Guinea Pig Post Operative Care

Guinea Pig Post Operative Care

Guinea Pig Post Operative Care is defined as “Care Given following Surgery after discharge from Vets”.The most important thing we can do as owners is to watch over our loved pets and insure they make a full recovery and as quick as possible.

It is not unusual for your Guinea Pig to be very quiet and less active which may also included decreased appetite and thirst following surgery. To aid in recovery we should be insuring that your Guinea Pig Eats and Drinks within the first 24 hour period to prevent Gastric Bloat from occurring as this can complicate matters and set your Guinea Pig back further from recovering.

One thing you could ask your Veterinarian to do prior to removing your Guinea Pig from the isoflurane gas is administer a Hydration Injection Sub-Cut at the shoulder to last your Guinea Pig for the first 24 hour period, this insures that your Guinea Pig does not dehydrate within the first 24 hour period.

There are a few things that may be given to you when you go to the Vet to pick up your Guinea Pig and this list is just a rough guide and may contain more medications then specified.

  • Antibiotics
  • Pain Medications (If your Vet has not dispensed any Pain Medications then it is advisable to speak to your Vet and request 7 day Pain Medication as without this it could hinder the recovery process)
  • Gut Motility Drugs (Metoclopramide, Emeprid, Cisapride)
  • Gas Reducing Medications (BIRP/Bloat Guard)
  • Syringes
  • Post-Operative Care Sheet (Will contain a contact number for Emergency Contact should anything go wrong)
  • Fibre Supplement (Fibreplex, Bio-Lapis) (Should be given 1-2 hours after any Antibiotic treatment to help stabilise gut flora)
  • Recovery Food (See Hand Feeding Information below)

If you are unsure on how to administer these drugs then speak to your Vet before discharge and they will be happy to go through things with you along with any other concerns you may have.

A Guinea Pig In Pain Will Not Eat

There are a few other things that you need to consider following surgery. This list is the most important part of the Recovery Process.

Keeping Them Warm Following Surgery

Any Guinea Pigs normally living Outdoors whether in the Garden, Shed or Unused Garage should be bought indoors for at least a minimum period of 7-10 days. There are many reasons for this and are not limited to :-

  • Whilst under anaesthetic gas Guinea Pigs are unable to regulate there body temperature so are kept warm using a Heat Pad, Heated Blanket or or other Veterinarian Equipment designed for that purpose.

Keeping them warm within the first 24-36 hours is critical until all Anaesthetic Medications are out of the system as they will not be able to regulate there temperature properly.

  • A cold Guinea Pig when feeling unwell will choose not to eat but in fact keep warm which will lead to further medical problems.
  • You can closely monitor your Guinea Pigs Behaviour, Urine Habits, Stool Habits and wound checks and more importantly Blood Loss in case of an emergency.
  • Keeping them warm also helps them utilise the antibiotics better.

Bedding Materials

This may seem a strange thing to change however it is vital that your Guinea Pig does not pick up an infection whilst already unwell. There are many bedding/substrates that can be used on an everyday basis however following any type of surgery one of these four items should be use instead at least until the wound has completely healed :-

  • VetBed (Recommended Over Any Other Bedding/Substrate)
  • Safe Bedding (Looks like Cut Up Jay Cloth)
  • Shredded Paper
  • Carefresh

Any other substrate like Wood Shavings, Straw should be avoided due to the Dust and in respects of the Straw longs strands which could damage the wound area.

Housing

Keeping your Guinea Pig confined may sound very cruel but in fact it is vital to restrict movement and the ability to jump excessively as this could cause damage or lesions to wound area.

For At least 7-10 days

Playtime / Grazing Time

For the same reasons as restricting there movement in open spaces the same should be considered for there playtime and especially Grazing Time as Dirt and Bacteria could enter any open wound on your Guinea Pig specially if the surgery site is Abdominal or in the Genital Area.

For At least 7-10 days

Weighing Daily

Following any kind of surgery you should ensure that you weigh your guinea pig daily to ensure that he/she does not have weight loss. I recommend weighing them first thing in the morning before they have there vegetables to give you the most accurate weight as possible. I would record this information on a page so that you can closely monitor any loss/gain in weight.

As a guide to how much weight can be lost without any concern I have given you a colour alert key below. This is only meant as a guide. If you are concerned speak to Veterinarian as soon as possible.

  • 28g Fluctuation is ok
  • 56g Amber Alert
  • 85g Red Alert (Seek Veterinary Attention Immediately)

If you are hand feeding your Guinea Pig and it is still losing weight then I would suggest increasing the amount and frequency of recovery food. If after a day or so your guinea pig is still losing weight then Seek Veterinary Attention Immediately as your guinea pig may need stronger pain relief or may be suffering from another medical problem.

For more information and other useful documents which can be printed see our Hand Feeding Page and our Weekly Weighing Page

Feeding

Your Guinea Pig may well be awake and alert but will make very little or no effort to eat so we need to be ready and prepared to Hand Feed our Guinea Pigs until it is able to eat on its own. Always offer your Guinea Pig Fresh Vegetables and Food along with Clean water every day.

So what do I need to Hand Feed my Guinea Pig?

Firstly you will need a Food suitable for Guinea Pigs that can be syringe fed. I personally recommend any of these as suitable Guinea Pig Recovery Foods :-

  • Oxbow Critical Care Formula (Recommended)
  • Supreme Science Recovery Plus
  • Oxbow Critical Care Fine Grind

These foods are mixed with water to make a liquid food, but contain all of the needed Nutrients and Vitamins to help keep your Guinea Pig alive until it is able to eat on its own.

You will also need a decent supply of Syringes which you would use to administer the food to your Recovering Guinea Pig. The best syringe I can recommend are made by a company called Braun and are rubber stopper free. I have included two pictures of 1ml Syringes one is made by Braun and the other are made by various manufacturers.

So why do you recommend Braun 1ml Syringes over any other type?

I recommend using the Braun syringes because the best way to administer Food using this syringe is because you will have to remove the barrel of the syringe to stop it from blocking whilst trying to feed your guinea pig. The only trouble with the syringes to the left that there is a fair chance if you push the syringe to hard the rubber stopper may come out of the end of the syringe which your Guinea Pig could choke on or swallow which will cause a blockage and further surgery. Whereas the Braun Syringes have no rubber sucker on the end so even if you push to hard the worse they can do is chew on the end of the plunger.

I have included some images at the bottom of this page to show what is meant by the barrel being removed.

So how often should I be syringing my Guinea Pig with food?

The recommended amount of food varies depending on the size of the Guinea Pig. If your Guinea Pig is over 700g in weight I would recommend at least 10-20ml of food every 2-3 hours to ensure gut motility is not compromised. For a more detailed information on Hand Feeding then please click here for our Hand Feeding Guide.

In the previous paragraph you have stated that my Guinea Pig needs to be fed every 2-3 hours, But I work anything from 5-10 hours a day, Will it hurt to leave my Guinea Pig for this amount of time without being hand fed?

This is not very good for your Guinea Pig in many ways health wise and the reasons are :-

  • If they are not eating/drinking on there own they will potentially being starving there system of Important Vital Vitamins (Vitamin C – Immune System) and much need proteins and energy this will lead to a set back in recovery. The most common problems caused by this are and not limited to  :-
  • Scurvy (Vitamin C Deficiency)
  • Gastric Bloat
  • Dental Malocclusion
  • Ketosis (Guinea Pig Toxaemia – Can Be Fatal)
  • Post Operative Complications – If your Guinea Pig manages to chew at the stitches or if the wound becomes compromised may bleed out and will need Urgent Veterinary Attention.

So what can I do as I need to work and can’t get time off work?

There are a few options here and is all dependent on your circumstances and your location. They are as follows :-

  • Veterinary Care – For a daily fee (can be anything from £20 upwards) you can admit your Guinea Pig in to the care of your Veterinary Practice who will feed them whilst your working for you to collect later after your working shift has finished. You will however need to speak to your Vet with regards to closing times to ensure you are able to pick them up at the end of the day.
  • Rodent Health Advisor (Trained by the British Association Of Rodentologist) – For a daily donation of anything from £4 – £10 daily. These Health Advisors are trained to take care of your Guinea Pig and monitor for any serious problems and rush them to a Vet if needed. As part of their care and commitment they will do the following :-
  • Monitor the wounds (Will monitor Urine, Faeces and Blood Loss)
  • Hand Feed your Guinea Pig
  • Administer Drugs Provided by your Veterinarian
  • Administer Oral Fluids (If Water consumption is not being observed)

How do I contact a Rodent Health Advisor?

To locate a Rodent Health Advisor in your area please contact there Head Quarters in Cambridge by visiting there website here.

For detailed information on Rodent Health Advisors and for information on what they can do can be found on a page that I have dedicated to them which you will find here or using the links in the menu at the top of the page.

Braun Syringe with Barrel cut off

guinea pig post operative care

Syringe Barrel Off