Guinea Pig Diseases - Diarrhea

Guinea pigs Loose stools
  • Diarrhea is one of the more common health symptoms seen in guinea pigs.
  • It most often occurs as a symptom of some other condition.
  • When you see loose, unformed stools in your guinea pigs bedding and feces stuck to his bottom under the tail, your cavy is suffering from diarrhea.
  • Diarrhea should not be confused with the normal, soft cecotropes (night feces) that are produced and ingested by the guinea pig primarily at night.
  • Diarrhea can cause dehydration and electrolyte disturbances. It can also alter the normal fecal and intestinal pH (acidity or alkalinity) leading to disruption of normal bacterial flora that leads to abnormal bacterial growth and subsequent septicemia.

    • Causes:
    • There are several reasons a guinea pig might display diarrhea. Infections, whether parasitic, viral, or bacterial, can cause digestive issues.
    • Improper diet, like one consisting of too little fiber, is another leading cause.
    • Stress or any kind of metabolic or cancerous disease can result in diarrhea.
    • Mild diarrhea is usually a soft, light-colored, smeary stool caused by a sudden change in diet, consumption of spoiled food, or water that is too cold or stale.
    • Living in drafty or damp conditions can also be a factor.

      Guinea pigs may die suddenly without seeming sick. Others may have a range of signs listed below:
    • Loose stools
    • Weight loss
    • Loss of energy
    • Lack of appetite
    • Dehydration
    • Rough fur coat
    • Staining of the fur around the genital area with feces
    • Hunched posture
    • Dull eyes
    • Pain when the abdomen is touched or pressed
    • Fever or may have a low body temperature

      Oral antibiotics given to a guinea pig(Diarrhea) Diagnosis:
      Other than observing your guinea pig's clinical signs, your veterinarian will confirm a diagnosis of diarrhea by completing a dietary history of the animal and examining its blood and stool samples for infectious organisms.

      Contact your vet immediately, as severe diarrhea can lead to serious dehydration and death if left untreated. Treatment is based on the cause of the diarrhea and may include:
    • Dietary modification: Regardless of what caused your pig’s diarrhea, dietary management is always required. If your pet’s diet requires more fiber to prevent diarrhea, your veterinarian will advise you on a dietary change. One way to do this is to provide hay in addition to commercial guinea pig feed.
    • Fluid therapy: If your guinea pig refuses to drink water, the vet may have to put your pig on fluid therapy to restore proper fluid levels.
    • Motility drugs: that change the rate the ingesta (ingested food) is passed through the intestinal tract is given.
    • Antibiotics: If the cause is an infection of some sort, steps will be taken to combat it and cure your guinea pig’s symptoms. Antibiotics are given in some severe cases.
    • Probiotic: Feeding your guinea pig a commercial supplement called a probiotic with live cultures, may help to restore the healthy balance of “good” bacteria in its digestive tract.
    • Dewormers: Your vet may also suggest dewormers to cure diarrhea.

    • Keep your guinea pig’s environment clean to prevent any infections that could cause diarrhea.
    • Regularly clean and sanitize the cage itself, water bottles, food dishes, and any toys or structures.
    • Remove uneaten food promptly and replace bedding regularly.
    • Always keep the diet consistent by offering a free choice of timothy or grass hay and a limited quantity of fresh, high quality pellets. Avoid abrupt changes of brands or pellets.
    • Make all changes or additions of foods very gradual. Keeping your pet on a consistent and regular diet is imperative.
    • Avoid feeding only pellets.
    • Have all new pets checked by a veterinarian, and then annually or biannually thereafter, and maintain a stress free environment.
    • Always consult an experienced veterinarian regarding the health and treatment of your pet.