Guinea Pigs/digestion

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Question
Hello, I would be grateful, if you could help me in the following situation. my guinea pig hasnt really pooped for some time (2 days)even though he has eaten rather normally. he makes only few small poops. He is a little less active than normally. I dont know what the cause might be, hasnt changed his diet recently. he is about 6 years old. His tummy is flat and soft to touch (not hard or so). Could it be a problems with probiotics? If yes, how can I supply them? Would normal human probiotics (in capsules) work? I have to say that where I live vet care for guinea pigs is absolutely insufficient, the doctors know a lot about dogs and cats but they now very little about guinea pigs and very probably have no other medication, just human or cat/dog treatments. So only going to the vet might not really help. Please help, I am worried, it has never happened to him.

Answer
You're not alone in being unable to find vets who are knowledgeable about guinea pigs. Very few really are.

At six years old your little fellow is an old man by guinea pig standards. The average life span is 4-5 years, although some do make it much farther. I'm not sure there's any indication for probiotics. We typically don't give those unless the pig is on antibiotics.

He may just be exhibiting signs of old age. At a certain point they are less active, eat less than normal and naturally do not poo as often. The best indicator of any pig's health is their appetite. When they don't feel well they stop eating and drinking. So if he's eating normally I don't think there's anything you can actually fix. Even though his poo is small, it is present. So we know he does not have any kind of blockage.

You might try giving him some extra lettuce. Wash it well before you feed it to him and give hit to him wet. The extra liquid sometimes helps the digestive tract to move better. I would not give him any kind of medication, not even probiotics. There really doesn't seem to be anything you're describing that sounds like he's ill.  

Guinea pigs age much as any other animal or human does. As we get old we don't move as much and we don't eat as much. It's just part of the aging process.  

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Pat VanAllen

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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.

Experience

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.

Organizations
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.

Education/Credentials
Graduate in nursing. Certified in emergency medicine.

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