Sunday, October 11, 2015

Medicating Cannoli

The setup: scale, pig, weight journal, meds and reward
I have often told people that you do not want to give guinea pigs pills.  Liquid meds is the only way to go.  Cannoli has been getting medication for her thyroid for the last couple of months.  I went against my own advice and got pills, because I could get them immediately instead of waiting several days to pick up a suspension at the vet.  The pill she gets is so tiny, I thought I'd have no problem.  However, one of these days I'll have no choice but to drive to the vet.  Cannoli gets cagier every day in tablet avoidance.  (In fact last night she managed to secretly spit it out and I only found it this morning.) 

Back in August I started by hiding the pill in a bit of banana.  So easy!  One whiff of that and down the hatch.  Which was great, until Noli remembered that bananas aren't supposed to crunch.  She stopped eating banana.


I had similar luck with melon rind and bell pepper.  Then I stopped this approach fearing Noli would refuse all fresh veggies thinking I was sneaking something into it.  I had some practice with wrestling pills into a guinea pig with Pinniped.  If it gets back to the molars, there's a crunch and that's the end of the pill.  Perfect.

That worked once with Cannoli.  Once.

After that?  She sits slack-jawed for a moment, then carefully works the pill up to her lips and spits it out.  Smack, smack, smack, spit.  What a stubborn little rodent!

Next tactic - I offered her a "chaser" after giving her the pill, in hopes that munching something good would make her forget about the pill in her mouth.  Again, it worked all of one time then she got wise.

I am losing a battle of will power with an 820g rodent.  (Which, sadly, isn't the first time.)

Post-pill stink eye
Then one night I thought I had it.  She was still chewing a  mouthful of corn husk (a favorite of hers).  In went the pill... out came pill, half-chewed corn husk and all.  Oi!

As of last week, my best luck is with an apple peel chaser.  That's tasty enough that it all goes down (well, until last night - I'm still not sure how she managed that).

So until I get a suspension, we have a twice-daily staring contest:  Noli sulks and gives me the stink eye as I watch to see if she spits out the pill.  If she takes too long before she tries to spit it out, it dissolves.  I win.  She hasn't quite grasped that it is going to go down, even if it takes me three attempts to do it. 

Stubborn, head strong, willful little pig.  Cannoli, I'm not doing this to torture you.  I am trying to make you feel better.  The DO NOT WANT is strong in this pig.  However, the I AM THE MAMA is stronger.

Or at least it is for today.


  1. Hope Noli feels better soon! Piggies are so smart and figure things out so quickly. I hope you can switch to liquid soon.

  2. Have you considered crushing the pill and mixing it with some critical care or even just water so that you can syringe it to her?

    1. I have. Problem with Critical Care is Cannoli's been known to spit that out, too. If she did, then I'd have even less of an idea if she got her proper dose or not. I figured pill wresting was still less work than crushing it and adding water. But it doesn't matter as of today - I'm picking up a suspension from the vet. Should be easier all around.

  3. That's hilarious!! Bramble and Patches would do this too😄😄


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