Exotis ISSN 2398-2985

Guinea Pigs

Anorexia

Synonym(s): Decreased appetite, Poor appetite

Contributor(s): Cathy Johnson-Delaney, Molly Varga

Introduction

  • Cause: there are many causes including any condition that leads to pain or discomfort associated with feeding behavior or stress, including surgery, and any disease condition associated with nausea, toxicity, gastrointestinal disturbance. An abrupt diet change (even just changing the brand of pellet or hay may cause a guinea pig to stop eating), changing dishes, location of dishes, types of fresh foods or treats can also cause a guinea pig to become anorexic.
  • Signs: lack of interest in eating, change in defecation, weight loss, dehydration, lethargy, signs of pain/reluctance to move, poor coat condition, dental disease, tachypnea if in pain, masses present (abscess, etc), abdominal distension/tympany.
  • Diagnosis: history and clinical signs, physical and dental examination, imaging, bloodwork.
  • Treatment: depends underlying cause.
  • Prognosis: depends underlying cause, severity, and duration prior to presentation.
Print off the Owner factsheets on Anorexia and Giving your guinea pig a health check to give to your clients.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

Predisposing factors

General

  • Incorrect diet:
  • Abrupt changes to diet (including changing the brand of pellet or hay), dishes, furnishings in the cage, environmental/social changes may cause the guinea pig to stop eating.

Specific

  • Pregnancy.

Pathophysiology

  • The causes of the anorexia are related to the etiologies as listed above.

Timecourse

  • The onset of anorexia can be gradual over several days to acute.
  • Once the guinea pig has stopped eating and the gut has slowed or stopped, it is an emergency:
    • Hepatic lipidosis Hepatic lipidosis is rapidly associated with anorexia in herbivores.
    • This may complicate the anorexic condition.

Epidemiology

  • Most cases presented will be individuals.
  • In breeding colonies or multiple cavy households, infectious agents are always considered, particularly if there is respiratory disease.
  • Stress due to the environmental conditions, social conditions, and dietary deficiencies can affect all within a household or colony.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Theus M, Bitterli F & Foldenauer U (2008) Successful treatment of gastric trichobezoar in a Peruvian guinea pig (Cavia aperea porcellus). J Exotic Pet Med 17 (2), 148-151 ExoticPetMed.
  • Jaax G P, Jaax N K, Petrali J P, Corcoran K & Vogel A P (1990) Coronavirus-like virions associated with a wasting syndrome in guinea pigs. Lab Anim Sci 40 (4), 375-378 VetMedResource.

Other sources of information

  • Minh H (2013) Anorexia. In: Clinical Veterinary Advisor Birds and Exotic Pets. Eds: Mayer J & Donnelly T M. Elsevier. pp 253-254.
  • Hawkins M G & Bishop C R (2012) Disease Problems of Guinea Pigs. In: Ferrets, Rabbits, and Rodents Clinical Medicine and Surgery. 3rd edn.  Eds: Quesenberry K E & Carpenter J W. Elsevier. pp 295-310.


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