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Guinea Pigs/guinea pig wont eat


My usually active Piggie has stopped eating...he's almost 4, usually eats all day off and on...but now hasn't eaten in a couple of days, bairly drinks, won't take a treat, and hasn't gone to the bathroom, and has a rapaid breathing pattern now...and won't come out of his house...still responds when I call him but won't really move...I hear him being restless in his house but that's about it...are we losing our little guy?...I can't afford a vet...any advise would be appreciated.. thank you

I'm so sorry you're having to go through this, and moreover I must confess I hate having to answer this type of question, not because I'm uncomfortable answering but because there isn't good news to give you.

Four is not a really old pig, but just as in humans some age much faster than others. The average life span is only about 5 years.  There are the rare cases where a pig has lived for 7 or 8 years, but that is not the norm. The first sign of problems is loss of appetite and refusal to drink. In all probability by the time you read this he will have already gone.

Even a vet could have no impact or change the inevitable in a situation such as this. Once they stop eating and drinking their kidneys and liver rapidly go into failure. He hasn't passed any stool because his gut is empty.

This isn't anything that you could have had any effect on. It's simply the way nature is. Animals for the most part know when their time has come, and for your little guy his time is now. I'm so sorry I couldn't say something that would make you feel better, but I would be doing you and him a disservice to try to make it sound like there's something you can do.

If you want to bury him the best way is to put him in the ground without any wrapping, plastic bag, etc. That way the body doesn't rot, it decomposes naturally. I've laid many of mine to rest over the years and have some rose bushes that are planted around them. That way you have a living memory to keep.

Again I am sorry I cannot give you more positive news.  

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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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