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Guinea Pigs/Guinea Pig Not Eating or Drinking, Making Painful Noises


My male guinea pig is about a year old and normally friendly and engaged with us. Two days ago, he stopped eating and drinking water, even his favorite veggie snacks! He keeps making noises that sound just awful. Almost like wheeking but but we can tell he is in pain. He hunches his back while he does it. His coat is also a bit puffed up. He has had diarrhea and today he became pooping out something that looks glue-like, it feels sticky and is clear. We are so worried about him but due to our financial situation, we are unable to take our sweet Louie to the vet. My husband and I are doing what we can, trying to keep him comfortable and handfeeding him water and a carrot and timothy hay mix puree. We just don't know what else to do! The glue substance is especially a mystery. Any idea what is going on?

First let me apologize for the delay in the answer to your question. I thought I'd sent it but apparently didn't hit the send button hard enough.

The posturing that he's doing is indicative of an animal with a bowel obstruction of some kind. He's in pain. Diarrhea happens even with humans when there's an obstruction because the liquid just makes its way around the blockage.

Don't apologize for your financial considerations. Let me assure you that no matter how much money you spent on him for this you would not be able to make him well. He's exhibiting signs of getting ready to leave you. The fluffing up of the coat is classic of the hours before death.

That whitish gluey looking stuff is semen. When an animal (and many times with humans) is getting ready to pass the body 'cleanses' itself of everything that's inside. You've done all you can do, and I'm fairly sure that by the time you read this he will have already gone.

We don't know why these things happen and unlike cats and dogs guinea pigs are very stoic about their illness until it's almost always too late. So please don't hold onto any guilt that you could have or should have done x, y or z.  It's so painful to watch our pets suffer and we're so helpless to do anything for them. Your actions or inaction would have made no change.

In all the years I've raised cavies I've tried everything humanly possible to reverse the inevitable. Most of the time I prolonged their death, not their lives. So please just know that my heart goes out to you and your husband, but you've done nothing wrong. This is just how nature is with some things and we're not supposed to be interfering.  

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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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