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Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 11549
Experience:  40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
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Hello, My guinea pig is suddenly not talking, lethargic and

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Hello, My guinea pig is suddenly not talking, lethargic and has a cold nose. When I put him down he was shaking a bit. He was fine a few hours ago when I cleaned out his cage. I put baking soda under the litter, could he have ingested it? I was reading that it was safe for piggies. He is about 1.5 years old and is generally very active and talkative.
Thank you

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'll try to help you today. I'm sorry to hear that Ceanas isn't well. some additional information will be helpful.

How is his appetite? Does he only eat when you hand feed him?

What kind of litter do you use?

Is he still shaking now?

Thank you.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

He is calm and quiet, laying in the cage. The litter is shredded paper with rolled sawdust pellets on the bottom. I have cleaned the cage again. This is the litter we have used since he came home with us. He would not eat or drink when I held the water right at his nose. I also put some grass right under his head and so far he has not eaten.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I just checked him and he is shaking and has moved into a fabric tunnel in the cage.


Thank you for getting back to me. I doubt the baking soda is the problem because it isn't toxic unless he were to consume a huge amount. I believe he is sick, so let's see if we can decide on some first aid measures for him.

Can you tell if he has been passing any droppings - any new ones since you cleaned the cage?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I can't tell because he has a brother in the cage with him. I did notice it to be pretty clean when I recleaned it, but it was only a couple of hours.


It is night here, I am in South Korea, and I am not sure I will be able to get him to a vet tomorrow on Sunday.

Thank you. Unfortunately, when a guinea pig stops eating, it is a medical emergency. It is called anorexia. If they go for 24 hours without eating, a condition called ketosis develops and the guinea pig cannot recover. When a guinea pig exhibits lethargy and appetite loss, something serious is wrong. You’ll need a vet to diagnose exactly what it is. The very best thing you can d o is find a vet who sees emergencies on weekends.

Until you can get to a vet, try to hand feed a variety of foods - a sprig of parsley, carrot, apple, a little piece of romaine lettuce. Be sure to leave timothy hay in the cage, too, in case he decides to try eating it. You can read more about anorexia at these two sites:

If there is nothing that will entice your guinea pig to eat, you can feed him from a syringe. You must make sure that he is passing stools before doing this because if he has a blockage, it's dangerous to force food into her system. To be sure, you can place him in a box by himself on paper towels and watch for droppings. If he's defecating normally, you can make a slurry of crushed pellets, water, and pureed vegetables. This can be more difficult than it sounds, so I'm giving you a link to a page that describes it in great detail, including variations on what to feed, and how often to feed:

It would also be good to give your guinea pig some electrolytes, even if he isn't passing droppings. Commercial products, such as Pedialyte an Dioralyte (made for human infants) are best, XXXXX XXXXX probably can't find them at night. I'll give you a recipe:

1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. table salt
1/2 tsp. potassium salt
3 tsp. sugar

Mix it all with 1 liter water.

The potassium salt is potassium chloride. It's sold in grocery stores as a salt substitute. It also is not likely to be available, so just make up the solution without it. Once you have the solution made, you'd mix it 1/2 solution and 1/2 water. Give it to Ceanas with a syringe placed in the side of his mouth. It will help with dehydration and hypoglycemia.

These measures may save your guinea pig's life in the short run, but they are first aid only, intended to keep up your guinea pig’s strength until you can get to a vet. If you have further questions about this, just let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope you're able to entice your guinea pig to eat and get him some assistance quickly.

Anna and other Pet Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks Anna, I will try this all and hope to find a vet in the morning.


You're welcome, Shelly. I feel so bad for you having to deal with a critical illness in the middle of the night. I'll be hoping for agood outcome for you.

If you need anything else, don't hesitate to ask.


There's no need to rate this little addition - you'd be charged again if you do.


Hi Shelly,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Ceanas. How is everything going?