Weight Worries

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CubbyWolf46

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Hi all,

My boys have been slowly putting on their weight since I got them, Salem because he is growing (4months) and Argo because he was ill with pneumonia in the first couple of weeks after I had adopted him. When we went to the vet a couple months ago Argo was only 750g and Salem was about 275g. Salem has been steadily gaining weight as he grows and he's now upto 650g (proud mumma) But Argo only put back on a little weight after his illness and is only at 900g. I know that technically 900g is a healthy weight but I feed them so much and he won't gain weight, I can still feel his boney rump and it worries me.

I have tried feeding him all the more fatty of foods but in small portions and he has unlimited supply of grass hay and pellets mix (good quality pellets mixed with wheat and chaff from their old rescue and some oats). But he stays boney feeling. I obviously don't want him to become overweight but I just worry that if he doesn't get to a reasonable weight that if he gets sick again it could effect him more quickly.
I would like to get him to at least 1kg maybe add 100g, but mostly I just want to be able to hold him without feeling his boniness.

They have a very big cage to run around in (2.5ft x 5ft) but they don't currently get much ground time so exercise-wise he should be ok. Maybe he's just got alot of lean muscle? I don't know. All my guinea pigs have always been a lot rounder, Then again all of my previous guinea pigs have lived outside and lived off of grass not hay.

They are both healthy eaters. Healthy, ravenous but picky eaters! I don't know what to do anymore, do they make protein shakes for guinea pigs? lol
 

Veggies Galore

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Welcome to the forum. Would you be able to add your location to your profile as we have members all over the world . Are you planning to take your guinea pigs back to the vet for a check up?
 

CubbyWolf46

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Welcome to the forum. Would you be able to add your location to your profile as we have members all over the world . Are you planning to take your guinea pigs back to the vet for a check up?
Done. I am from Brisbane in Australia, but what does this have to do with my thread? Does my region effect my guinea pigs ability to gain weight?

Also, I have no need to take them back to the vet at the moment. They are not losing weight, acting weird or otherwise unhealthy and I am around them almost all day in the past couple of months so I am very observant of what is normal. Their appetite is good, they are in good health however I am unable to manage weight gain in Argo, that is all.
 

Wiebke

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Hi all,

My boys have been slowly putting on their weight since I got them, Salem because he is growing (4months) and Argo because he was ill with pneumonia in the first couple of weeks after I had adopted him. When we went to the vet a couple months ago Argo was only 750g and Salem was about 275g. Salem has been steadily gaining weight as he grows and he's now upto 650g (proud mumma) But Argo only put back on a little weight after his illness and is only at 900g. I know that technically 900g is a healthy weight but I feed them so much and he won't gain weight, I can still feel his boney rump and it worries me.

I have tried feeding him all the more fatty of foods but in small portions and he has unlimited supply of grass hay and pellets mix (good quality pellets mixed with wheat and chaff from their old rescue and some oats). But he stays boney feeling. I obviously don't want him to become overweight but I just worry that if he doesn't get to a reasonable weight that if he gets sick again it could effect him more quickly.
I would like to get him to at least 1kg maybe add 100g, but mostly I just want to be able to hold him without feeling his boniness.

They have a very big cage to run around in (2.5ft x 5ft) but they don't currently get much ground time so exercise-wise he should be ok. Maybe he's just got alot of lean muscle? I don't know. All my guinea pigs have always been a lot rounder, Then again all of my previous guinea pigs have lived outside and lived off of grass not hay.

They are both healthy eaters. Healthy, ravenous but picky eaters! I don't know what to do anymore, do they make protein shakes for guinea pigs? lol
Hi! your boys are both a very good weight for still not fully grown teenage boys, so please stop any overfeeding! You are not doing them any favours at all in the long term!

The genetically determined ideal adult weight/size varies individually enormously. Guinea pigs reach adulthood and at around 15 months of age, so both boys have to still way to go with weights that are good for their age. If you overfeed, they will just grow quicker, but then stop growing fast sooner. After that, any overfeeding will manifest as overweight, i.e. fat building up around the organs, which can shorten their life span and post a major risk in operations. Your main aim should not be a big weight, but perfect health. When thinking of rotund piggies you likely remember your adult piggies, not your growing youngsters. ;)

The best way of testing whether your boys are just fine is by feeling around the rib cage; please be aware that the ribs in sub-adults should be more noticeable than in adults, as their calories are invested entirely in growth and not fat. In a perfectly healthy guinea pig you can just feel the ribs. If it is overweight, you won't be able to feel the ribs and if a piggy is underweight, you can feel each single rib standing out. We call this the "heft". It is sometimes a more accurate guide to checking whether your piggy is "on course" for its individual size than going by a general growth chart. The average healthy adult weight is 900-1300g, which includes about 80% of all adults. I have got perfectly healthy piggies that weigh 800g and less; they are just naturally small. They have exactly the same chance (or even more!) to living a long active life than a porker.

You may find these two threads here helpful:
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk...or-a-balanced-general-guinea-pig-diet.116460/
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk...ng-ideal-weight-overweight-underweight.38805/
 

Veggies Galore

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Done. I am from Brisbane in Australia, but what does this have to do with my thread? Does my region effect my guinea pigs ability to gain weight?

Also, I have no need to take them back to the vet at the moment. They are not losing weight, acting weird or otherwise unhealthy and I am around them almost all day in the past couple of months so I am very observant of what is normal. Their appetite is good, they are in good health however I am unable to manage weight gain in Argo, that is all.

We find kowing what country you live in helps tailor advice . Thanks for adding your location.
 

CubbyWolf46

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Thank-you so much for your information. It has been a while since I have had Cavies and I am having to relearn how to take good care of them and all the new information since last time is also pretty full on. For instance, this is the first time I have had guinea pigs live indoors with us. My whole life when we had them they would always have a cage outside on the grass and you would just put them under shelter during bad weather. To be honest our guinea pigs, despite being outdoors, never really got sick all that often and I find I am having more trouble keeping my indoors piggies healthy. Maybe it is a lack of vitamin D or the lack of fresh grass, who knows.

I didn't think I was overfeeding :/

Their diet at the moment consists of:
- Unlimited Grass Hay (unfortunately timothy hay is incredibly expensive over here, no thanks to Oxbow and their price fixing from what I have heard)
- Vetafarm Cavy Origins Pellets Vit C fortified (In a mix of my own making)
- Wheat and Chaff from the rescue they came from (In my mix *attempting to faze out*)
- Rolled Oats *half a handful* (In my mix *attempting to faze out*)
- 1 cup of veggies morning and night (although the vet said to cut back to one cup a day for a while because they were neglecting their hay from full tummies)
- Occasional fresh grass and herbs

I am attempting to faze out the wheat and chaff from the rescue and replace with more pellets because the pellets are better for them but they wont just eat them by themselves. I am also fazing out the rolled oats which I was advised by one of the rescue owners would help put Argo's weight back on after being ill, only a handful in the mix now down to half a handful.

Ideally I want them to eventually stick to Hay, pellet and veggies only diet and they will occasionally be put outside for fresh grass on days that the weather will allow.

Also, my mum keeps sometimes buying them those nasty store bought mixed chew blocks that look like something you buy for a bird, but I must let them have it because to be honest I am surprised she buys them anything at all considering that she was dead set against me having Guinea pigs again. She is not a rodent person but she seems to be warming up to them so I let them take one for the team for now she has only bought them twice. It wont kill them. I'll just gently suggest healthier treats when I can be sure she won't be offended at her very kind gesture being "rejected". Rejection is how she will take it and I will be very offended so it will take some maneuvering.
 

Wiebke

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We find kowing what country you live in helps tailor advice . Thanks for adding your location.
We try to adapt our advice to your specific possibilities and needs as much as possible, even more so in very stressful situations when the last thing you want is a lengthy discussion of where you are and what is possible/available for you or not before we can give you exactly the level of support you require. Our advice is going to differ a lot whether you have got a piggy savvy vet within your reach or whether we have to work through a general vet with hardly any knowledge of guinea pigs, for instance. Your climate can influence illnesses/recovery; we have to take into consideration that your summers are while we have got winter and that your heat waves can be much worse than here in Britain. The same goes for the availabilty of branded foods, accessories and medications etc...

It also helps to avoid misunderstandings between members when you exchange experiences and give advice. In the US or Canada it is for instance anathema to keep guinea pigs in outdoors hutches in view of their wildly swinging climate extremes whereas we tend to struggle with their penchant for exact charts, dressing up and their desire for frequent baths/sensitivity to any animal smells. Members from Asian/tropical countries need underfloor ventilation in their cages in order to avoid fungal issues. In Australia, good quality pellets are not easy to get hold of and they are therefore pretty expensive.
Coming onto this forum can be a bit of a culture shock for unsuspecting newbies who are not aware that of the international community!

We ask our minor members to please be not to hand out any personal details that can make them vulnerable like the age or exact locations that are not part of a large conurbation.


Thank-you so much for your information. It has been a while since I have had Cavies and I am having to relearn how to take good care of them and all the new information since last time is also pretty full on. For instance, this is the first time I have had guinea pigs live indoors with us. My whole life when we had them they would always have a cage outside on the grass and you would just put them under shelter during bad weather. To be honest our guinea pigs, despite being outdoors, never really got sick all that often and I find I am having more trouble keeping my indoors piggies healthy. Maybe it is a lack of vitamin D or the lack of fresh grass, who knows.

I didn't think I was overfeeding :/

Their diet at the moment consists of:
- Unlimited Grass Hay (unfortunately timothy hay is incredibly expensive over here, no thanks to Oxbow and their price fixing from what I have heard)
- Vetafarm Cavy Origins Pellets Vit C fortified (In a mix of my own making)
- Wheat and Chaff from the rescue they came from (In my mix *attempting to faze out*)
- Rolled Oats *half a handful* (In my mix *attempting to faze out*)
- 1 cup of veggies morning and night (although the vet said to cut back to one cup a day for a while because they were neglecting their hay from full tummies)
- Occasional fresh grass and herbs

I am attempting to faze out the wheat and chaff from the rescue and replace with more pellets because the pellets are better for them but they wont just eat them by themselves. I am also fazing out the rolled oats which I was advised by one of the rescue owners would help put Argo's weight back on after being ill, only a handful in the mix now down to half a handful.

Ideally I want them to eventually stick to Hay, pellet and veggies only diet and they will occasionally be put outside for fresh grass on days that the weather will allow.

Also, my mum keeps sometimes buying them those nasty store bought mixed chew blocks that look like something you buy for a bird, but I must let them have it because to be honest I am surprised she buys them anything at all considering that she was dead set against me having Guinea pigs again. She is not a rodent person but she seems to be warming up to them so I let them take one for the team for now she has only bought them twice. It wont kill them. I'll just gently suggest healthier treats when I can be sure she won't be offended at her very kind gesture being "rejected". Rejection is how she will take it and I will be very offended so it will take some maneuvering.
Good that you are working on the pellet front. Your boys are now both a very decent weight where you can start limiting the amount your are feeding anyway. Getting rid of the rolled oats would be really good! At the worst, you may have to go "cold turkey" with any extras. The problem with weaning off piggies is that they make a beeline for the fatty and sugary bits and leave the healthy bits to the side. Piggies are as much junk food addicts as we humans! :mal:

Otherwise, your diet sounds very healthy, so you are doing well. I wouldn't worry about meadow (UK)/orchard (US)/i.e. your grass hay; it is perfectly fine to feed. My piggies get locally sourced meadow hay and actually prefer it to timothy hay.
 

CubbyWolf46

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Thank-you for explaining, I hope I didn't sound *read* rude, I was genuinely curious about the intent of finding out my location and how it would effect people's responses. Their a are a few highly regarded exotic vets within a reasonable driving distance so if in doubt I will always take them to the vet instead of waiting for a forum response. I won't juggle the lives of my precious children *yes that is what they are to me and most people find it very disturbing but I don't really care :)*.

I have done so much reading about every aspect of guinea pigs for about a year now, I started to research out of curiosity and preparation before I even had them in my life and I have volunteered at the rescue as a foster carer now *which I may have to stop because I tend to get attached very quickly and may end up with too many guinea pigs to take care of permanently*. I have read about illness (symptoms, treatments, causes, prevention etc) and created my own guinea pig first aid kit which you would not believe how much stuff I have collected now, some of it will be used more than others I could write a list for you sometime on all of the prescription, non-prescription, first aid and natural remedies that have accumulated. Mostly because my last guinea pig I had years ago before these two boys was my everything and he became very ill very quickly and spent hundreds of dollars getting him well again only for him to die weeks after when he seemed to be getting better. I was absolutely devastated. So I thought preparedness would be helpful this time around. I hear one little sneeze and I am on it like "what was that? who did it? own up!". I don't mean to freak out :/

I know the rolled oats are too fatty, hence the weaning now that Argo is back to a borderline healthy weight. I was originally feeding my boys the meadow hay from the rescue they came from but to be honest it was damp inside and prone to mold which I brought up with them and they said "it just comes that way" so I went to a local produce and bought a bale of grass hay instead. I store the bulk of it in a shed on a tarp so no moisture is collecting and the immediate use hay is in a small bin next to the gp cage and another bin filled with feed bags.

I couldn't believe it when I heard that Oxbow has been price-fixing over here, a local place was told by them to up the price and make their products more expensive because other local places were complaining that their business was being taken away due to his lower prices. So he stopped selling their products and reported them to fair trading. I know their products are the best and they know it too but I'll be damned if I am going to buy anything of theirs if they are price fixing. Never. I will not support that kind of corruption.
 

Wiebke

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What you are prone to is called "joining the FF (failed fosters) club", i.e. those people who get too attached to a foster piggy. My temporary foster pig Maelog/Mallow became a permanent sanctuary foster when he and this then sow-wife would have otherwise had to be rehomed. In his case, it was my hub who caved in and offered that I could keep them as long as they fit in with one my existing groups.

The policy on this forum is to work through vets and to not home treat on spec. Vet care has made huge advances in the last few years (in that respect it is very much an exciting time), so we prefer to use a qualified diagnosis as well as proper meds and good quality treatments first and foremost. There are very stark limits to what we can do over the internet and none of us is a qualified vet. Sadly, all the vet care in the world cannot save every life. Guinea pigs are at the end some pretty small and fragile pets. :(

You are welcome to post a tribute to any past piggies of yours in our Rainbow Bridge section.
 

CubbyWolf46

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I will always go through the vets for signs of serious illness.

My first aid kit ranges from betadine to wormers to anti-fungal creams to guinea pig approved antibiotics stored for safe-keeping which will only be used on a vet's say so. I even have Berocca in there for vitamin boosts, pro-biotics for when/if antibiotic use and even some electrolyte replacement powder in case of emergency dehydration. I also recently picked up some simethicone and buscopan for bloating (which was a lifesaver for a foster pig I had who had some pretty bad bloating on the first few nights at my home possibly from a slight diet change *he had some fresh grass for once in his life* I sat there half the night patting his back until he released gas and did a big clump of poops and then he was back to normal). I have already consulted my vet on at home dosages and have them writtin on a notepad stored with the first aid kit.

I am all set and ready. Just to soothe your concern I would never use a drug on my guinea pigs that I am unsure about or have no been vet approved. I took my kit with me to my last vet visit and went through all of the remedies I had accumulated and what/when to use them.

Just staying prepared for anything. I will never lose another one. It hurts too much :(
 
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