Legend's Medical Thread - Not Eating

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Post   » Tue Jun 27, 2017 3:58 am

Keep going. Sometimes they recover just when your energy is about to give out for good. :-p

And thank you for the updates. I too wonder about the little ones we never hear back about. It's nice for us to see followups.

What's the other pain med?


Post   » Tue Jun 27, 2017 2:27 pm

Gabapentin. It's a controlled substance, so you know it's good. If we can teach them to smoke, they'll have the munchies in no time.

Seriously, they said it might make them sleepy, so we did a dose at bed time last night, and noon today. This morning they were quite perky and eating some on their own. After breakfast with Meloxidyl, they kept on munching away to the point that I didn't give them quite so much CC for lunch. After lunch, they crawled in their hidey hole and went to sleep. I have very high hopes for this evening.

On another note, I'm going to throw in a mini-review of syringes. The real reason they're feeling better is because we just received a huge box of 3ml syringes from Amazon. We've been filling 5 or 6ml syringes from the top with a spoon, and using those to fill 3ml ones that we feed to them. We also have some 1ml syringes for medication. I had trouble drawing the CC into the syringes at first, but I tried it again today and it went pretty smoothly, so maybe the 5ml thing is redundant now. I think I'm mixing the CC a little thinner.

We've been grabbing a handful of syringes anytime we were at the vets office. The 3's and 5's they had were Monoject brand, and the 1's had been Baxter ExactaMed. They all worked very smoothly until they had been washed a few times. We threw them away when they got sticky. The new ones we ordered are 6cc Monojects, which are the same what we got from the vet, just bigger.

The new 3cc ones are Care Touch brand. They aren't quite as smooth as the Monoject, but it's not different enough to complain about. The important difference, though, is that the Care Touch has a little ring molded into the top that keeps you from accidentally pulling the plunger out. If you're drawing up meds, that's probably a nice addition. If you fill them from the top, like I had been, it's hard to get the plunger back in without making a mess. It snaps in place abruptly and squirts a half cc of CC out the tip. I'm getting the technique down of leaving some air at the end and putting my finger over it, but it's a little bit of a nuisance.

The last few 1cc syringes the vet gave us were Monoject brand. Our Meloxidyl and Lactulose come in these awesome little containers that have a little cone shaped opening in the top. You stick the tip of the syringe in, turn it upside down, and pull out what you want. Quick and easy. However...The tips on the Monoject syringes are slightly smaller than the Baxters, and don't fit in the cone too well. It works, if a bit inconveniently, if you hold some pressure, but I'm going to keep our stash of Baxters for those two meds and use the Monojects for the stuff that comes in the regular bottles.


Post   » Tue Jun 27, 2017 7:05 pm

I tried 1ml, 3ml, 5ml and baby feeding syringes and settled on using a "catheter-tipped" 15ml syringe which food never gets stuck in and seems to suit my guinea pigs' mouths just fine, which I found much better than anything else. Then a nice vet gave me 2 60ml catheter tipped syringes, which I haven't tried yet, but the tip is the same size and shape as the 15ml syringe. It's big enough to fit in a whole meal. It's similar to one on Amazon under "60ml (2 oz) Catherer Tip Syringe, Single Pack". Sorry, I didn't know I couldn't post links to them.

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Post   » Tue Jun 27, 2017 10:31 pm

I always used to use a 1cc syringe with the restrictive tip cut off. I was able to pretty easily fill it with one hand while the other held/restrained my guinea pig.

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Post   » Wed Jun 28, 2017 4:52 am

Don't throw out the Baxas. They have a more smooth, rounded tip than the Monojects. I like to think they're more comfortable in the mouth, especially if a pig is getting multiple meds multiple times a day.

Catheter-tip syringes are great for willing eaters. The 3cc and 6cc Monojects are perfect for willing drinkers, to supplement with Pedialyte, fruit juices, etc.

We got some 35cc catheter-tip Monojects, and they are great -- again, for willing eaters. If they're sucking it right down, great.

If you're forcefeeding, though, don't use anything larger than a 1 cc with the tip cut off.

Why? Because in forcefeeding, you have to get the syringe all the way back to the molars, and if you look at an x-ray, their heads are pretty long. That's a good distance.

Even the long catheter tips are too short to reach the molars. In forcefeeding the barrel of the syringe has to enter the mouth, and the barrel of anything bigger than a 1 cc is too big. It forces the pig's jaw and mouth too wide open, and can cause jaw damage.

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Post   » Wed Jun 28, 2017 8:24 am

Thanks for all the syringe info. I've often had trouble deciding which to use when. This will help a lot.


Post   » Wed Jun 28, 2017 7:43 pm

Yes, thank you. I'm taking notes. I didn't know that about forcefeeding.


Post   » Wed Jun 28, 2017 8:08 pm

I had high hopes of reporting that they were still improving from yesterday, and that I was able to further reduce their CC. Alas, they seemed pretty down this morning and hardly ate anything through through the afternoon. Soooo frustrating after what seemed a breakthrough. They're eating a little this evening. Hopefully tomorrow will be better. We are all getting VERY tired here - pigs included.

I'm also taking notes on syringes.

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Post   » Wed Jun 28, 2017 8:41 pm

Have you tried juicing non-gassy vegetation with some clean wheatgrass? Juice can be added to food to increase interest or alone for hydration (and mixed with water or pedialyte). All of ours have denied certain vegetation, but when these same rejected veggies are mixed in a juice they seem to love what they would usually deny. And recently, I had discovered our picky girl would accept juice that we have frozen, believe it or not. When we were freezing, it would stay in freezer 2-3days, thawed in fridge when needed. There is probably a stronger flavour with fresh vegetation not sitting too long in freezer. As you've mentioned, frozen items may change flavour after awhile when in there long enough. We juice fresh daily now, but will freeze when time is excessively tight.

I'll often run a couple of different mixes of vegetation through the juicer for variety, so when piggie gets bored with one blend another is available. Similar can be done with food (a couple of cups with different mixes...we use shot glasses for food and beverage). Can grind various treats in clean coffee grinder to dip syringe tip into for a nice smell. For the picky eater who is not interested in the food, will take up food into syringe, then rinse the barrel in a glass of water or juice to get the excess food off, then dip tip into something nice smelling. A palette of choices to get just that much more food in.
This photo is 6yrs old, have improvised since, but an idea
Last edited by daveandtiff on Wed Jun 28, 2017 8:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.


Post   » Wed Jun 28, 2017 8:55 pm

We haven't tried that. We have tried mixing very small amounts of apple juice in their CC (the vet really stressed "a couple of drops"). We've also mixed in larger amounts (about equal to the dry CC) of canned pumpkin, carrot baby food and squash baby food. Also tried mushing a couple of frozen raspberries in the CC.

I think we have a blender around here somewhere, so we'll try throwing their salad into it.

Is there any particular kind of juice you've been successful with?

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Post   » Wed Jun 28, 2017 9:04 pm

Yes, try fresh vegetation, it may be more familiar to them since they eat this already on their own usually (perhaps jarred foods have some sort of overtone?). I mix for interest and nutrition, but one mix - sprig parsley, chard, 3 blueberry, wheatgrass (wash the wheatgrass and put inside a lettuce leaf, then wrap tightly into a ball before sticking into juicer...it helps the wheatgrass to not just spit out of the juicer), half baby carrot, bell pepper, sprig of carrot top, fennel frond or root, 1 dandelion green, 2 inch piece kale, piece of orange, small piece banana (these last two were recent add-on's, our others might not have preferred them).

There is certain vegetation that is considered diuretic (dandelion green, celery, I believe even watermelon. I have read parsley can challenge the kidney.). You can read up on that. You perhaps want to limit diuretics right now. Also, cruciferous vegetables (kale, collard, broccoli, etc) are gassy, as with some fruits. If gassy, not eating enough hay or tendency to bloat, would keep these out or very, very low.

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Post   » Wed Jun 28, 2017 9:11 pm

What do they each eat individually already?


Post   » Wed Jun 28, 2017 9:57 pm

Before all this started, they got a plate with a big handful of green leaf lettuce, a few carrot slices, and some pieces of green bell pepper twice a day, sometimes a cucumber slice. In addition, they got a treat, usually a green bean or an extra carrot slice two or three times a day. Plus hay and pellets.

They like kale,collard greens, parsley, and carrot tops, but we try to keep those very limited.


Post   » Wed Jun 28, 2017 9:59 pm

They both eat pretty much the same things, although their treat preferences vary a little.

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Post   » Wed Jun 28, 2017 10:15 pm

Maybe try green leaf as your base, wheatgrass, baby carrot, a carrot top, bell (yellow, red, orange may be higher in vit c, but green is close to the same. Critical Care will give Vit C as well). If you want to adventure on, maybe add something like chard, a bit of fennel (am thinking fennel is also called anise). We find ours prefers baby chard from mesclun mix box, refusing larger chard leaves, but in a juice larger is accepted). Blueberry is one of the more benign in small portion. The grass might stimulate interest, hopefully.

Cukes and beans are gassy, unfort. Apples, tomatoes and bell pepper can be, too. If you are juicing, alot of what you are getting out is water, if you are required to run water to get the rest of the vegetation juiced. I catch the vegetation remnants on a plate and (with very well-washed hands) send the remnants through the juicer a few more times, then a 1/2 cup of water or so to get rest of juice into cup.

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Post   » Wed Jun 28, 2017 11:45 pm

If they like carrot tops, kale, parsley, you could potentially juice this and use to swish off excess critical care from syringe barrel and maybe just take up enough juice to fill the syringe tip in order for a mouthful of critical care to be better accepted. It is watered down juice and a smidget to get the food blend in shouldn't impact GI. Getting quantity of food is most important. The critical care contains hay which benefits GI. Grinding oxbow treats and even compressed alfalfa have been useful as a dusting over tip of syringe. Again, low actual intake, more for smell.

If they're new to syringe feeding, there's usually a learning curve and feeding becomes easier after awhile. My girl only takes syringe from right side of mouth and has to sit with her left side at my stomach, where some others have sat with back end to my stomach and take left side of mouth. They all felt comfortable on feeding pillow (human sleep pillow with blanket to their sides or over lower body for feeling of protection). Sometimes have gently placed a finger under blanket lifting front feet an inch. They all reveal their preferences. At times had put a finger to opposite side of face lightly as a guide if someone would tend to turn away, or to top of head when lifting head higher up.

Am sure hoping the experimenting will make it easier for you all. Tables turn if meal becomes acceptable

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Post   » Thu Jun 29, 2017 5:00 am

Ditto daveandtiff's "pipeline" suggestions.

Pulling some Critical Care into a syringe, then some juice, then maybe more Critical Care, then maybe some Pedialyte, then swishing or wiping off the syringe with a paper towel has worked for us.

We call this "pipeline" because when petroleum producers transport different fuel grades (diesel, gasoline, etc.) through a pipeline to a distributor/tank farm, this is how they do it, in chunks or parcels. We've had some success getting more CC into unwilling eaters when it's 'chunked' or pulsed in the syringe like that with water, juices, Pedialyte, baby foods, etc.

Re: gabapentin -- all I have to say is that I was given that once for a back injury and it knocked me flat on my a**. Slept for hours and hours, could barely wake up or get out of bed.

If it's helping them with any pain, that's good and it's important. But if it's making them lethargic, zonked and sleepy I would not be surprised.

We used gabapentin with one pig and while it did NOT affect his energy level, demeanor, etc. it seemed to be of minimal help with comfort -- maybe helped a bit, but not a lot. Hopefully it'll be of more help to yours.


Post   » Thu Jun 29, 2017 8:12 pm

Much better day today. They were perky and eating this morning. Napped in the afternoon. Perky and eating again this evening.

They were so lethargic yesterday that I was afraid we screwed up their medications - so I skipped their noon Gabapentin. Since they were so much better today, combined with what Talishan just said, the wheels in my brain started turning. So I'm cutting their Gabapentin in half today. Looking for good things tomorrow.

It's time again to refill the Cisapride, so I spoke to the vet first. She said since their poops are looking OK, we should try taking them off it and see what happens. We're going to go ahead and get a new bottle just in case, but we skipped it tonight and we'll see how things come out (pun intended) tomorrow.

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Post   » Thu Jun 29, 2017 8:26 pm

Oh, that is fantastic news!! Let's hope for everything to continue in this positive direction. Wheels in head are there for a reason :)

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Post   » Fri Jun 30, 2017 2:36 am

My gut hunch was to suggest you give a smaller gabapentin dose and see what happened, but since humans and guinea pigs have significantly different metabolic mechanisms, I kept my mouth shut.

I'm glad you've tried adjustments and more glad that they seem to be working. You have excellent wheels, keep using them. :-)

Also glad to hear you got a cisapride refill. Do see how things come out. Hopefully they'll be fine. But if things seem to stop up a little, give a *smaller* dose of cisapride and taper it down to zero as they fully normalize rather than just stopping it outright.

Keep us posted!

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