vet too about the reoccurring tummy problems
 

Wiebke

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I am from the Netherlands. I have two male guinea pigs, both 1,5 years old.
One of them is sick for the third time since September. Every time with the same gastrointestinal problems (the problem returns after approx. 2-3 months).
Symptoms: stops eating favorite red pepper bell and suddenly has a strong preference for endive, cucumber and chicory, while he normally really only eats these vegetables last. He also stops eating his Science Select pellets. Squeaks while pooping. Sometimes diarrhea, sometimes dried out poops that are in half. However he has a good appetite (hay and other vegetables) and is cheerful and lively.

I have been with him to 3 vets. First time they made an ultrasound of his body (not head). Besides a little bit of gas nothing to see. No bladder problems. Teeth look good. They gave him Novacam dog (metacam) and advised to use Science Select Recovery. Recovered after 3 weeks.
The second time I went to a vet that is specialized in the field of guinea pigs. She made a x-ray of his body (not head), looked at his poops under a microscope, looked at his teeth. Nothing found beside a bit of gas in his stomach. She gave antibiotics, Novacam dog and we gave him science select recovery because he lost weight. He recovered after 3 weeks.

After the last time we changed his diet. We always gave a lot of vegetables during the day. Now only two times a day and less than we did. We stopped with carrots and apple because we thought the sucres in it might cause the problem. However, 3 weeks ago the problems returned again. Although we immediately started using Novacam and he does not seem to have so much pain as the other times it goes on and off. Sometimes I think he is recovered but the other day he has diarrhea again. Hay water helps to stop the diarrhea. He also wants to gnaw more than usual.

Daily diet: in the morning and evening vegetables (red pepper bell, endive, cucumber, chicory, celeriac (sometime parsley or dill), during the day hay (several sorts of timothy hay) and science select pellets. I used to give some Guinea pig Granola in the afternoon but I have not given that since last week. I give bamboo from my garden every other day.

Does someone have any idea what this could be?
Hi and welcome

Please be aware that the mainstay of a guinea pig diet is unlimited hay and grass (it should make about 80% of the daily food intake); their gut is perfectly laid out to break down the tough but nutritrious fibre in two runs through the gut and their teeth have evolved against the very abrasive silica in hay and grass; the incisors at the front are self-sharpening as long as the molars and premolars at the back are ground evenly by a hay based diet.

Fresh, preferably green and leafy veg and herbs should only only fill a small bowl/ca. 50g per piggy per day and be more in the way of an afternoon snack with hay making breakfast, lunch and dinner in comparison with a human diet. This replaces the wild, mostly green forage with which guinea pigs would supplement their grass/hay based diet for a range additional vitamins and trace elements.
Please stay off any root veg (carrot is like feeding a bar of chocolate), fruit and any grain if possible; they are all converted to sugar during the digestive process and can encourage the overgrowth of the wrong kind of bacteria ('dysbiosis'), causing diarrhea and/or bloating problems whenever this happens. Overfeeding veg in the way you are reporting is not just impacting their health but is also ultimately life-shortening. It can really make the difference between otherwise healthy guinea pigs living to the lower end of the average healthy life span instead of to the upper end or even beyond.
Unfortunately, too many people still think that because hay and grass are not part of a human diet, they are a nutritional non-entity and that fresh veg is the mainstay of a piggy diet - they couldn't be more wrong. Instead of quantity, you should concentrate on quality in terms of supplementing with vitamin C and trace elements in your piggy diet. :(

Pellets should not be more than 1 tablespoon/ 1/8 cup (i.e. 15 ml) per piggy per day; it is more in the way of dessert and and additional source of vitamin C.

If your piggy has got digestive problems, it is crucial to take them off any fresh food until their poos have normalised for at least 24-48 hours and then only slowly reintrducing fresh herbs and veg again, usually starting with a little fresh herb and adding one more veg in a small quantity with every meal more. In your case, I would strongly recommend to take your piggies off any fresh food for at least a week or two in order to allow the gut microbiome to rebalance on a hay based diet. Don't rush this - it is crucial that the gut bacteria are rebalanced for the rest of your piggies' lives. You can additionally feed probiotics during this time in order to support the rebalancing process.

See whether that will do the trick. Review your diet in the meantime. See a vet if that is not settling your piggies' gut and ask for a lab test of your poos to be done in case there is bug (not all are visible in a microscope) additionally in play.

Please take the time to carefully read the links below; you will find them very helpful. Our diet guide looks at diet as a whole but also at every food group in practical, easy to follow detail with further information links where needed. We have included a picture of sample diet (doesn't have to be followed exactly in the choice of veg) to help clarify amounts.
Long Term Balanced General And Special Needs Guinea Pig Diets

Digestive Disorders: Diarrhea - Bloat - GI Stasis (No Gut Movement) And Not Eating
Probiotics, Recovery Foods And Vitamin C: Overview With Product Links
Guinea Lynx :: Diarrhea (more information if further investigations become necessary)

I hope that this will help you to get to the bottom of your ongoing issues.
 

Sparklepetal

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Hello and welcome to the forum - I hope the advice above can give you some help. The experts here are so knowledgeable and experienced it's a great place to learn. The forum would also love to see a picture of your guinea pigs because every pig is gorgeous!
 

Sas

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Thank you all for the advices! I was not aware that only so little vegetables and pellets should be given. I will definitely follow your advices and let you know how things work out.
 

Sas

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One more question - what about bamboo? I was told that it is good to give due to the high fibers. Especially for sick guinea pigs. Can I still give that every other day?
 

Wiebke

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One more question - what about bamboo? I was told that it is good to give due to the high fibers. Especially for sick guinea pigs. Can I still give that every other day?
Bamboo is a grass, so technically it should be OK to give in the future. I would however wait with any fresh food until the gut has realigned again.
 

Sas

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Here’s an update. I did not give him any veggies for 24 h. Although the situation has improved he is still sometimes in pain. He now gets 50 gr veggies a day and lots of hay. Sometimes his poops are a bit soft but sometimes dry. He drinks lots of water since he is getting less vegetables. I am now going to try a probiotic Proxetin Pro Fibre. I read a vet clinic had very good experience with it so hopefully this will help.
 

Wiebke

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Here’s an update. I did not give him any veggies for 24 h. Although the situation has improved he is still sometimes in pain. He now gets 50 gr veggies a day and lots of hay. Sometimes his poops are a bit soft but sometimes dry. He drinks lots of water since he is getting less vegetables. I am now going to try a probiotic Proxetin Pro Fibre. I read a vet clinic had very good experience with it so hopefully this will help.
If your boy is still in pain, he needs a proper and thorough vet check as to any underlying causes (which can lie outside the digestive tract). Keep in mind that digestive issue can be a problem in themselves but they can also be a secondary complication of a pain issue that is radiating into the gut. Internal growths, a semen rod in the penis shaft causing an infection, arthritis in the lower spine; intestinal problems like giardia or a thickened bowel need to be checked for etc. etc.
They all have to be looked at by your vet as potential causes for a persistent gut issue. A persistent pain problem rather points to an outside source than a problem in the gut itself.

Just 24 hours without veg may not be enough. While fibreplex may help to stabilise the gut microbiome, it cannot cure any underlying issues; especially not a pain related gut problem.
 
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