How long to continue force feeding?

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Post   » Sun Mar 31, 2002 11:19 am

Hello all... I´m new here. Just discovered your fabulous site yesterday in a desperate attempt to find information for our little sweetie Posey -- short hair girl piggy.

Posey is 3 years old and recently started dropping weight, too much weight. When we took her in to the vet on Wednesday of last week they discovered that her molars were beginning to over grow from lack of Timothy Hay in her diet. The vet trimmed her molars and feels that Posey should recover.

However, by mid-Thursday Posey was still refusing to eat so we began force-feedings of babyfood carrots and rehydrated pellets. 10 cc 4 times a day.

Yesterday she seemed to be making "attempts" to nibble on some kale and a carrot, but not enough to satisfy me. So I took her to the vet again and sure enough she had lost more weight. The vet told me to up the force-feedings to every 2-3 hours. She examined Posey´s mouth to make sure it wasn´t sore from the molar trim and said the inside of her mouth looked good.

This morning I noticed Posey feeling perky (she was banging her little hutch around her cage like when she´s feeling good!) I also noticed that the 3" piece of carrot and the leaf of kale that was in her cage at 11:00 pm last night was totally GONE! Which I also take as a good sign.

However... she still is making no attempts at all to eat any hay or pellets.

My vet is not open on Sundays, so here I am asking you fellow piggy-lovers... should I continue to force-feed Posey if she seems to be making a cheerful attempt at eating on her own? I hesitate because she is so thin and can´t afford to lose anymore weight.

I´m open to any suggestions. I´m still dealing with the guilt of being totally ignorant of piggies needing Timothy Hay... I thought fresh veggies, pellets and water with Vit C was a good diet for piggies. I´ve been hovering over Posey for a week now, not even leaving the house except for Vet visits.

Thanks everyone.

~~Catherine, up here in Canada

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Post   » Sun Mar 31, 2002 11:21 am

Catherine, try reading the "What is a?....." thread under the Emergency Medical forum. It is a long thread of posts, but I believe there is quite a bit of discussion on force feeding.

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Post   » Sun Mar 31, 2002 11:52 am

Thanks so much... I´ve just read through the entire thread (whew!) and it was VERY helpful! I looked at it initially and didn´t continue because I thought it was about lumps and surgery.

Posey is doing better... I was glad to see that I could be looking at feeding her for a couple of weeks. I was worried that there might be a limit to how long a piggy can be force fed.

I was also worried about feeding her 10 cc´s every 2 to 3 hours. Posey is a tiny pig even when she is healthy, so all that food in the syringe looked like SO much for her! But she eats it happily, no struggle.

She is just disinterested in the pellets and hay, which I know she needs.

I´ll continue to feed her as is then. She goes for a "weigh-in" tomorrow, so hopefully the scales will show an increase (man, I wish that was MY problem! LOL!)

Thanks again!


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Post   » Sun Mar 31, 2002 12:54 pm

Hi Catherine,

I just wanted to say, welcome to the board, you´ll learn loads of things you never thought was possible with Guineas and meet some wonderful people too !!!

My main peice of advice is hang in there. I weigh Piggie and Bramble every time I feed. Do not be alarmed if the weight drops a few grams here and there. Remember they do need to pass urine and droppings and all that weighs. It´s so easy to panic over the weight loss. But if you want to know how much droppings actually weigh, try hanging on to a couple and weigh them. You´ll soon get an idea of what is drastic weight loss and what is normal !!!

I did feed over night in the intial stages, as you will have read, but now I´ve stopped that, and their weights are holding steady. I still feed three times a day ( Piggie ate a whole handful of hard mix today...finally...yay !!! ).

Try offering fresh grass that has had no chemical feeding, if you can get it, but also try a slice of cucumber, or brocolli, and other such vegetables. It won´t be easy, but I´m sure you´ll get there. Hope Posey is ok. Take care, and good luck !!!

Peace, Love, and Happiness, Always

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Post   » Mon Apr 01, 2002 9:20 am


Finally ...a few droppings!!! (Only a mother can get excited about poop, eh? LOL!)

Posey is continuing to help herself to carrot and kale, but ignores everything else. She likes the Baytril the Vet has her on... and believe it or not she doesn´t mind the force-feedings! I swear I have an angel pig here.

I was relieved to read on one of the pages from the Guinea Lynx Links page that it is normal for piggies to have a sore mouth after their teeth have been trimmed. Makes sense, my mouth is sore for days after I go to the dentist. Our vet has been wonderful, and everything she has done for Posey has been backed up by what I´ve read on these pages here (which is a relief, I´ve also read some nightmare Vet stories here too!) Her only misconception was when she said the tooth trim wouldn´t hurt Posey. Obviously it DID hurt because Posey stopped eating.

So... she´s already had her brekkie. I´ve got 2 hours to myself. Man it´s like my twins are babies again!

I never though I´d say this, but thank goodness I´m not working right now. I´d be a basket case at work worrying about Posey at home not eating!

Thanks again everyone. Good morning to you all....


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Post   » Mon Apr 01, 2002 9:35 am

Sorry I missed this. I take it you also noted pain medication can help after the teeth are trimmed and that (if you read the article on Hand Feeding in Guinea Lynx) it´s important to feed abrasive material like softened pellets so the teeth don´t overgrow from feeding food that is too soft instead.

Get a scale so you can keep track of things. Weighing at regular times may help to ensure your pig is getting enough. Look into Critical Care by Oxbow hay company (see the Hand Feeding article). What did your vet tell you about why the teeth were over grown? Is there something that can be corrected?

Anyway, good luck. Keep up the feeding and hope things turn around and level out.


Post   » Mon Apr 01, 2002 1:01 pm

Welcome, Poseylover. If that´s Posey in your avatar, she´s very cute.

Lynx, I think you may have missed the part where Poseylover said Posey hadn´t been getting hay previously. That would account for the overgrown molars, hopefully that´s all it was.

I´ve found my pigs actually enjoy meds and syringe feeding too. Through hand feeding one for a week or so, I discovered we developed a special bond that has continued ever since. I hesitate to label it "gratitude", but we seem to understand each other much better as a result.

Good luck with Posey. I´m very glad you found this site. The information on hand feeding in the Guinea Lynx medical guide saved my pig´s life.

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Post   » Mon Apr 01, 2002 3:26 pm

HI again...

Yes, pigpal is right... Posey´s teeth were overgrown from lack of hay in her diet. The Vet is very optimistic that her teeth were caught in time and that Posey still has a few good years ahead of her. However she dropped a lot of weight before we realized what was going on and given that she is tiny to begin with, she can´t afford to lose anymore.

They gave her pain relief the day after the molar trimming (last Thursday), and she began eating the next day. However she will only nibble on carrots and kale right now. No hay and no pellets.

So I am supplementing her diet with pureed carrots (higher in calories) and rehydrated pellets and extra Vit. C. She gets 10 cc of this guck every 2 hours. As I said, she is such a little doll, she simply cuddles in my lap and eats from the syringe.

I fed her 10 minutes ago and just peeked in on her and she is happily munching on kale right now as I type.

I´m hoping she´ll start munching on some hay and pellets soon. I´m very pleased with the shape and texture of her poops this morning. Much better than yesterday, they were a little sticky and malformed, the day before that they were non-existant. But today, much better!

Thanks again everyone.

Last edited by Poseylover on Mon Apr 01, 2002 3:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post   » Tue Apr 02, 2002 8:58 pm

YAY! Posey is eating hay!!!! YAY!

...thought I´d let you all know.

~~Catherine, doing a happy dance

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Post   » Tue Apr 02, 2002 10:19 pm

That´s great! I hope she keeps it up.


Post   » Wed Apr 03, 2002 8:16 am

I don´t believe carrots are really high in calories. What I do know, however, is that too many carrots can lead to liver problems. carrots are good for them, but they shouldn´t have some every day.

Also, it is recommended that pigs be weighted weekly (keeping a chart) so you can catch problems early. Your pigs seem to be doing better and that´s good, but there is no guaranty the malocclusion will not return (sometimes it´s a chronic problem), in which case you don´t want to let her go too far down the hill. Most of us use a kitchen scale that has a bowl sitting on top of it.

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Post   » Thu Apr 04, 2002 9:33 am

I wasn´t clear... I didn´t mean that carrots are REALLY high in calories... I meant that as far as veggies go, carrots are higher in calories (1 average carrot has 30 calories) than, say, kale (1 cup raw 10 calories) or cabbage (1 cup raw 15 calories). I do agree that there is the concern of liver problems associated with long-term feeding of carrots as the bulk of a piggy´s diet.

From what I have read, yes, the malocclusion could be a lifelong problem for Posey. I´m prepared to deal with that.

Great idea about getting a scale... I´m out to purchase one today!

Thanks everyone!


PS: Posey is still happily munching on her hay this morning! YAY!

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Post   » Sun Apr 07, 2002 12:13 am

Thought I would let you all know... Posey had a Vet visit today and she has GAINED weight! YAY! Her last check-up she was 647 grams and today she weighed in at 700.4 grams. The whole office cheered! They love Posey now and have been very concerned about her.

And, bonus, tonight for the first time in weeks, when I opened the fridge at 11:00 pm Posey started SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEKING!!! What a wonderful sound! She hasn´t squeeked for food in such a long time, it was music to our ears.

Thanks again to everyone for the good sound advice.

Last edited by Poseylover on Sun Apr 07, 2002 12:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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