Q: My guinea pig is not eating and has lost a bit of weight but he is drinking quite a bit. His eyes are also looking cloudy and I have noticed that he has not pooped in a while. I live quite far from the nearest town and have not had a chance to see a vet. What should I do? Is there anything I can try before taking him in?
A: You have correctly deduced that your guinea pig’s condition is very serious and needs a visit to the veterinarian as soon as you can get him there. When guinea pigs start drinking more than the normal amount, this usually signifies a serious condition.
Diabetes mellitus can occur in guinea pigs and one of the first signs is increased thirst. Guinea pigs can also get several different diseases of the urinary tract and one sign of disease is increased water consumption. Even dental disease can cause a guinea pig to drink more than is typical and this is also a serious disease condition.
A guinea pig that is not eating well or not eating at all can become very sick, very quickly. Not only are vital nutrients not being ingested but without the proper daily intake of calories, guinea pigs can develop a serious, possibly fatal condition termed hepatic lipidosis. In some cases of hepatic lipidosis, we can treat and cure the initial cause of disease but the guinea pig will succumb to the manifestations of severe hepatic lipidosis.
What can you do until you visit the veterinarian? Keep your guinea pig in a safe area away from other animals. Do all you can to encourage water intake and food consumption. Give your guinea pig his favorite foods and treats just to try to get some calories and other nutrients into his gastrointestinal tract.
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