How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. Joey Your Own Question
Dr. Joey
Dr. Joey, Board Certified
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 4723
Experience:  15 yrs in practice, specialist canine/feline medicine
Type Your Veterinary Question Here...
Dr. Joey is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My guinea pig wont eat or drink and she just lays there.

Customer Question

My guinea pig won't eat or drink and she just lays there. She looks like she may be limping as well. what could be wrong? can I treat her?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Joey replied 5 years ago.

Dr. Zoe :

Hello, I am Dr. Zoe. This is very concerning. Is she giving you any signs other than not eating and preferring to not be active such as loose stool or difficulty breathing? I also would like to know what diet she is on (pellets, hay, vitamin C supplement, fresh foods).

Dr. Zoe :

The bottom line is that not eating is often a sign SECONDARY to whatever the primary problem may be. I am afraid I may not be able to guess based on simply being lethargic and not eating what her primary problem is (it could be anything from dental disease to bladder stones to kidney issues to cancer); this would really require a good exam or another more specific problem for me to guess. But the not eating is something you need to address right now.

Dr. Zoe :

With not-eating this causes some signifcant problems that are important to understand in order to know what it is so crucial we get her eating again. Guinea pigs are designed to be eating all the time. Their system is always running/digesting. So, when a pig stops eating the entire digestive tract comes to a halt. The bacteria naturally in the system overgrow and release gas (painful) and toxins, which cause a pig to get even sicker. Ideally, therapy for this involves a combination of hydration (best done by your vet with subcutaneous or under-the skin fluids), antibiotics, promotility drugs, pain relief drugs and you syringe feeding at home. Now, you can start some of this at home. But I do want to be very honest that if we do not get her going again, she really may not make it especially if she has been this way for longer than a day. This is what we consider an emergency for a guinea pig.

Dr. Zoe :

Start syringe feeding her at home- to do this you can either purchase the Oxbow Critical Care Recovery Herbivore diet at your vet or a pet store (not prescription). I like the Find Grind version since it is easier to syringe feed. This is a diet you just add water and then syringe into her mouth. If you cannot find this then use people baby food of the fruit or vegetable varieites. You want to also get a 6 cc (1ml = 1 cc) syringe to use for feeding her (can purchase at any pharmacy). You then want to syringe into her at least 12 to 24 ml (that is 2 to 4 syringefuls) of food every 6 to 8 hours until she is eating on her own. You can also syringe into her an electrolyte solution such as Pedialyte for children (fruity flavors are best). Remember guinea pigs cannot vomit so if she swallows it stays down. There really are not over-the-counter medications that will help this situation. This is about the only thing you can start now. I really would discuss if it is possible to get her seen by a vet.

Expert:  Dr. Joey replied 5 years ago.
It does not appear that you are available to facilitate a chat, or we are having some technical problems connecting. I have switched us to this forum where we can still have a dialog. I need to know your thoughts and quesitons at this point.

-Dr. Zoe
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Can you call an antibiotic to a local pharmacy?
Expert:  Dr. Joey replied 5 years ago.
No, I am not able to prescribe for you as an online veterinarian. I can only provide you with information. To prescribe I would need to actually examine her, just like your regular veterinarian. I am sorry. And there is no way to get around this since all antibiotics are prescription products. I would not trust any product being sold as an antibiotic without a prescription.

-Dr. Zoe
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I am sorry for not getting back to you. I had an emergency with my son and am now just getting back to normal. It was unfortunate that the guinea pig had died during this stressful time. My other son never did get into my e-mail to see your response so I do not know if the answer was helpful or not. I appreciate that there is such a service on the internet and hope if I ever need it again it will be helpful. Thank you for your time.
Expert:  Dr. Joey replied 5 years ago.

You are welcome and I am so sorry to hear that she passed away.

Take care,

Dr. Zoe