WEIGHT LOSS IN GUINEA PIGS
Weight loss in guinea pigs can be one of the first signs that something more serious is going on, and should definitely be further investigated to find the underlying cause. Some of the more common reasons for weight loss in guinea pigs include dental disease, reduced appetite and food intake, stress and environmental factors, and other types of illness.
It is really important to have a consultation with your cavy-savvy vet to investigate why the weight loss is occurring, as guinea pigs can become critically ill very quickly.
We always recommend to weigh your guinea pig weekly on a small set of scales to monitor their weight, and also allows you to pick up on any changes early.
If your guinea pig is not eating, you will need to supplement their diet with OXBOW CRITICAL CARE formula. This not only keeps nutrition up to your guinea pig, but provides a high fibre content, and promotes gut motility. Critical care is sold as a powdered product that is mixed with water, allowing syringe feeding. It is important to NEVER FORCE any food product down the back of your guinea pigs mouth and stop immediately if any coughing occurs as it is possible to aspirate, resulting in potentially life threatening pneumonia. Dilution and feeding guides are found on the product packaging, and is available to purchase at most pet shops or vet clinics. WE RECOMMEND ALWAYS HAVING A PACKET OF CRITICAL CARE ON HAND FOR EMERGENCIES.
If your guinea pig is having difficulty eating due to dental disease but still has a good appetite, grating vegetables such as carrot, celery, zuccini and capsicum can allow for easier chewing.
It is also a good idea to take the opportunity and review the overall health of your guinea pig and the husbandry you provide. Are they receiving a balanced and adequate diet? Do they have an unlimited supply of hay and fibre? Are they losing weight due to not being offered enough food or not eating the food being offered? Is their vitamin C content adequate? Is there any stressors in the environment such as other guinea pigs or animals? Are there other signs of illness such as drooling, reduced motility, lethargy or wounds?
*please note the above advice does not substitute a consultation with your veterinarian, and we strongly encourage veterinary care for any signs of weight loss or illness. *