Advice on my guinea pig? seems scrawny

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by bossynbella, Dec 12, 2010.

  1. bossynbella

    bossynbella Songster

    Aug 11, 2007
    Last spring a woman who had bought chickens from us the year before, and whom we had bought some polish rabbits from, had a litter of guinea pigs. We traded her two young pullets for what was suppose to be two girl guinea pigs. They where young, and terrified when she brought them here. We worked with them holding them every day, but having never been handled before they never got as friendly as the ones I use to have when I was a kid. They ended up both being males. We named them Dash and Spaz because that's what they would do whenever anyone went near there cage. As the weather warmed up we moved them outside for sunshine, they seemed calmer and friendlier. Then in August Dash died, was fine one day dead the next. Spaz was fine. As the fall approached we brought him back inside. When I carried him in he was plump like they usually are. We where having family problems ( my sister was sick) so though he was fed everyday, we didn't do much else with him. At the end of a week inside I took him out to play with him and was scared to see how thin he was. With a bowl full of pellets. I thought it was from our cat harassing him so much. We covered his cage, so the cat couldn't just sit and stare at him anymore. Kept his bowl full of pellets and give him both guinea pig treats and cheerios ( I found he loves these). We now have him up where the cat can't get to the cage and it can stay uncovered. He begs for his cheerios every morning. We keep his bowl full of guinea pig pellets. He also gets fresh veggies once or twice a week, and other treats. But he is still scary thin. What could be the problem? I have considered getting another but don't really want babies, ( afraid we wouldn't find homes for them) and have read that two males will fight. I try to spend as much time with him as possible, but he honestly doesn't really enjoy being held, seems scared and I don't want to stress him more. I am not sure if its because he is lonely or something more serious. There are no vets around here who will deal with small animals without charging 200 just for the office call. We don't have the money for us to go to the dr. much less to pay 200 just for a vet to look at him.
    Anyway, any ideas? Anyone else ever have this happen? He eats a full bowl up pellets about every three days, as well as the treats he gets, just doesn't seem to gain weight.
    I have pictures but not on this computer.


  2. mom2jedi

    mom2jedi Songster

    Aug 12, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Ok, i have a few suggestions but need a little more info first. By last spring do you mean he will be one this coming spring or two? How big was his enclosure when he was outside and how big is his cage now if it's not the same cage? Do you have hay available all the time as well as pellets? What fresh veggies are you giving him and could you up the frequency to every day or every other day for specific ones? There are a number of reasons he may be thin but having the answers to these questions might help address the right ones. Also, you mentioned not wanting another male for fear of them fighting but would having a second cage nearby be a possibility? Sometimes just knowing another pig is in the house makes them happier even if they can't be in the same cage.

    ETA If you're able to post pictures that will help determine how scrawny you mean.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2010
  3. Orchid

    Orchid Songster

    May 10, 2010
    North Central MN
    Was he on grass when he was outside? I'm wondering if he could have worms.
  4. Akane

    Akane Crowing

    Jun 15, 2008
    I'd treat with ivermectin and then look at diet. Parasites internal and external are very very common with guinea pigs. It will also make them uncomfortable and itchy when being held so could contribute to his dislike of people and handling. It takes maybe 10 mins to dilute a tube of ivermectin horse paste and squirt it down a guinea pig . The injectable can be used topically without needing diluted and I can do a guinea pig about every 30seconds that way but unless you have a lot to treat it's not cost effective. It's $30-$50 a bottle and it would treat about 250lbs of guinea pig so a lot gets wasted unless you are breeding or doing rescue like we were for awhile. Also make sure you are not using cedar bedding and preferably with pine only use kiln dried or well aired out bags. I split the bags when I put them away for storage so they air out and lose a lot of the toxic oils before I use them.

  5. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member 9 Years

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    In addition to his pellets (hopefully you are using pellets for guinea pigs, not rabbit pellets) he needs leafy green plant material on a daily basis. Is he also losing hair? This is one of the first signs of scurvy, vit. C deficiency.
  6. ChickenFanaticAB

    ChickenFanaticAB Songster

    Jan 15, 2007
    I've had many male pairs (and sometimes more than just 2) of guinea pigs together and they always did fine. They are kind of like cats when being introduced...may be grouchy at first, but settle down quickly. I have never had a problem with any of my piggies fighting, and I had a LOT over the years! Not sure why he might be skinny- check inside is mouth if you can, something may have gotten stuck preventing him from eating.
  7. RiverOtter

    RiverOtter Songster 8 Years

    Nov 4, 2009
    First look at his teeth. If they are even a little bit overgrown then he can't eat well. I had a (very well cared for - he was my baby) GP who suddenly at 3 years old had one tooth overgrow and the first sign was the weight he lost. Pellets were disappearing from his bowl but because he was knocking them around.

    It is very, very common and very, very easy to fix. Just get a pair of doggy nail clippers and clip the teeth. They don't feel any pain with it. Be sure to check the bottom teeth. It is just as likely to be the bottom as the top but a LOT harder to see.

    After I clipped the teeth, I'd double check my pellets. They look the same, but GP pellets have different nutritional content and more vitamins then rabbit pellets. After that I'd put some vitamin drops in the water. He's getting less Vit D and probably C then he was outside

  8. Akane

    Akane Crowing

    Jun 15, 2008
    You should not cut guinea pig teeth yourself. It is actually somewhat tricky and can lead to permanent tooth damage if you mess up. It's not even suggested to let your usual vet cut them but find an exotics specific vet who has experience. Also if the front teeth are overgrown the molars almost always are too and those cannot be properly examined or trimmed without special tools and sometimes sedation. Feeding a proper diet with unlimited hay will nearly eliminate all tooth issues. We raised and rescued probably in the 100s of guinea pigs with not one tooth problem in their lifespan except an injury and infection. Guinea pigs need long stem fiber to keep their teeth and GI tract healthy not just powdered fiber found in pellets or short strands found in hay cubes.
  9. Random assortment of Cavy Info is on my Braingle Wiki...

    1st thing mentioned is they are not loners, they LIKE company of their own species... 2 is better than 1.
    Also info on good habitat size... donno what your pen is like, but that maybe would help? has some great info on diet... including the what not to do section.

    One thing, I don't see hay mentioned... they should have hay, and plenty of it. NOT alfalfa, too much calcium.
    Fruit and veggies are great, but have to be careful of calcium... they have printable charts showing the calcium, vit C, etc in different fruits and veggies at scroll to the bottom.

  10. bossynbella

    bossynbella Songster

    Aug 11, 2007
    Thanks to everyone for the replies, due to computer problems I have not been on in a while. We where feeding him rabbit pellets because that's what the breeder told us to do. He was eating them but not well. I bought a bag of Wild Delight Guinea pig food ( it has not just pellets but little round green and red things, seeds and some other things I don't know what are. Within three days of switching to this feed the change has been dramatic, he is back to a plump little piggy. As far as veggies go he gets celery, carrots, lettuce, on occasion. He really doesn't like carrots, and isn't nuts for the lettuce or celery either. He does love Cantaloupe ( hopefully its okay for him to have it) and Multi grain cheerios (OMG does he love Multi-grain cheerios anytime he hears a bag rustling he is sure its cheerios and that he might get some so he starts squealing. One problem I am having with the new food is that he scratches in his bowl and knocks alot of it out onto the floor (which the dog then eats) this bothers me because the food is $7 for a little bag. Maybe I need to get him a different bowl? I will take some pictures of him and his cage later. Thanks again for all the replies
    Edited to add: we give him hay about a handfull a week ( hes not real into it and it takes that long for him to eat it up or as I suspect scatter it around enough that it looks eaten.)
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2010

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