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Question
My guinea pig won't eat and my mom doesn't want to bring him to a vet because we don't have extra money what can I do

Answer
First Michayla let me apologize for not opening this sooner. I'm afraid you're not giving me much information other than your pig won't eat. I understand your mom's reluctance to take him to a vet. There's really not much more the vet can do without a bit more in the way of symptoms.

I'd like to know how old your pig is? As a general rule the life span of a guinea pig is often no more than 4 to 5 years old, and often not even that. And many times the first symptom we see of a pig that is getting ready to cross the rainbow bridge is a loss of appetite.

Try offering him lettuce. Wet it a bit before you put it in the cage. You want him to get the hydration he needs. I'm afraid that he may be quite ill if he's stopped eating altogether, and once they've gotten to that point it's very difficult if not impossible to turn them around. Their body systems such as liver and kidneys begin to shut down quickly.

So please don't fault your mom too badly for being concerned about the cost of veterinary care. It's been my experience that in most cases a vet is just as in the dark about what the case is as the rest of us. They usually want to give antibiotics because they're really not sure what else to do, and seldom will they tell an owner that their beloved pet may be beyond help.

Guinea pigs do not tolerate antibiotics well, and too often they succumb to the treatment rather than the reason it was given.  I wish I had something more hopeful to tell you, but just based on his loss of appetite my intuition and experience tells me he is far more past the point of help than we can give.

I'm sure that doesn't comfort you as I know you're hoping I can say something that will magically make him better. But I would be doing wrong to tell you that I know just what to do and how to make him better.  

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Pat VanAllen

Expertise

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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