Guinea Pigs/Guinea pig

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Question
Hi!

My Guinea pig is about 5 yrs old and he has stopped eating veggies and he usually loves them!  It's been 2 days now.  Also, wse continue to squeeze out big lumps of poop from his behind. I know that is normal in older guinea pigs but wasn't sure if him not eating veggies is related to that or maybe his teeth are too long?

THanks for the help!

Kelly Buccino

Answer
Pouch impaction
Pouch impaction  

Flushing out the pouch
Flushing out the pouch  
We call this an impaction but that's not really an accurate clinical description of what is happening. With a true impaction stool cannot pass out of the intestines, causing a back up that eventually gets back into the stomach. This is a life threatening condition and is usually corrected surgically.

In guinea pigs it's not a true impaction. Just a buildup of stool that can't get completely out. It is not in the intestines at all, but rather is stuck in the little area known as the pouch.

This is a common thing with older boars and it has nothing to do with his veggies or his teeth. As they age the boars lose some of their muscle tone and are unable to push the buildup of stool out of the pouch that is located between the testicles. The stool builds up and because of their body heat the buildup stays warm and soft, making it even more difficult to move. As the pig passes more little poos it gets mushed up in that ball and the buildup continues.

It's an easy fix. What you'll need to do is flush out the pouch using warm running water. I've attached a couple of pictures for you so you can get an idea of what you're doing. The water needs to be running just hard enough that it can get behind the stool and into the pouch. It will flush out the wad of poo and usually causes it to break apart as the water hits it.

Do not try to use a Q tip or anything else to pry it out. Those tissues are delicate and you can hurt him. As boars age the scrotum tends to hang farther away from the body making it easier for stool to get stuck in there. Once you've got the pouch cleaned out you can put a drop or two of oil into the pouch to help keep the stool moving as he passes it. You can use baby oil, mineral oil or even vegetable oil. It doesn't take much.

You will probably have to do this weekly but once you've got it cleaned out it's much easier to keep it that way.

You can see by the pictures where this pouch is and usually the stool build up is easily visible. In longhaired pigs it's a bigger problem because it gets caught in the hair.

Hope this helps you correct the problem. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions. That's what I'm here for.

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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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