The Peter Gurney Guinea Pig Health Guide
Administering medicines - guinea pigs
One of the bones of contention between myself, and many other people who have found it necessary to treat their own rodents, and the veterinary profession, is in the administration of medicines.
The biggest bone of all is that of the matter of putting of medicines in water bottles or sprinkling over food. That the drug companies do not seem to care about this method of administering their products convinces me that they are either complacent or far too fearful of upsetting their prime customers, the veterinary surgeons.
Both the veterinary authorities and the drug companies constantly justify the high price of animal medicine because of the high cost of testing each drug for individual species. One of the main factors of this is in getting the dosage correct. Yet how many times are owners advised to put the medicine in the drinking water of sprinkle it over the food by their veterinary surgeons!. You don't need professional qualifications to see the utter stupidity of this practice, or perhaps you do!. It is glaringly obvious to any average person that there is no way that the animal is going to get the measured amount of drug that all this research and money was expended upon to work out.
Perhaps, if you watched the patient for twenty four hours a day, checking it's intake of both water or food and them somehow managed to measure it coming out the other end in urine and pellets, you could get some where near working out if it had taken the proper dose, but I'd like to see anyone try it!.
The only time I add anything to the water is perhaps if the vegetable matter I am feeding is not up much or is in short supply, say in winter if there is a freeze up. I supplement the vitamin C with Rodoxen, effervescent, one tablet per litre of water.
I shall therefore explain just how each type of medicine is administered as I go.
Most tablets and pills can be powered down with a pestle and mortar and mixed with a small amount of water then syringed into the mouth. Very small tablets can be put into the mouth, well back onto the back teeth, if the jaws are held open, see photo. Be sure to have a syringe of water, or a nice juicy piece of cucumber handy to follow it up with to 'help the medicine go down.'
A general point. When syringing fluid to a guinea pig. Put syringe well into the mouth, about an inch, but at an angle, push plunger slowly and give a little at a time. However, if the animal is very weak, or has difficulties swallowing, only put tip of syringe into front of mouth and dribble in.
WHENEVER GIVING MEDICINES, OR EVEN NEW FOOD FOR THE FIRST TIME, ALWAYS CHECK DROPPINGS WITHIN A FEW HOURS AND IF THERE IS THE SLIGHTEST SIGN OF DIARRHOEA STOP THE MEDICINE OR FOOD.
Though all the medicines in this book have been tried and tested for a long time, occasionally, as can also be the case with human beings, a medicine or food will not agree with the patient and an alternative must be used.
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