Age: estimated by vet ~3 ½ years old
Sex: Neutered male
Breed: Silkie mix, Dalmatian
Medical history (since he came to live here June 2012):
• Neuter; July 6, 2012
• Metronidazole susp 50 mg/ml July 13, 2012
• Intestinal parasites with giardiasis ELIS July 13; Result: Negative
Charlie has had chronic loose droppings the entire time I’ve had him. His previous owner said she noticed them as well but assumed they were normal for him. Charlie is the same guinea pig as Elliot. Since I’ve had Charlie he has been healthy in every other way. His appetite is great, he has tons of energy, and his weight is perfectly consistent.
I’ve tried several things (and two vets) in the past year to help him including:
• Tests for parasites
• Feeding him only hay for two weeks and slowly bringing back hay/veggies
• Probiotics (used acidophilus powder)
• Oxbow digestive support tabs
• Switched to different pellets (Oxbow to KMS)
• Tried different hays (timothy 2nd and 3rd cut; blue grass)
• Gave vitamin C supplements
His daily diet is unlimited grass hay, 1 cup veggies, and 1/8 cup KMS pellets. The cup of veggies is primarily red or green leaf lettuce, ¼ green pepper, and an additional veggie (ex: tomato, baby carrot, corn husks/silk, celery, green beans, cucumber, a few sprigs of cilantro/parsley, and occasionally spinach or kale).
Here are some photos of his droppings in case it helps.
The next two photos are what his “normal” poops look like compared to another guinea pig’s dropping.
The next three photos are examples of what I find under his hut when he’s pooped several times in one spot. They seem to clump together and form a patty. They look like one big dropping but are actually several poops smushed together.
This last one is an example of the occasional really weird dropping that I get from him.
I want to try putting him on hay once again and working my way back to giving veggies and pellets but I’m not sure how to do this safely. I have the Oxbow multivitamin tab and vitamin C. Is there anything else I should give to supplement him while he has a limited diet? How long can I keep him off veggies without risking his health? Is there something else I should do instead?
I forgot to add one thing that may or may not be relevant. I hold Charlie less than the other pigs because he just isn't much of a people pig. Still I feel like I see him eat less of his own poops than the other pigs (but again this could also be I spend less time with him).
Do you think it's best to start with a round of Flagyl first instead of taking away veggies?
I split the herd (arguments between the sow and her rival started breaking out and I felt this would be less stressful) and put the two in a smaller C&C cage to restrict movement. They were given the meds for a few weeks; after the first prescription ran out I could still see some limping so we were given a smaller “extension.” Towards the end we began giving them a dose every other day. After watching both pigs walk around a few days limp-free, I reintroduced the herd.
The past few days I’ve noticed Charlie limping once again (at first I had hoped it was my imagination because it seemed on and off and just for a few seconds at a time). There aren’t any platforms or known causes for the limping. I’m wondering if there’s a possibility he could have arthritis (I have gone through the arthritis links on GL and did a search, but didn’t dig up much on advice on diagnosing it) or if the injury was more severe than originally thought. I want to know any possible causes for the limping so I know what to discuss with the vet. Any advice would be much appreciated.
Below are two videos taken in March that show him limping just prior to his exam.
Have you discussed with your vet whether you can locate some healthy pigs in your neighborhood, whose owners don't mind providing freshly laid healthy guinea pig poops? This is called transfaunation.
My girl lost her gut flora after a series of meds and we 'borrowed' some poop from a neighbor. We mixed them into 'just warm' critical care and spoon fed (2 pellets of poo into 1 heaped spoon of crit care a day). They have to be eaten within an hour for best results as some useful bacteria will die if dessication is allowed which may cause a relative imbalance in useful to pathogenic gut flaura ratios. After 4 days we noticed an improvement. I normally fed it just before dinner to line the tummy first and to ensure piggy is hungry and eats every bite.
I wouldnt fuss using poop from other pigs in your care as it is likely he has encountered their gut contents before and they have had no benefit.
Be careful not to feed poops from pigs who are already on meds if they are supplied from the vets - Just to be sure! You may also wish to integrate poos slowly as the new flora/fauna will be a little surprise to his tummy.
Another cause for soft poos that we encountered was pain/stress after surgery. It sped up her system and she was firing out mousse like poops everywhere but these were very light, yours look quite dark.
Charlie Walking 1
Charlie Walking 2
Charlie Walking 3
How much does he weigh?
They're really an adorable group, and I enjoyed watching the videos. :)
I've been trying to put the herd on a diet (he's the only one I'd consider overweight but Sonia could stand to lose an ounce or two; the other two pigs are pretty slender). I measure out 1/2 a cup of pellets and 4 cups of veggies. I've drastically cut sugary veggies (ex: carrots, tomatoes) and have only given fruit about 2-3 times in the past few months.
Floor time has been cut back lately until I move out (in a few months I'll have a place where I can make a much bigger cage and give more floor time to help with his weight loss). My parent got two puppies that are fed raw. I used to use the kitchen for floor time but I'm afraid of salmonella even though we do our best to clean. There are a few other places but it takes time to pig proof them so nobody gets hurt.
Do you think it's his weight? I've been watching him closely and he doesn't look in pain. He can still popcorn pretty high over the smallest things.
- Supporter in '14
Keeping a daily record of his food, changes in his environment and any stresses, etc. and how it affects his health is really beneficial. It will help you see if any patterns are forming.
I also found adding in a courser 1st cut Timothy to their usual 2nd cut helped. 3rd cut hay is leafier with less stem, has more moisture and is richer. A courser hay may add more fiber which could help.
I can try giving him his pellet every other day. It should help with his weight. I still wonder if that could be the cause of his gait.
I believe Kyo-Dophilus probiotic is something I tried in the past (I'd have to check but that sounds incredibly familiar).
His stress levels do seem to be above average. His past owner commented on him being neurotic (ex: he would freak out if anything was rearranged in his cage).
I'll try the 1st cut timothy. Currently they have KMS bluegrass.
I do think what you're seeing *could* be weight related. He's not enormous, but if you're seeing love handles, he could probably stand to lose a little. Looking at the videos, I wanted to say that I was seeing more of a waddle than a limp. It certainly might be worth cutting back a bit to see if it makes a difference.
He's such is a cutie. All 1333g of him. :)
I've been trying to find ways to safely encourage weight loss -none have worked so far. His love handles are stubborn. On May 24 (I happened to record this weigh in on my phone so it's handy) he was 1287. I'm guessing it's the lack of floor time lately that's set him back (it can't be excess calories, I've tried my best to cut those out). I'll have to change that.
He is noticeably chubbier compared to the girls (especially the Skinny who is only 770 on a full stomach). The vet also made a comment about noticing the extra fat around his middle during a check up.
- Supporter in '14
He may be neurotic because of his health issues.
He seems very stressed out when he's handled, so I try to respect that and only hold him for boar cleanings or nail trimming. He seems to love it when I clean his cage though.
I don't know much about his history but his previous owner posted in GL that she got him through Craigslist. She said it wasn't a pretty sight but there weren't many details. She found him in a container with another pig without food or water (I don't know for how long). She thought the kids might've handled him rough as well.