Guinea Pigs/guineapig

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Question
QUESTION: what do I do if the mom guinea pig(teddy bear)wontfeed the baby(bella)

ANSWER: The information you've given me isn't a lot but I will do my best to try to help you.  There are a couple of key questions:  1. Is this a newborn?  2. How old is the baby?

If this is a newborn and the sow has just given birth she will not nurse the baby until she has completely emptied her uterus of all the remaining babies or afterbirths. I've had sows that went 12 hours without nursing her pups, and the pups did not suffer. Once she has emptied out all the contents of what we call products of conception her body will produce the hormones necessary to bring her milk down. Then the babies are allowed to nurse.

If this baby is older than a couple of weeks it may be eating on its own. Sometimes a sow will develop mastitis, an infection in the breasts, and it's too painful to nurse her babies. This usually happens only when pups have been separated too early and the mother was not able to empty her milk supply.

If this is a freshly born newborn I would recommend you don't intervene. Allow her to do what she knows to do. Trying to force feed a newborn usually ends up in the death of the baby, as they aspirate the feeding into the lungs.

I don't know if this will help you, but if you could give me a bit more information I may be able to help with more detail.

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

QUESTION: the baby was born yestetday morning. And is it possebly for a mom to be afraid of her newborn?

Answer
No, mom is not afraid of her newborn. If she's not nursing the baby there is something wrong. She may have a retained placenta, that's an afterbirth that hasn't passed. If you know anyone that has a guinea pig with a litter see if you can find someone to foster this baby.

Check the mom to see if she has any discharge. She shouldn't have any after this long, but if she does that means she's still got something in there. If she doesn't pass it she will become toxic and die. You're at a critical point right now to save the baby.

If you are positive that baby isn't eating, and if mom is staying away from it you may have to try to feed it. But whatever you do, DO NOT get a syringe and push fluid into the baby's mouth. You can use some baby formula, a sow based type. Use an eyedropper, or if you can get a syringe this is what you do:

Draw up a little of the formula. This is important: DROP a drop of it near the baby's mouth. You can let it dribble down the side of the mouth, but avoid getting it in the nose. Hopefully the pup will lick it. You'll have to have patience to do this, but once he learns that is food he may start lapping it up.

The problem is that a baby guinea pig nurses about every hour, around the clock.  If you are able to find someone in the family to help you do this you may be able to save him. After about four days you can put some formula in the mother's drinking bottle. They will drink from a water bottle when less than a week old, but usually see the mother doing it and copy her.

You can't leave formula in the bottle for more than a couple of hours. You don't want it to sour. The baby will also need a water bottle as well.

Good luck to you. Please keep me posted on how things are going. Your best bet is to find a sow with a litter to foster this baby. If they have a litter less than a week old they will usually take on an orphaned baby.  

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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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