Thursday, March 19, 2015

Chewy's Big Day - About Guinea Pig Impaction

Chewy after his visit to the vet today.  Feeling much better now.

One of the lesser fun things about guinea pigs, is having to do boar cleanings.  This involves cleaning around the genitals of male guinea pigs to clear any build up of debris and stools.   This isn't always an issue with guinea pigs, but for some, especially older guinea pigs, it can build up and cause an impaction.  This is precisely what happened to Chewy, and it's the first time I've experienced this with my own guinea pigs.  It was scary!

Panic set in this morning when I realized Chewy had not touched any of the food and water I put in his cage yesterday.   I thought back and realized, I didn't see him as usual when I put it in the cage.  I went looking for him in his house and found him sitting stiffly, not wanting to move.  His eyes were dull, he didn't want to respond to me, and wasn't interested in food.   I coaxed him into eating some carrot, his vitamin C tablet, and drinking a little water.  I immediately called the vet to get an appointment set up.  When they were full, I scheduled with another cavy experienced vet further away.

After this was done, I started to look Chewy over.  There were no obvious signs of a problem until I got to his rear end.  I could clearly see a mass of stools stuck to him. is the go to reference I recommend for guinea pig medical information, so I first pulled this information:  Knowing that I needed to do this by myself immediately, I wanted to see exactly what to do.   This video was immensely helpful:  I soaked Chewy in a bowl of warm water with olive oil in it for a few minutes, and then did what the video demonstrates.  I put Chewy back in the cage for about a half an hour, took him back out, and did it again.   The second time, it appeared that I got everything, which the vet confirmed a couple hours later.

The vet check went very well. I did a good job getting him all cleaned out from the impaction and his teeth, etc. looked pretty good. He did have a little bit of crustiness around his eyes, which was new. I really think it was from his eyes watering earlier today when he was in so much discomfort. His eyes now look brighter, his squeal is back to beg for treats, and his appetite has returned! The vet wanted to put him on SMZ antibiotics just to make sure he isn't getting an URI while his immune system is down and I'm to make sure he doesn't drop anymore weight. He did get thin from not eating. Now that his appetite is already returning, I think getting his weight up will be pretty easy.

The vet did say I lubed him up pretty well.  Poor Chewy is quite greasy around the rear - that olive oil really worked great. I hope it helps him continue to pass stools without blocking up again. This will be something I continue to monitor closely.

Chewy is on the road to recovery!

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