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Guinea Pigs/Guinea pig problems, perhaps constipation?


QUESTION: I wonder if you can offer some advice, basically, my guinea pig Brownie, a male, about 11 months old, seemed lethargic yesterday and hasn't drunk at all from his bottle for about 36 hours, although I have been hydrating him by manually giving him water through a syringe. I don't think he has been pooing or urinating yesterday either, although today I have witnessed him producing really small poos (don't know about urinating, I think he may have though), his poo was nothing like the normal size he normally does, but all the same, I'm glad he's been. He's not as lethargic as he was yesterday and his appetite has definitely improved, I'm just waiting for him to get back to drinking from his bottle. It's weird that he's suddenly stopped drinking from his bottle because he's normally on it non-stop, he LOVES the sound! ;D Do you think it's possible that he could just have an upset stomach and will get better over time? He's definitely getting perkier as time goes on, we also gave him some olive oil earlier to encourage him to poo, because I noticed that the poos that he is producing are extremely hard. So yeah, what would you suggest? Thank you :)

ANSWER: I would check that water bottle spout and make sure it's not stuck so he can't get the water out of it. I've had that happen in my own pigs. Just tap the ball on the bottle and be sure there is water coming out when you do.

In place of water you can offer him frequent pieces of lettuce. That's excellent for hydration and is usually easy to get the pigs to eat. That will also take care of any constipation issue if there is one.

The hard poo may be from lack of water in his system. Lettuce and fruits will help replace that water that's necessary to make the bowel move easily. Hopefully within a day or so he will return to normal.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for replying, unfortunately he's gotten a lot worse, I took him to the vet today and they gave him some injections to help him urinate and poo, but he has done neither for countless hours. He isn't holding any food or water down, simply just throwing it all back up, :( He's going back to the vet tomorrow but I'm not sure if he'll make it through the night. :( What do you think could be wrong with him? I'm thinking kidney / bowel failure?!?! ;'(

When a guinea pig gets stressed from illness, heat stroke, etc. they do quickly go into renal (kidney) failure. Dehydration will do the same thing to them, and since he's not been drinking that's probably what's going on. Poor little guy will most likely not suffer much longer and may have already passed away. I'm so sorry for the loss. There are some things that we just can't change no matter how hard we try, and this is one of them.  

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Pat VanAllen


As is sometimes the case, people in urgent need of information have a higher degree of expectation than those of us as experts are able to give. The experts on this site do their best to give the most accurate and responsible answers possible. We ask that you remember that it is not our intention nor place to criticize the professional advice given by your veterinarian, nor is it appropriate for us to comment on the correctness of a diagnosis made by a licensed physician. Our knowledge is experience based. Although many years of breeding and showing cavies gives me a wealth of experience it cannot change the fact that we as experts are not veterinarians and therefore may occasionally have to reject questions that appear to be asking us to criticize advice given by the licensed professional. Having raised and exhibited cavies for many years I have extensive experience in cavy care and husbandry. I currently have an active breeding program for pedigreed show animals but do not encourage backyard breeding for inexperienced owners. Although I don't encourage breeding for fun I'm always happy to answer any questions from an owner who is in sincere need of help. Pet owners wanting to breed should understand that even experienced breeders have litter losses. The mortality rate is high in cavies. The chance for losing both sow and pups is always present, even with experience. Although this is a site for experts to assist owners, there is no expert in any field who has all the answers. The wisest thing a good expert can know is their limitations. Not having an answer does not diminish one's ability or knowledge. It simply shows that we recognize our limitations and operate within them.


Raised and shown cavies for many years, having aquired my first cavies in the early 1970's as pets. My caviary currently handles 65 + animals in two different breeds and several varieties. Having been in the health care industry as a licensed nurse for 35 years I have hands on experience with care and needs in both humans and cavies. Member of American Rabbit Breeders Association and American Cavy Breeders Association.

Awarded Lifetime Membership in of one of the oldest cavy clubs in the United States, on whose Board I served as Sec/Treas for six years and currently serving as President. Also editor/publisher of the club's quarterly newsletter. We are strong supporters of our youth exhibitors, most of whom are 4H members who are working on cavy projects. Through these projects they become good responsible citizens. We deal with all aspects of showing, breeding, caring for and sharing experiences in the fancy. The cavy fancy is not a new one but in some areas is still relatively unknown. Our goal is to inspire interest in high quality, responsible breeding to improve the species, not just the reproduction of guinea pigs. Our job is to educate owners to help them make the right decisions and choices in the care of their cavies.

Graduate in nursing. Certified in emergency medicine.

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