Sunday some poops were still soft, seemed like, but I noticed she had a mucus plug (you can look at the picture in the other thread I made on Cavy Chat) so I thought maybe the soft stool had to do with her being in heat. Yesterday was also about the same, but today when I came home from class she had a bit of dried poop caked around her bottom and on her feet, so I made a vet appointment.
I noticed a few poops that were long (shaped like two regular-sized poops stuck together, like with a seam in the middle) and somewhere between shiny and slimy- not exactly mucus-covered, but more shiny than usual fresh poop- plus, upon poking it with some stiff hay, I found that they were fairly soft and easy to squish. It does look like she is also still producing normal poops- either that or they've dried/hardened before being stepped on.
I've been weighing her twice daily since Saturday when I introduced her to the other two girls, her weight's remained fairly steady. Sunday morning she was 240 grams but the rest of her weighings have been between 270 and 280 grams.
Vet's closed tomorrow so the earliest they could fit her in was Thursday morning. They said as long as she's still active, eating and drinking it should be fine to wait till then.
Would it be a good idea to feed her some poop soup from one of my healthy pigs in the meantime? At the very least it wouldn't hurt her, right? I have some Critical Care I can mix it with, which also shouldn't hurt even if it doesn't necessarily help, yes? I'm going to also be monitoring her water intake, syringe feeding water, and probably hand-feeding hay. Is alfalfa hay okay to feed her, or should I only feed timothy with her upset gut?
- And got the T-shirt
Second, poop soup certainly won't hurt, and may help.
Third, I wouldn't change anything that she's being fed. That will only muddy the waters as far as trying to diagnose what's wrong with her.
Good luck with her. Let us know what happens.
I was also considering giving Hazel a bath to get the caked on stuff off, I can't imagine that being too comfortable. Do you think the additional stress of bathing and drying her would overpower any relief having a clean bottom (maybe temporarily) might bring?
I had previously been using Kaytee Forti-Diet alfalfa pellets (they just changed it, the kind I've been giving them has only the occasional orange treat piece rather than all the blue and green junk they seem to have added in the last month) so I switched to Oxbow alfalfa pellets, since that's what the pet store had been giving her (and I wanted to switch to a plain pellet anyway). I got her back on Saturday the 19th, and she had the occasional teardrop poop, but mostly they were good and normal. She started gaining weight too, last night she was at 310 grams, up from 270 grams last week. Woohoo!
I poop souped her twice more for good measure, once on Saturday and once on Sunday, and her poops were great, her bottom was clean, everyone was happy, until this morning. I picked her up and she'd been sitting on a massive (relative to her size) pile of diarrhea overnight. Mushy rather than liquidy. Thinking that maybe she'd been scared by my other pigs and hadn't moved from her corner (they are separated by a cage divider from her), maybe she just pooped, peed, and then shifted around and mashed it into a sticky mess, I changed her bedding to observe. About an hour later I checked back and she had produced 2 small piles of long, thick, soft poo.
Her weight is 315 grams this morning, and she is still active and otherwise healthy. She's been separated from my other pigs so I know she for sure has had a steady supply of only Oxbow alfalfa pellets, timothy grass hay, and water. Yesterday I decided to try introducing fresh veggies to her diet again, so I gave her a single piece about 1 inch in diameter of green leaf lettuce, the outer leaf part, not the big vein with lots of water. That's the only thing that's changed, so my husband is speculating that was the thing that caused it. But that doesn't make sense to me, since she's had lettuce before and not reacted this severely to it. I am.... fairly baffled.
- And got the T-shirt
I'd cut out all vegetables and feed only hay and pellets for 48 hours and see if the poop firms up. If it does, add one vegetable back, in small amounts, and wait 48 hours before adding another one. That way, you'll be able to determine whether a particular veggie is causing the problem.
If the stool doesn't firm up after 48 hours with no vegetables, something else is the problem. Possibly a course of flagyl would settle things down.
- You can quote me
We've had a few pigs that as they aged, could not handle "full servings" of greens, and needed smaller servings more frequently. Usually those pigs are a lot older than Hazel, though.
My gut hunch is you may need some Flagyl (metronidazole), but follow bpatters' suggestions first.
I also reintroduced her to my other two pigs and it went okay, though she's had some hair pulled here and there. According to the guide posted in Violet's thread that's normal but I did want to ask if hair pulling will also damage the skin. She's developed a few scratches/scabs on her rump where the hair's been pulled and they don't look like deliberate bites, comparing them to Violet's bite wound and the few bites that I've gotten here and there from the piggies over the months. They look more like either some skin got pulled with the hair chunk or the teeth dragged on the skin on the way to grab some hair, resulting in a shallow single cut in places. But still, there are several little scabs so I'm questioning if they're not deliberate at this point.
- And got the T-shirt
When she's a decent weight, you can start feeding her in the cage again. The multiple locations likely will work unless your others are so greedy that they scarf it all up before she gets a chance to finish.