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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 20619
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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My guinea pig ate a tomato leaf. Will he be okay?

Resolved Question:

My guinea pig ate a tomato leaf. Will he be okay?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.
Did he just have one?
How is he currently?
Active as usual or subdued? Any wobbliness or weakness?
Any decline in appetite or diarrhea?
If you press on his belly, does he seem uncomfortable at all?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hello Dr. B.
Thanks for your quick response.
He only ate one. He's active and his usual self. No diarrhoea and he's still eating and drinking fine. No signs of discomfort on his abdomen.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you,
First, I am very glad to see that he is well in himself and that you are seeing none of those signs I asked after. The reason for my range of questions is because when we have tomato leaf exposure, we can see two types of adverse effects in our cavies. The first is severe GI upset with drooling, appetite loss, diarrhea, and belly pain. These are what we'd be most worried about here with your wee one. Otherwise (and usually with higher doses), we can see neurological signs like confusion, weakness, lethargy, and dilated pupils. As well, in high doses, we can also see abnormal slowing of the heart.
Now at this stage, since he has had only one leaf and is well in himself, the key here is to monitor your lad closely. Since cavies cannot vomit, we cannot decontaminate the stomach in the traditional manner we would with other species. Instead, the mainstay approach is monitoring and supportive care as needed. At this point, if he showing no signs, then we just want to make sure that he keeps eating for you. As long as he does so and does not develop any of the GI signs I noted, we'd just want to continue to monitor for the next 48 hours (if we can get past that time frame then we will be unlikely to see any further issue from this). Of course if he shows any of these signs or shows a waning appetite (since anorexia is one of the few emergencies for this species), then we'd want him to his vet immediately. If he did develop these signs, he would need to be treated with fluids (to help flush the tomato toxin from his body quicker), prokinetics (to keep the GI moving) and pain relief to keep his gut moving and keep him stable as the body flushes out the tomato toxin.
Finally just to note, in case you find him going off his food at any stage, you will want to start syringe feeding him immediately. Ideally we will use balanced syringe feeding diets (ie Supreme Recovery, Oxbow Critical Care diet, etc)
but as a short term measure I do just want to note that you can syringe feed veggie baby food with his pelleted feed crushed into it. This will at least help keep things moving should be go off his food when his vet is not available to see him. Hopefully, you won't need to do so, but I did just want to mention it in case he did need you do intervene for him.
Overall, one leaf will likely only be a small dose and if he is well, then we'd be less worried about his situation. Still, it is important to monitor him closely for the above signs. Hopefully, he will just remain as he is over the next 24- 48 hours. But of course, should you see any of those signs, then they would be red flags that we'd want him seen by his vet urgently so that supportive care could be administered to help him flush this from his body without any harm.
I hope this information is helpful.
If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!
All the best, *****
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