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Help! My piggie is ill again!

(28 Posts)
Sawdust Tue 01-Oct-13 21:03:23

I had a bit of a rough time with my piggies this summer. First one of them got an abscess in her mouth. This was opened from the outside and left to drain. It took about 2 weeks of syringe feeding, washing the wound and keeping it open to drain before she even started eating again. She was 650g at one point (and 4 years old) when she used to be more than a kilo. But she recovered.

Then (co-incindentally, the vet assures me) my other pig became ill. The stress may not have helped. Despite much syringe feeding, drugs of all kinds and all the TLC I could give, she died.

Since then we have got 2 new friends for the first pig, her weight has gone back up to 850g and she has done really well. Until now.

The wound is weeping (though not much). There is no lump like before, but she is having a lot of trouble eating and her weight is falling again. I have taken her back to the vet, who has given some antibiotics but she is now only eating grass of parsley confused. I will take her back tomorrow, as despite the antibiotics she is really struggling physically to eat. She is still obviously hungry though, which is heartbreaking. I still have some critical care left over from when I was 'nursing' my other pig so she has had some of that, and an evening of sitting on my lap being hand-fed parsley.

Any thought as to what more I can do?

Thanks in advance for reading through this.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Tue 01-Oct-13 21:26:54

Did they look at her teeth?
Her back teeth will need a retractor to check.
There might be a broken or sharp one?

Has she got probiotics? (You can make a probiotic Emergency Ration with the pooh from a healthy guinea-pig. Don't know if it's the first or 2nd passing. The soft eating ones would have more nutrients though). Google probiotics for guineas, I didn't dream it up wink

Antibiotics can leave her feeling rough (they do in humans, Nausea/Vomiting in people, guineas can't though)

My GP1 lost weight over the summer (he lost GP2, gained GP3 , had to endure heat he wasn't used to and went for a weeks holiday) so it's all taken it's toll on him (he's 3yo this month)

But in all this time (and now he;'s putting his weight back on and getting pear shaped again) he's never stopped eating.
He's first to the food bowl.

If it's a non eating issue then I'd suspect teeth foremost.(It sounds like she wants to eat though)

Good Luck at the vets.

FernieB Tue 01-Oct-13 21:28:31

No advice really - it sounds like you are doing everything right. Poor piggy. I hope she's okay. Will be thinking of you both.

FernieB Tue 01-Oct-13 21:31:30

70 - your advice gets more interesting every time. I'm not likely to forget DIY probiotics for pigs now. Does that really work? Suppose it must as they scoff poops like rabbits do - would never have thought of it myself.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Tue 01-Oct-13 21:45:35

I haven't tried the other guinea pooh treatment (when GP2 had antibiotics he had probiotics too- as in probiotics in a sachet )
but they were brothers so they shared grin

I'm going to see if I can find it, but I'm a bit scared to Google Guinea-Pig Pooh just in case

Sawdust Tue 01-Oct-13 21:46:48

Thank you for your replies and good wishes! Yes, I am adding probiotics to food, and now mixing it into the critical care that I am supplementing her food (well, parsley grin) with.

I agree it's not in a pig's nature to stop eating, and she's still trying, which is what is so heartbreaking. She sniffs at it, puts her mouth around it, licks it, even, but doesn't actually manage to eat it.

I also agree that looking back in the mouth is the next step - they didn't before, concentrating instead on the wound. She was eating normally at the time, so I suppose there was no need to. I have to say though, I have spend an absolute fortune at the vet's in the last few months. It has caused a few cross words from my husband, and I can see his point.

I just feel so utterly despondent that yet again I am faced with a piggy who won't eat. sad

guineapiglet Wed 02-Oct-13 11:27:15

Very sorry to hear about your guinea, I know just how you feel, you want to help so much, but watching them not eat is heartbreaking. Do get her mouth checked out and try liquidising her food, you may need to keep syringe feeding, to keep her strength up. I really think vets need to get a grip with their charges, it is these that are causing many people to give up on their pets and dump them in rescues or worse. What else can you do? If you have a pet, you can't watch it suffer, but I do think that some vets are having a laugh with their charges and the things they are willing to put small pets through.

The sad and simple fact is that if she doesnt eat, she will go downhill quickly, so she needs a check up, and any type of food to tempt her, with ours it was usually cucumber, or dandelions, something to get her energy up. It is a tough call, and sending you and her lots of good wishes, really hope she starts to pick up. smile

fortifiedwithtea Wed 02-Oct-13 12:01:41

It the first time round the block soft poo only shock Don't try and feed her the ones laying around the hutch yikes! 70 is not dreaming it, sick piggies will nosh on a friend's soft poo but they take it from source. Nose to bum image.

If you use pellets such as Burgess Excel, its worth mixing them up with a little warm water and spoon feeding. This worked for OB when he had tooth trouble, he wanted to eat and was hungry but his mouth was too sore to chew.

Thinking of you and hoping for a happy outcome.

Sawdust Wed 02-Oct-13 20:49:44

Thank you for your support! Well, I took her back to the vet, and I have some more antibiotics and some stuff to keep the guts going. The vet looked in the mouth but couldn't see anything due to the parsley (!) I asked whether it could be pain causing her not to eat hard things - probably.

So I shall continue to force feed parsley (do I hear any other pigs squeaking with envy there!) and top up with the critical care.

She is worth it though!

70isaLimitNotaTarget Wed 02-Oct-13 20:57:40

When I took GP2 to the vet, he swabbed his mouth out with a wet cotton bud then took him to another room to check his teeth (I don't think it's something an owner wants to watch but TBH GP2 wasn't up for fighting back)

Keep shovelling the Critical Care into her or mashed up pellets.
Maybe Vitamin C in water syringed in (you can get syringes in Calpol) an ill GP needs more Vit C.

My GP1 can't believe that any guinea needs force to eat parsley but he sends his guinea love.

(It's a bit like having a sick child to tend) sad

Sparrowfarts Wed 02-Oct-13 20:58:32

If you're in the Midlands, I know someone who could almost certainly help your pig. He'd certainly take the parsley out of her mouth so be could see!

FernieB Wed 02-Oct-13 21:31:16

My GPs would be only too happy to take the parsley out of her mouth. Whenever they go to the vets they have their jaws yanked open and lights are shone down despite their protests and attempted biting.

Hope things go well and that she perks up soon.

dietcokeandwine Thu 03-Oct-13 22:52:15

Sawdust we had a very similar situation with our ginger pig this summer - weight loss, general poorliness and only able to tolerate grass and parsley type foods. Turned out it was a tooth issue. Piggy would categorically not tolerate vet looking in his mouth so we ended up having him anaesthetised so vet could investigate properly...was worth it though because he discovered that our poor little guinea had a really sharp tooth sticking out that was clearly causing a lot of pain. Tooth was burred down and vet filed his back teeth down a little too. That night ginger pig devoured carrot, cucumber, celery etc - all the stuff he hadn't managed for days - and he never looked back, he is fine now. Definitely worth getting her mouth checked out properly as it may well be a similar thing for your little pig. Good luck.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Fri 04-Oct-13 00:01:17


Good to hear GingerPig is doing well dietcoke and enjoying his food again. smile

Sawdust Sat 05-Oct-13 11:31:21

Dietcoke - thank you, that is worth keeping in mind. I think it is likely to be the wound on the side of her mouth causing the pain, since her teeth were trimmed when the abscess was dealt with a few months ago. However, if she doesn't start eating more 'hard food' soon, I'll go back to get them looked at again. At £45 a go though, and with many hundreds of pounds spent on vets bills in the last 6 months, I am hoping this will clear on its own!!

I think we may have turned a corner. She is eating a bit more on her own, starting to have a go at harder foods and is actually putting on weight again. She's still not eating normally, but an improvement. The wound is not leaking puss at the moment either, so obviously the infection is under control.

Thank you for all your comments. They have been very helpful and reassuring! Even the poo ones grin

FernieB Sat 05-Oct-13 17:23:28

Glad she seems to be on the up - here's hoping she continues munching.

dietcokeandwine Sat 05-Oct-13 20:08:32

So glad to hear things are improving sawdust, and fingers crossed all continues to do well. I know what you mean re vet bills. I have spent a fortune on my two this year!

70-thank you, was such a relief to get ginger pig back to his greedy little self!

Sawdust Fri 11-Oct-13 15:02:55

I had no idea life with guineas could be such a roller coaster! The infection is worse, and now she is barely eating or pooing! Of course, I have has gone back to the vet, but it isn't looking good. Lots of syringe feeding and hoping for the best! sad

70isaLimitNotaTarget Fri 11-Oct-13 15:19:00

Oh, dear sad

When they stop eaing and drinking / poohing and peeing unfortunately , with guinea-pigs...

(Words this very carefully )

Well she might have got to The End of Her Road and be putting her paw onto The Rainbow Bridge sad

Is it time to let her go ?

Sawdust Fri 11-Oct-13 16:39:19

I think we may be getting there sad.

I have some drugs to get her gut going again, but that won't treat the underlying cause. One last shot, I think.

Thanks for your careful wording - made me smile!

FernieB Fri 11-Oct-13 17:29:25

Thinking of you and your poorly piggie Sawdust. It's a difficult time and always hard to know what to do for the best. Sending you both hugs (smelly, tomatoey dribbly hugs from my boys).

guineapiglet Fri 11-Oct-13 19:05:31

Sorry to hear she isn't doing too well, it is heartbreaking watching them when they are struggling and we are all sending kind thoughts and vibes for her. Make her as warm and comfortable as possible, lots of water to sup if she can tolerate it, just be around so she knows you are rooting for her. A nice fresh hay bed might be comfortable for her - thinking of you.

guineapiglet Fri 11-Oct-13 19:07:27

PS I know what you mean about a 'roller coaster' - they do have us wrapped around their little paws. But they are so damned cute smile

noyouhavehadawee Sat 12-Oct-13 17:50:49

How is she doing today? smile

Sawdust Sun 13-Oct-13 20:39:58

Thanks for asking! I am daring to hope that having glimpsed the rainbow, as 70 so beautifully put it grin, she has decided to turn her back on it!

Yesterday she ate a load of spinach, parlsey and dandelion leaves. Seeing the others tuck into the enormous mound that I put in front of her seemed to give her the kick up the bum she needed! I assume also that the drugs to get her guts going again have had an effect, because there has been plenty of rear end evidence as well!!

Best of all, today she had a little munch on a chunk of celery which she hasn't eaten for a couple of weeks, it being one of the 'harder' foods that she's had trouble with. There is less puss from the infected wound as well. I couldn't be happier!

I did some very clutching-at-straws googling and discovered that baytril, the antibiotic that she is taking, can sometimes cause their digestion problems since it kills the good bacteria in their guts. I have started giving her the probiotics at a different time of day, hoping this will make a difference. Has anyone else had any experience of this? It seems to make sense but then if that were true I would expect the vet to have warned me about it.

Sorry for the huge post - so very happy!!!!! grin grin grin

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