Cavy Tips - Medical Guide

Emergency Care

Contributed by Ji Lean Ong


What you can do to increase the survival rate of your guinea pig while waiting to see the vet.


Force Feeding

  • A pig that has not been eating in over 4-5 hours, must be force fed, either with Critical care or mashed up pellets (softened with water) via a 1CC syringe
  • Your pig may struggle when he is being force fed, but you must persevere as it can mean the difference between life and death of your pig
  • Keep calm as the pig can sense your agitation and aim for 4-5 small feeds throughout the course of the day
  • Aim to feed at least 10 - 15 ml (10 to 15 x 1CC full syringes) per feeding
  • A pig that's not eating anything else needs 60 - 90 cc a day of Critical care, divided into 5-6 servings fed every 4 - 6 hours
  • If your guinea pig is losing weight despite force feeding, you will need to increase the frequency of the feed and/or amount of Critical Care mixture fed each time
  • If there is no poop after 30-45mins of force feeding, do not continue to force feed but instead check to see if your pig is bloated. See Bloat for more information
  • Fill up 1 CC syringe with the tip cut off and filed down (you want the ends to be smooth to prevent injuries)
  • Give about 0.2 cc with each push and ensure that guinea pig is chewing the food before feeding more
  • If CC is not available, grind up pellets and mixed with water/ baby food/vegetable or pure fruit juice can act as short term substitution
  • Please visit our Tutorials & Guides - Force Feeding for more information on how to force feed your guinea pig

All instructions on force feeding in this section is extracted from GuineaLynx’s medical thread titled ‘I must be doing this wrong, syringe feeding’ and contributed by Bpatters.

Your pig may fight you on being force fed, but you must persevere as it can make the difference between life or death of your pig.

Guinea pig Bloat

  • If your pig is not has not pooped in an hour or two, he may be experiencing bloat. This can quickly turn fatal if not treated in time
  • If your pig is suffering from bloat, you may notice that his stomach appears swollen or distended. You will hear a hollow sound when you lightly tap on it
  • Make your pig walk around, even if you have to nudge him along to get him to walk
  • After a few minutes of walking a few laps, pick your pig up and get him on his back on your lap and gently massage his lower abdomen until you get a few poops out of him. Keep repeating this as much as possible
  • A vibrating pillow or electric toothbrush (wrapped in towel) can also be useful. Place your guinea pig on top of the vibrating item so that his stomach can feel the vibration
  • Hang in there with your pig and don't give up if you don't get immediate results
  • DO NOT give your guinea pig any laxatives meant for human beings
  • Bring your guinea pig to see a vet as soon as possible in the event of bloat

Instructions are taken from contributor PinkRufus in GuineaLynx’s medical thread titled “Extreme Bloat Please Help".

Bring your guinea pig to see a vet as soon as possible in the event of bloat.

Diarrhea or Soft Stools

  • Cease all veggies and only feed pellets and hay
  • Give more hay and lesser pellets if possible
  • Avoid alfalfa-based pellets/hay
  • Feed probiotics such as Fibreplex or Benebac to replace the good bacteria in the digestive system
  • If poo turns watery, visit the vet immediately to get anti-diarrhea medicine such as Kaolin
  • Weigh frequently. Diarrhea can cause them to lose weight very fast. If weight is dropping, force feed more frequently
  • Start force feeding if guinea pig stops eating. Refer to notes under Force feeding. Syringe feed water too to prevent dehydration

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