Buffy's Medical Thread - Won't Eat


Post   » Sun Oct 09, 2011 12:11 am

I have a 2 and a half year old pig who has gone off his food since early this morning. Usually friendly and greedy but is now sitting hunched in a corner of his C&C. Will only eat hay (unenthusiastically). Teeth were fine at a checkup vet visit about 2 months ago.

I suspect bloat or poisoning. Stomach does not seem to feel hard to me, but then "hard" is relative. A well-meaning neighbour sprayed weedkiller on the patch of grass in front of my house - I was annoyed when I saw him doing it and told him not to do the other patch (to the side of the house, separated by a concrete path). Stupidly, I thought it was okay to feed from the side patch of grass. I stopped feeding that grass about 2 1/2 days ago when I noticed it was going slightly brown as well (the front patch had gone all brown by then). I am guessing recent rains may have spread the weedkiller onto that patch as well or he may have sprinkled some on that patch anyway.

But then Buffy's cagemate seems fine - I am hoping it is "just" bloat (bad but better than weedkiller poisoning!).

What can I do to keep him alive until he can see the vet tomorrow? There are no guinea pig savvy vets around on a Sunday. Charcoal and infacol? What dosage should I feed in this situation? Should I crush the charcoal and mix it with water?

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Post   » Sun Oct 09, 2011 12:33 am

Did both Buffy and his cagemate eat the grass you clipped from the side patch?

If so, it's unlikely to be poisoning although still not impossible.

Is Buffy drinking and defecating?

If he is still defecating, you need to handfeed/forcefeed him:


You can use Critical Care if you have it; if not, make a pellet slurry by softening pellets in warm water and adding mix-ins like carrot baby food or canned pumpkin (plain pumpkin, not the pie filling).

Take special note of the picture of the 1cc syringe *with the tip cut off* toward the bottom of the page. These are invaluable for force feeding. Most pharmacies have them; tell them you need a 1cc insulin syringe WITHOUT THE NEEDLE and they should sell them to you (or just give them to you; they're not expensive).

Activated charcoal is not a bad idea in this situation. I don't know the dosage but search the forum for posts containing "charcoal" authored by Charybdis.

Do you have any pain medication available (like Metacam)? He may be in some pain if it's stasis/incipient bloat/GI upset.

Good luck and please let us know how he's doing.


Post   » Sun Oct 09, 2011 12:50 am

Yes, both ate it. Buffy may have eaten more though.

He is drinking, but only when I actually place him near the bottle - otherwise I have not seen him walk to the bottle of his own accord.

Hard to know if he is actually still pooping unless I catch him in the act?

On my way to get Critical care now. I already have those needleless syringes.

No pain relief unfortunately.


Post   » Sun Oct 09, 2011 1:55 am

For pain relief, can I give human paid medication for tonight? Like 1/4 of a ibuprofen tablet, perhaps?

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Post   » Sun Oct 09, 2011 2:43 am

What is the concentration of the human tablet (i.e., 200 mg)?


Post   » Sun Oct 09, 2011 2:59 am

Yes, 200mg.

Have gotten some charcoal mixed with water into him.

Should I feed critical care before or after charcoal? And how soon before/after?

Same question as above for infacol - I am assuming infacol should be fed first because charcoal can interfere with absorption, but am unsure of timing.

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Post   » Sun Oct 09, 2011 3:10 am

Oh boy. Good questions. I don't use charcoal regularly; I don't know. Again, search the forum for "charcoal" or "activated charcoal" and look for posts by Charybdis. I will assume an hour or two is sufficient but I DON'T know that for sure. I also don't think it matters as much for food (the Critical Care) as for other meds ... that is, don't wait to feed him on account of the charcoal.

I'm not a big fan of Infacol (simethicone). It's only helped one or two of ours, but others have had success with it. Its action is mechanical rather than pharmaceutical (sp?) -- that is, it breaks many small gas bubbles up into one larger one that is (supposedly) easier to pass. One large gas bubble can cause problems of its own, though, which is why I'm not a big fan of it. Having said that, I don't think charcoal will affect its action.

From our analgesics dosing page:

10 mg/kg, PO, q4h, (1)

1. How much does Buffy weigh?

2. Assuming he weighs about a kilo, you would give him 1/20th (ONE-TWENTIETH!) of the human tablet. Your best bet would be to dissolve the tablet in water or juice and syringe him the appropriate amount. That is, if you dissolved the 200 mg tablet in 4 mL of water (you may have to crush the tablet first), you would have a 50 mg/mL solution. You would then give him 0.2 mL of that *IF* he weighs a kilo. Less if he weighs less. DO NOT OVERDOSE; it can ulcerate his GI. If in doubt, don't give it to him.


Post   » Sun Oct 09, 2011 3:29 am

Thanks for your response. Have been reading, all I can find is that charcoal should not be taken within 2 hours of other meds. Also Charybdis uses 1/8 of a capsule - I gave 1/2 or more before I found that. I hope I haven't made matters worse. I have not found info on how often to dose though.

I will wait a few hours to see if there is improvement; if none I will try the infacol.

Thanks for the link to the analgesics page as well. He weighs about 1.2kg, so 1/20 it is then.

On another thread, PinkRufus says not to handfeed until the pressure is reduced? Conflicting info...to feed or not to feed CC? Also am unsure of what the 'correct' pressure is. Tapping his belly, it doesn't seem to make a hollow sound to me.

I'd really, really like to suggest a bloat "how to" on the main website. It's a great resource, but linking to a few threads (not all the info can be found on those threads either) doesn't seem to be the most effective way to help panicked owners. I've been doing a lot of reading over the past couple of hours - it was a frustrating experience when a simple bullet point list of what remedies are available and the recommended dosages would be most helpful, with the links for further reading. With the amount of bloat threads that come up, I think this is sorely needed.

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Post   » Sun Oct 09, 2011 5:40 am

If he is defecating -- even if it's a small amount or misshapen -- then it is okay (and necessary) to forcefeed.


Post   » Sun Oct 09, 2011 6:53 pm

He was better last night, but seems back down again today.

I fed another 1/2 charcoal capsule before I went to bed. By then he seemed back to normal - wheeking and stuffing his face in the hay.

This morning I gave him a bit of veg and grass - just 2-3 tiny slices of carrot as a treat and 3-4 blades of grass, so as not to upset his stomach again - but even with that small amount he seemed down again awhile later. Have just given him perhaps 1/5 of a capsule.

Not sure if he is pooping normally, but he was bending under as they do when they eat caecal pellets, so I assume he is?

Did I feed the fresh stuff too soon? How long should I withhold it after an episode of bloat?

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Post   » Mon Oct 10, 2011 12:41 am

"Did I feed the fresh stuff too soon?"

Probably yes, a little.

"How long should I withhold it after an episode of bloat?"

In my opinion and experience -- let him get thoroughly and completely recovered. Then reintroduce *one green at a time* and watch carefully to see if that green triggers anything. Then add in another, and another, etc.

You can supplement with vitamin C while this is going on to make sure he has enough C available to him.

You are heading into spring, correct? Spring grass is very rich and can cause some GI problems (especially since they usually love it and snarf it down). Go very slow and easy on grass for a bit. They love it and it is very rich in C, but can cause problems, gassiness leading to bloat being one of them.


Post   » Mon Oct 10, 2011 3:34 am

OK, thanks. He did seem "thoroughly recovered" last night though. Is there a time you would recommend waiting despite him seeming 100% to begin feeding greens again (one at a time as per your suggestion)? 48 hours, perhaps?

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Post   » Mon Oct 10, 2011 9:10 am

At least. And when you start introducing greens, I'd say a minimum of three days on a single green before adding another (can also do a "switch" to another to isolate it). I believe some people have done tests for a week to establish that a single green is not causing problems. Meanwhile, lots of high quality hay and adequate pellets with vitamin C. You can also supplement with vitamin C daily during the test period if you are at all worried about your pig getting enough.


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Post   » Tue Oct 11, 2011 1:29 am

Huge ditto to Lynx.


Post   » Thu Nov 10, 2011 11:30 pm

Forgot to update this. He recovered quickly and is now back to normal. I believe it was bloat after all as the charcoal (mixed with Critical Care to make it more palatable) made all the difference. Thank you Talishan and Lynx for your help.

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Post   » Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:52 am

Glad to hear he is doing well.


Post   » Sat Nov 26, 2011 4:52 pm

Wonderful - he just went and ate a small sweet wrapper. No idea how it fell into the cage; it's a small clear piece of cellophane about 1.5 x 1 inches, so not easily seen. Only noticed he was eating it when I heard weird crackly sounds from the cage, but couldn't yank it out of his mouth in time.

Is this an emergency? It's a Sunday (again!) I do remember he used to chew the coroplast of the kitchen area without apparent harm (but I removed it anyway), so he should probably be fine right?

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Post   » Sat Nov 26, 2011 8:08 pm

It should not be a problem. If you are concerned, monitor his behavior.

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Post   » Sun Nov 27, 2011 1:24 am

Ditto Lynx. Watch him carefully, and you can also go through his feces if you are so inclined and see if you can see bits of it coming through. :-)

Harder plastics (like cellophane) are *generally* less of a problem than softer plastics (like the wrap a loaf of bread comes in). The softer plastics can adhere to the wall of the GI tract and come loose unexpectedly, causing a blockage. The harder plastics (including coroplast) are pretty much just ground up by the teeth and in the GI and excreted. *In general*, there are always exceptions either way.


Post   » Sun Nov 27, 2011 1:38 am

Thanks for your replies. Actually, this plastic is somewhat akin to the bread wrapper plastic; perhaps just a mite stiffer.

It's been about 10 hours since the incident. He is still behaving normally. Would you say that we would be in the clear after 24-48 hours have passed? But then again if it's adhered to the wall of the GI tract, does that mean it could cause a blockage months or even years down the line?

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