You might have spotted loose or crumbly stool in your guinea pig’s cage; now it’s time to think about prevention and treatment of guinea pig diarrhea.
Feces signal that something might be wrong with your guinea pig’s digestive system.
Often, loose stools can be a sign of a sudden change in a guinea pig’s diet and a sign of an improper diet of your pet.
The poor feeding combination can create an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in your guinea pig’s gut, which can lead to severe diarrhea.
Apart from diarrhea, improper diet can also cause loss of appetite.
However, aside from your pet’s diet, other factors are responsible for a guinea pig’s health.
For instance, intestinal parasites, bacterial, viral infections, and poor hygiene are among the most common causes of diarrhea in guinea pigs.
For that reason, if you are a new guinea pig owner, we have to say that you can only keep your guinea pig healthy and clean by taking care of its habitat regularly and feeding it properly.
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10 Best Tips To Treat Diarrhea In Guinea Pigs
Here are some tips in treating your guinea pigs when it has diarrhea but a bit of general advice is that you visit a vet once you notice weird symptoms about your pet.
Diarrhea can be a part of the symptoms of an underlying condition your pet is facing.
What Does Guinea Pig Diarrhea Look Like?
Guinea pig’s poop is oval and slightly brown.
It’s dry and fairly hard.
So, when you notice your pet’s poop looks watery and loose, and it occurs consistently for some time, you should know definitely that something is wrong with your guinea pig’s digestive system.
Your cute little pet has diarrhea.
Diarrhea is one of the most common health issues that affect guinea pigs and it often occurs as a symptom of a secondary or an underlying health condition of your guinea pig.
It is not life-threatening but you need to act fast.
You can treat your guinea pig at home if you quickly notice the symptoms of diarrhea but if it looks too bad and you feel too concerned for your little pet, quickly contact a vet.
What Are the Causes of Diarrhea in Guinea Pigs?
A lot of things can cause your guinea pigs to have diarrhea, and as stated above, it can also be part of a symptom of a secondary or an underlying condition so don’t forget to visit the vet.
Here are a few relevant factors causing diarrhea in your guinea pig.
What your pet eats, determines a lot.
When your pet eats too much grain rather than grasses, there is a higher chance that its stomach gets irritated and subsequently develops a digestive issue.
That way, your pet’s diet will be low on fiber and more insoluble sugar.
With an irritated stomach, your guinea pig’s poop might be looking a lot like dark chocolate.
That doesn’t look good for what that poop should look like.
These are infectious agents and can range from viruses, parasites, fungi, and bacteria.
Once your pet comes in contact with these micro-organisms, the chances of it getting diarrhea are very high.
These micro-organisms attach to the intestinal linings of your pet, and their presence affects the ability of your pet to absorb food and water which will subsequently result in stools
Your pet can come in contact with these micro-organisms when it shares the same beddings with an affected guinea pig, social interactions with an infected guinea pig.
The micro-organisms also come in contact, when the feeds of your pet come in contact with the feces of a pet that has diarrhea.
3. Poor Hygiene
Cleanliness is healthiness.
When you don’t keep proper hygiene of your pet, it gets exposed to a lot of micro-organisms which will be harmful to it, causing different diseases including diarrhea.
What Are the Symptoms of Diarrhea in Guinea Pigs?
Delving further, when you are not convinced whether your guinea pig has got diarrhea, watch out for the following symptoms.
1. Loose or Watery Stool
This is obvious.
Whenever you see that the poop of your guinea pig appears watery constantly, it indicates a high chance that your pet is suffering from diarrhea.
To discover this, you need to be very vigilant and observant.
Your pet will seem to have thick and sticky saliva and its urine will be dark-colored than normal.
Its eyes will also look irritable and it will find it hard to drink water.
3. Loss of Appetite
Another sign of diarrhea in the guinea pigs is that the guinea pig will experience difficulty in eating and may subsequently develop a fever then lose weight.
You should note that this can as well be a symptom of other conditions your pet might be suffering.
So, it will be advisable that you consider this symptom in connection with other clear symptoms so you can make a clear judgment.
4. Dull and Depressed Appearance
Guinea pigs are active and sociable pets.
Their eyes are clear, bright and most times opened (partially during sleep).
Whenever your guinea pig is weirdly reserved, check out for other signs that may point out whether it’s suffering from diarrhea or any other diseases.
5. Rough Hair Coat
Guinea pigs have pretty fur covering their robust body.
They have pointed and soft fur and they blend uniquely with the colors on its body.
Once you notice that your guinea pig is not looking as beautiful as it used to, the chances are that your guinea pig is suffering from diarrhea.
6. Hunched Posture
A hunched posture is an abnormality in guinea pigs and when it hunches its back, it depicts that it’s experiencing pain and that pain is stopping it to eat.
You will need to look at the bottom cause of the pain.
It won’t be far-fetched if upon getting to the vet, your pet is being diagnosed to have contracted diarrhea.
7. Abnormal Body Temperature
The normal body temperature of a guinea pig is 102F to 104F.
Hence, when it comes to your knowledge that your pet’s temperature is irregular, the possibilities are that your guinea pig might be suffering from diarrhea.
A healthy guinea pig stays awake for up to 20 hours per day.
This means that these cute creatures only sleep for short periods.
When your pet suffers diarrhea, it will experience a loss of energy and suffer weakness.
So, when your guinea pig sleeps for too long and seems unexcited, you know what’s up with it.
9. Abdominal Pain
It is common in pets when they suffer pain to breathe fast.
When you notice this in guinea pigs, it signifies the same thing as other pets.
It’s feeling pain.
There are other signs of pain and illness commonly known to pets – guinea pigs inclusive.
You can watch out for these signs to determine if your guinea pig suffers pain.
These include teeth grinding, hunched appearance, drooling, reluctance to move, and squeaking in pain.
10. Sunken Eyeballs
Guinea pig’s eyes are bright and shining.
Your guinea pig has a sunken eye when it has a hollowing or dark shadow or dark circle underneath its eyes.
This can or show that it suffers dehydration which is much related to diarrhea.
How to Treat Diarrhea in Guinea Pigs?
Guinea pigs like many pets’ hide signs of illness for a long time.
So, it is advisable for pet owners such as guinea pigs to keep an eye out, so you can quickly identify early symptoms to prevent cases from worsening.
Diarrhea seems to be the earliest sign when your per suffers from an illness or stress.
Once you notice your guinea pig is showing one or more of the signs above, you don’t need to get worried.
Caring for a sick guinea pig is very tasking because those little furry creatures are very sensitive to their environment.
Thus, pet owners should take symptoms seriously as soon as they recognize them.
There are some measures you can put in place and watch it recover back to that exciting pet you care for.
Here are some tips for treating diarrhea in guinea pigs below.
1. Nutritional Therapy
Diarrhea can result when there is no balance in what your guinea pig eats.
So, you should not allow your guinea pig to eat arbitrarily.
When it does, the food irritates the lining of its intestine, or most likely, such foods contain contaminants that can cause diarrhea.
So, as a pet owner, you have to be conscious of what your guinea pig feeds on.
A healthy diet is such that contains a low calcium content augmented with a small amount of high fiber.
You should introduce quality grass hay to your guinea pig and that should be a major component of its daily feed.
Cut its vegetable intake to the barest minimum because overeating green vegetables can cause diarrhea.
One cup of vegetables is enough and don’t overwhelm your guinea pig with a series of vegetables all at once.
You introduce vegetable diets one at a time and watch how your guinea pig reacts to each.
You can try out these vegetables: Carrots, Romaine lettuce, Peas, Broccoli spears, Green and red bell peppers, and dark green vegetables.
Also, you need to reduce the fruit intake of your pet much more than the vegetables because of their sugar content.
A very small quantity of fruit is enough to provide your guinea pig with the amount of Vitamin C its needs.
You can try out the following fruits: apples, bananas, blueberries, cucumber, cantaloupe, strawberries, and watermelon, but make sure they are in small quantities.
2. Fluid therapy or Rehydration
When your guinea pig suffers diarrhea, it gets dehydrated, that is, its fluid content becomes low.
This is where fluid therapy comes in as a treatment.
The goal here is to make sure the fluid level of the guinea pig is properly maintained and eventually rehydrated.
The estimated requirement of water intake in the guinea pig is 100ml per day.
That is like ½ of a cup.
So, you need to increase the water intake of your guinea pig when it suffers dehydration due to diarrhea.
There are different means through which you can pass fluids through your guinea pig.
You can use a syringe to pass fluid in piecemeal through the diastema of the guinea pig.
You can administer these processes yourself.
There are other technical means you can pass fluid in case the syringe method does not work.
For instance, you can pass fluids using intravenous (IV) or intraosseous (IO), or the subcutaneous (SC) process.
You will need the help of a vet doctor to get these processes flawlessly done.
When diarrhea is a result of an underlying condition, fluid therapy is always recommended until there is a proper diagnosis.
To treat diarrhea in that case, you need to treat the underlying diseases.
These are being used to fight infectious organisms that may be the cause of diarrhea in your guinea pig.
They should be sparingly used.
Unless diarrhea has worsened and the occasion has called for it.
But, you should be careful and vigilant on how your pet reacts to these antibiotics because guinea pigs are very sensitive to common antibiotics and they might worsen your guinea pig’s diarrhea.
Do not prescribe antibiotics yourself.
Visit a professional and experienced vet in the treatment of guinea pigs for relevant prescriptions and make sure you follow the dosage administration carefully.
Recommended antibiotics for guinea pigs include chloramphenicol and enrofloxacin.
Infectious agents such as viruses, fungi, parasites, and bacteria can cause diarrhea in guinea pigs.
In cases where the vet can identify the diarrhea-causing organism, you can perform deworming to flush out the organism.
Fenbendazole or metronidazole are examples of dewormers in guinea pigs.
Get a prescription from an experienced and professional vet before you administer these de-wormers to fight diarrhea in your guinea pig.
5. Motility drugs
When you feed guinea pigs with inappropriate diets, they tend to develop Gastrointestinal Stasis and that causes a decrease in the contractions of gastrointestinal tracts.
In simple terms, it means that your pet will suffer indigestion and experience diarrhea.
Also note that, when your pet suffers diarrhea, it loses appetite and stops eating, and once your pet stops eating, it’s prone to suffer gastrointestinal stasis.
Motility drugs are then introduced to aid movement of the bowel in the gastrointestinal tract
These are drugs that help improve the rate at which food digests.
They are being applied through injections until intestinal motility begins to return.
Examples of these drugs include cisapride, metoclopramide, or ranitidine.
Visit a vet for prescriptions of these drugs and do not prescribe by yourself.
6. Forced Feeding
Guinea pigs suffering from diarrhea find it difficult to eat voluntarily and it is necessary for the life and sustenance that it eats.
Therefore, you will need to force-feed your guinea pig when it’s sick until it’s healthy and active to pick food on its own.
Nutritional support is very important when your guinea pig has diarrhea.
In doing that, it is important to handle it with care.
You can get a syringe with fluids, and gently insert the tip between the incisors, and inject the fluid in its mouth little by little.
7. Dental Hygiene
Most people when they treat diarrhea in guinea pigs often tend to ration out the dental hygiene of the sick animal.
However, you should pay attention to that.
When your guinea pig suffers from a dental problem, it finds it difficult to chew its food properly and that can result in irritation to your pet’s bowel.
So, in treating diarrhea, don’t forget to improve the dental hygiene of your pet.
This will also help to optimize its treatment and quick recovery.
Guinea pigs are hygienic animals.
But, when your guinea pig has diarrhea, it will have loose and watery poop on its rear.
To complement the treatment that is being administered, you need to groom it to keep clean and free from infectious organisms.
To do this, you can use a damp washcloth or a soft brush to wipe its furs clean.
9. Isolate From Environmental Stressor
Stress is one of the causes of diarrhea in guinea pigs.
Therefore, you need to be sensitive about how often you change the environment of your guinea pig.
Guinea pig becomes stressed from sudden changes in their pen, water, and their food.
Also, dogs and cats are potential stressors, so you will want to keep them away from your pet.
A little distance from these stressors can work magic alongside other treatments
10. Treat Underlying Disease
A lot of factors cause diarrhea in guinea pigs.
The most common is that your guinea pig suffers an underlying condition and shows diarrhea as a symptom.
The dietary problem and other related causative factors may sometimes be the only disease your pet suffers at a time.
But the chances are uncommon.
Diarrhea is rare in guinea pigs as an independent disease.
Most of the time shows as an overlay of another disease the guinea pig suffers.
Treating that secondary or underlying condition means solving the root cause of the problem and treating diarrhea.
How to Prevent Diarrhea in Guinea Pigs?
You can practice the following measures with your guinea pig and it will be far from diseases, including diarrhea.
When your pet’s pen is not properly maintained, you expose it to a lot of infectious organisms that can infect your guinea pig with any kind of disease.
Thus, to prevent diseases and subsequently diarrhea, you need to maintain a considerable level of hygiene to cut the connection it has with disease-causing micro-organisms.
In doing this, properly disinfect the pens with pet-friendly disinfectants.
Remove uneaten feeds from the pen as soon as possible to prevent them from rotting inside the pen.
Good sanitation will help to control and prevent your guinea pig from contracting infectious diseases that may result in diarrhea.
Prevent your guinea pig from eating on open fields and make sure you wholly wash the vegetables and fruits you feed it.
You can work on the following healthy routines to keep your guinea pig from diseases:
- Provide clean and fresh feeds daily (don’t give your guinea pig leftovers)
- Provide clean water daily
- Clean and arrange the bedding every 7 days
- Gently brush its furs every 7 days
- Trim your guinea pig’s nail every 14 days
- Guinea pigs are healthy pets, you can decide to bathe your pet every 3 to 12 months
2. Healthy Diet
To prevent your guinea pig from contracting diseases including diarrhea, ensure that its daily food contains an adequate amount of roughages by feeding it a diet consisting of good-quality grass hay.
Avoid feeding your guinea pig foods like meat, chocolate, nuts, avocadoes, potatoes, peanut butter, corn kernels, dairy products, cabbage, mushrooms, bread, garlic, iceberg lettuce, etc.
In the instance where you have more than one pet in the same house, you risk the other from contracting the same disease.
To avoid this, you will need to create separate pens for each guinea pig.
Doing this gives you the chance to watch the sick pet and track its recovery.
Moreover, it is advisable to create separate pens for new guinea pigs and quarantine them for a considerable number of days before you allow them to mix with your other guinea pigs.
You should also take note that stress as a factor can cause diarrhea in guinea pigs.
So, separate them from where your cats, dogs, and other pets that may threaten them may reach.
Diarrhea in guinea pigs depends on the hygiene in your guinea pig’s cage and its proper diet.
A diet consisting of an unlimited supply of timothy hay and a cup of a different mixture of raw and fresh fruits and vegetables every day is a healthy guinea pig diet.
Don’t forget to change the water in your pet’s bowl or water bottle as often as possible, and clean your guinea pig’s bedding regularly.
By keeping your pet in sanitary conditions and feeding it properly, you will be able to avoid bacterial infection.
However, if you think that the reasons behind your pet’s upset stomach are much worse than just a change in diet, such as parasitic infections, take your pet to a vet immediately.
So, the best advice to give to guinea pig owners is not to give their guinea pigs treatments on their own and worsen the condition of their pets.
Visit a vet for proper diagnosis and adequate treatment as soon as your pet shows an upset digestive system.