I've got her back on the Oxbow Simple Harvest Adult Guinea Pig food right now. I first had her on the Oxbow Essentials Cavy Cuisine Adult food, but they all seem to like the Simple Harvest better. It is slightly lower in protein and fiber, about 2% and 2-3% lower than the Essentials, respectively. It also is a little higher in calcium (0.05% more), and there's 0.05% more phosphorus in Simple Harvest as well. Other than that, all the vitamins have identical amounts in the guaranteed analysis.
Other than changing to the Simple Harvest, I've only tried one other pellet, the Mazuri. I actually started transitioning her over to it because I was out of Oxbow and it would take a while for any to either ship to me or my store to restock. I began transitioning her over to the Mazuri on September 15 (half-and-half), and they were eating just Mazuri by September 21st. Maggie started having loud, high-pitched flatulence by late Sunday the 23rd-early Monday the 24th.
She started refusing to eat the Mazuri pellets on October 1st, but would continue eating hay. She did fine on hay and a daily Oxbow vitamin C tab. Im not claiming the Mazuri pellets caused it, but just as a precaution, I switched her back over to Oxbow Simple Harvest on October 11, and after I replaced the Mazuri with Oxbow, she started eating pellets again. She's been eating anything you put in front of her ever since.
Other than that, she hasn't had any pellet changes since I got her. The people who previously had her were giving her the Wal-mart, cheap, awful pellets, but she has not had any of that since I adopted her.
Over the past couple of days I have sectioned off a larger piggy-proofed area of my living room (about 35-40 sq feet), and have noted if I keep her in there for 2 hours or more each day (typically closer to 4), it is keeping the bloat down fairly significantly...if she will actually move around while she's in there. Some days she just doesn't feel like exploring or exercising when she has floor time, and then I'll put her back in her cage and try again later. While the bloat is still occurring, the discontinuation of vegetables and more floor time has significantly decreased the severity. I also 100% believe the poop soup, which I've been giving her 1-2 times daily, is helping.
I'm planning to get my hands on the Oxbow Papaya Support (Oxbow says they still sell it but I have had no luck finding it) or Oxbow Digestive Support tabs and see if that helps regulate her a little too. The vet said she had good results with the former Oxbow Papaya Plus in guinea pigs that were more sensitive to getting GI stasis or bloat, but they discontinued in 2014. Now they have Oxbow Papaya Support but I have yet to find anywhere that actually sells it.
Hopefully, another week or so of this new routine will keep her from creating new gas and give the existing gas time to work its way out of her body.
I don't know if you have read this page, but it mentions an imbalance of gram negative and gram positive bacteria in the gut. If I remember right, it is the gram negative bacteria that is more likely to cause diarrhea, and, I believe, gas as a byproduct. It may be that some bloat is caused by an imbalance of bacteria in the gut. Your giving poop soup (the best is using the cecal feces that are reingested by guinea pigs to extract more nutrients) may help get things back to normal.
Hiraethth, I'm so sorry to hear about your dog! Finding a decent vet can be difficult. Maggie has seen the vet three times since this started in late September, but I finally found a decent one about 2.5 hours away that I've been taking her to!
Rjespicer, thanks! I'd seen the papaya support on there, with it being in a different language and no reviews on it, I was a little hesitant, although I'll probably end up doing that if I can't find it anywhere else. I actually just ordered some of the Oxbow Digestive Health ones from Amazon today; I'd looked on pet store websites for them but hadn't even thought to check Amazon!
I noticed Maggie was leaving more calcium spots than usual on her fleece the past couple days, and she also was peeing less volume but with more frequency. She also was peeing on me more than usual (within a 30 min lap time, about 3 times), which is highly unusual for her, and this led me to believe she had less control of her bladder than usual. Another quick trip to the vet today revealed a tiny bladder stone in the urethra, which was easily removed, as well as a UTI. Fortunately, the UTI was caught very early, she doesn't seem to be in much pain, and a bacteria sensitivity test revealed it should be easily treated. The vet is fairly positive this has been a result of her refusing to drink while she was struggling with the GI stasis and bloat. While infusions of lactated ringers can help keep their bodies hydrated, it is not as beneficial to their urinary tract as drinking. Even though she's been drinking for the past couple weeks, the bladder stone likely formed then and has taken this long to pass through her urinary tract and get lodged in the urethra. I also believe that her lethargy while being so sick greatly contributed to this as well; even though I kept her hair cut short and changed her bed often, not moving after urinating multiple times still kept that area slightly damp and could have contributed to the UTI. I thought I would share so others who have had issues with GI motility and refusing water can be on the lookout for urinary tract issues as well!
I don't remember if I have mentioned it, but some people soak some of the hay in water (which guinea pigs seem to love), removing uneaten wet hay in an hour or two to prevent it getting moldy. You might try that too.
And yes you have! Maggie absolutely loves wet hay; I started doing it when she was very ill and wouldn't drink. She's drinking very well now, but sometimes she still gets some wet hay just for a little extra hydration. She just thinks she's getting a special treat!