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Guinea Pigs/Sick Guinea pig


I am reaching out to you for advice with my Guinea pig, Mr. Oscar.  I took him to the vet yesterday and am feeding him critical care food with a syringe.  The vet took xrays and said it showed that he had some overgrowth of bone in his mouth, he called them "bone spurs" but he wasn't sure if this was the issue.  He also appeared to have a teeny tiny white dot near his kidneys and the doctor said that could possibly be a kidney stone.  Again, he wasn't 100% sure.  He didn't seem to be sure of anything.   Before taking my Guinea pig to the vet, he had lost a lot of weight, quit drinking or eating on his own, stopped moving around or talking and his eyes were very sunken in.  He also had an anal impaction and my husband did the extraction.  The day after that he had bad diarrhea.   The vet said he was extremely dehydrated.  He has now started to have some solid poops but very little.   I feed him with the syringe and he drinks water when I hold it to his mouth but won't go to get water on his own.  His eyes are also still crusty and sunken in.  I really just don't know what to do, I was wondering if you could help me and give me the best advice to nurse my baby back to good health.  I don't want to loose him!

Thank you

I understand and believe me I do sympathize. Not many vets are cavy knowledgeable. Guinea pigs are unfortunately not a big industry such as dogs, cats and even rabbits. Most vets seldom ever have the opportunity to treat. This of course is not their fault.

Overgrown teeth are a common problem in older pigs. The fronts are easy to see, but the back teeth are impossible without the right tools to keep the mouth open enough to see. They cannot grind their food if there a malocclusion and the result is slow starvation. As the body becomes starved for nutrients dehydration quickly follows.

Critical care is a good product. It's much like Ensure is for humans. It contains the nutrients their body needs. Unfortunately they quickly go into renal (kidney) failure once dehydrated and it's nearly impossible to turn that around.

The sunken eyes are a red flag. If the digestive system is not functioning you see diarrhea. This is a gravely ill pig and I would give anything to give you a magic formula to turn this around. My feeling is that he's already suffering renal problems and yes, he could possibly have stone. Kidney stones are not as common in guinea pigs as bladder stones, but they can happen.

Please accept my apologies for not being able to offer you any real hope. I would be remiss in my responsibility if I mislead you. It sounds as though his time is very near, perhaps just a few more days.  I am so sorry.

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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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