GUINEA LYNX

A Medical and Care Guide for Guinea Pigs

POST OPERATIVE CARE

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Be Prepared To Care For Your Guinea Pig Following Any Surgery

Some guinea pigs seem to recover well from surgery and are up and eating right away. Recovery takes more time for other animals. A guinea pig in pain may not eat. Food is extremely important to any recovery so hand feeding a guinea pig that is not eating is vital.

It is not unusual for guinea pigs to be more quiet, less active than usual for the first 24 hours after surgery. Appetite is often down, but you should syringe feed to keep digestion moving properly. Often a guinea pig hasn't eaten since early morning so there may be little stool. Fluids given SQ post operatively should carry hydration over just fine until the next day. Look for pee stains on the bedding to ensure fluids are moving through.

HAND FEEDING

Make absolutely sure your guinea pig begins eating as soon as possible after surgery. If your guinea pig is not eating that evening (following surgery earlier in the day), be sure to hand feed. Read the information on Hand Feeding at this site.

HOUSING

HANDLING

BEHAVIOR

PROBLEMS WITH THE INCISION

SUTURE TIPS

Occasionally a guinea pig will bother an incision -- and in rare cases, even rip out its sutures. Kleenmama was able to fashion a collar, stapled together, to prevent one of her pigs from chewing on an injury. Vicki of JPGPR has coated incisions with Preparation H (her vet's advice) - which was supposed to help soothe and heal. Then dabbed an evil tasting veterinary lotion called Banquard around the incision, to further discouraged licking and chewing. She has mentioned that the incision heals quicker if it is exposed to air and unless absolutely necessary, one would not wrap it. Go Up

Talishan recommends that to examine an abdominal suture, find a large hand mirror, clean well, and place on a flat surface. "Pick the pig up, as gently as possible, with both hands supporting the abdomen and back end. Once the lifting is done and your left hand is securely supporting the abdomen, then shift your right hand (I'm assuming you're right-handed; reverse if you're left-handed) up under the chest with one front leg between your fingers. Do this over the cage so that if she moves unexpectedly, she won't go far."

POST-NEUTER ADVICE

Infections are a post op complication for neutered guinea pigs. Erin has had good success with washing the neuter site 2 to 3 times daily with chlorhexidine solution (an antibacterial surgical scrub). Dilute per directions and pour over the neuter site. Rinse thoroughly. A gauze sponge can be used to wipe the area if there is drainage.

Using this protocol, Erin has had no boars develop post-neuter abscesses. Boars tend to mark territory and even the cleanest environment (towels changed frequently) can harbor bacteria. If chlorhexidine is not available, use diluted betadine or a good antibacterial soap and warm water. Be sure to rinse thoroughly after cleaning.

TALISHAN'S POSTOP ADVICE & PAIN MANAGEMENT

Post surgery advice from Talishan (adapted) from her post on Petunia's medical thread after a spay:

"Be thoroughly prepared for some very intensive aftercare. Arrange to take a couple of days off work right after surgery if you can manage it.

"Your guinea pig will likely come home from the vet chipper, bright, and eating. This is good. It will not stay that way. She may very well go straight downhill after that, and scare you half to death.

"Somewhere between about 24 and 60 hours postop they hit bottom, then begin to do better.

"Be prepared to:

  1. Forcefeed. Read the hand feeding links carefully, get some Critical Care now, and make about 3 or 4 1cc syringes with the tips cut off now.
  2. Have every med on hand you can think of.
    1. Reglan (metoclopramide) is a must!! It's a mild motility agent and you will probably want to give it to her even if she is defecating, because what she's defecating is what was in her system preop. Then the pipeline will be empty!
    2. 4 or 5 day's worth of a narcotic: buprenorphine, perhaps Tramadol, perhaps butorphanol, depends on what the vet prefers.
    3. An NSAID, probably Metacam, possibly Rimadyl (depends on what the vet prefers).

Pain management:

"You want to use the NSAID from the get-go to reduce swelling and inflammation as much as possible as soon as possible. You want to use the narcotic as little as possible, but as much as you need to keep her comfortable!!

"Consider asking the vet for a children's steroid (Pediapred, prednisolone) to have on hand. You cannot use this along with an NSAID, but you can use it instead of one at the beginning. Steroids are powerful anti-inflammatories and painkillers. She may need it at the start.

"Then, as she improves, stop the steroid (if you needed it); ramp down the narcotic and ramp up the NSAID. Then, as she further improves, ramp down the NSAID.

Antibiotics:

"You will likely be given a pre-emptive antibiotic. Try to get Bactrim. If they insist on Baytril, be sure you have probiotics as well to give her.

Hydration:

"She probably won't want to drink. Get some unflavored Pedialyte and ask the vet for a 6 or 10cc oral syringe. Be prepared to offer this to her (don't force it like the food). Most pigs like it and will readily hydrate with it."

Additional valuable advice by Talishan can be found in the Records forum.

Find also Links to helpful threads on the main forum.


As a side comment, people sometimes wonder if boars can still ejaculate post op. According to Shepherd, B. A. and Martan, J. (1983), Elimination of stored material from the seminal vesicles of the guinea pig following castration. The Prostate, 4: 215221. doi: 10.1002/pros.2990040211, most of their castrated group ejaculated during the study and the only difference between that of castrated and uncastrated guinea pigs was the presence or absence of sperm. Therefore, "accessory sex glands" must be involved.

Boar ejaculate is frequently referred to as "boar glue" due to its rubbery gluing properties. When found, it can resemble a dried worm. If found on fur, the fur usually must be cut off or one must wait for the fur to fully grow out. It also reeks, whether it is fresh or old, a small or large amount.

Much of the advice on this page is was given to the author during Snowflake's recovery from a spay. See the spay page for photos showing incision granulation and healing. Thanks to Carol and other members of Guinea Lynx Forums for additional suggestions.

Guinea Pigs are for Life