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How To Treat Diarrhea In Guinea Pigs

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Tim Rhodes

You might have spotted loose or crumbly stool in your guinea pig’s cage and are wondering how to treat diarrhea in guinea pigs.

Indeed, feces is the first signal that something might be seriously wrong with your pet.

Often it is only a sign of a sudden change in your guinea pig pet’s diet or a sign of poor feeding combination that creates an imbalance of good bacteria in the digestive system of your pet.

In other words, improper diet can cause diarrhea in guinea pigs but it can also cause a loss of appetite.

However, diarrhea due to improper diet is not the only cause of diarrhea in your pet.

For instance, intestinal parasites, bacterial, viral infections, and poor hygiene are among the most common causes of diarrhea in guinea pigs.

While diarrhea is easy to spot, all pet owners will need to know how to identify which type of diarrhea requires immediate attention.

How To Treat Diarrhea In Guinea Pigs

To get prepared, you have to know your guinea pig’s habits.

Likewise, you need to learn what’s causing diarrhea in your pet and how to treat it properly.

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What Happens If a Guinea Pig Has Diarrhea?

What most guinea pig owners should know about their furry four-legged friends is that they come with a sensitive gastrointestinal tract that requires a good diet.

A guinea pig diet should contain good, floral bacteria to keep guinea pig’s bowel function normally and prevent diarrhea in guinea pigs.

Guinea pigs are prone to an uncomfortable bowel function when the amount of intestinal flora bacteria becomes unbalanced or if any sudden alterations are added into its diet, slow digestion, gas, and diarrhea.

Soft, watery stools are much more common in adult guinea pigs due to insufficient fibers or too many carbohydrates present in their diets, or maybe unbalanced floral bacteria.

Even certain vegetable consumption can cause soft, watery stools and a disbalance of the floral bacteria.

But, diarrhea is a symptom itself that is followed by other underlying conditions that need to be treated as soon as possible.

Due to the guinea pig’s sensitive digestive system, all owners must treat their pets before symptoms associated with diarrhea go out of hand.

Symptoms that come with diarrhea in guinea pigs are often followed by a weary and dull appearance, rough coat, loss of appetite, and, when the condition is much more severe, a very low body temperature.

Other signs to watch out for in sick guinea pigs include weight loss, dehydration, and anorexia.

Observing these signs in your pet indicates that there is something more than diarrhea and must be brought to the veterinarian for immediate attention and care.

When you notice that something is wrong with your pet it is important to call your vet or take your pet to the veterinarian to get an accurate diagnosis and learn what caused this situation and if it is infectious.

Your vet will know the best what to do by examining the feces of your guinea pig and will give you advice on how to handle it.

Besides, the veterinarian may help restore the stability of good bacteria in your guinea pig’s digestive system and restore the lost fluids.

What Can Cause Diarrhea In Guinea Pigs?

Diet

A guinea pig’s diet must be consistent.

Even as guinea pigs are omnivores, they rely on pellets and grass hay (timothy hay) to obtain the necessary nutrition.

Your pet needs balance to become a healthy guinea pig.

Common mistake owners make is feeding their guinea pig pellets made for other small animals.

Pellets for other small animals may be mixed with ingredients that are not suitable for guinea pigs.

This upsets your pet’s digestive tract and may cause diarrhea.

If a change of diet is needed, it is crucial to remember to slowly introduce new foods at a small amount and then gradually increasing the portion to prevent your guinea pig from contracting an upset stomach.

A balanced diet of greens, fruit, guinea pig pellets, or any other kind of food is vital; too much of one thing can cause diarrhea.

Avoid feeding nuts, beans, collard greens, and human food to your guinea pig as these foods upset its digestive system and cause diarrhea and other health issues.

Improve your guinea pig’s mild diarrhea by limiting its diet to only pellets and timothy hay.

If its condition does not improve, a trip to the veterinarian is needed.

Bacterial Infection

Another common cause of diarrhea in guinea pigs is infection (bacterial, viral).

Bacterial infections from an unhygienic environment or stale pet feed may cause severe cases of diarrhea.

One of the most common culprits of bacteria infections comes from Salmonella due to the possible ingestion of food and water that has been contaminated with stools or urine, usually due to an unclean habitat.

A much more serious bacterial infection that spreads toxins through the intestines can cause severe diarrhea that may contain blood to the point where it is life-threatening to your guinea pig.

It is important to keep your pet’s cage clean and have a regular set date where a deep scrub down is conducted using a mixture of light bleach solution and disinfectant to ensure that all potential bacterial presence will be removed as well as prevent it from being passed on to you.

Poor Dental Hygiene

Dental and oral hygiene is often neglected amongst pets.

Poor dental hygiene can cause diarrhea due to underlying dental problems that make it difficult for your guinea pig to chew its food.

If your guinea pig is drooling excessively or is finding it hard to properly chew its dinner, it may have problems with its teeth that need immediate care.

In that case, take your pet to a vet for a consult.

A veterinarian may suggest the best food to deal with your pet’s dental problems.

What Should I Do If My Guinea Pig Has Diarrhea?

Ensure a Correct Diet

A wrong diet is often the common cause of reason for diarrhea issues in a guinea pig.

Pet owners are advised against feeding their pet fruits and vegetables until diarrhea subsides.

In the meantime, guinea pigs should consume timothy hay with a mixture of food pellets accompanied by lots of fresh drinking water.

You should monitor your guinea pig during feeding times to ensure that it is eating properly.

Hand-feed your pet when necessary as the aim here is to have it fed and hydrated well to reduce diarrhea issues.

Fresh Bedding

Keep yourself reminded to keep your guinea pig’s cage clean and filled with fresh bedding to contain diarrhea.

Dirty bedding might be the primary reason why your pet has diarrhea, so be sure to regularly replace the hay with fresh ones.

Pet owners may often see immense positive results by the next day by simply keeping their guinea pig’s environment clean and fresh.

Keep Your Guinea Pig Hydrated

Diarrhea can often lead to dehydration issues.

Be sure to monitor your guinea pig on their water consumption to combat fluid loss from watery stools.

If your pet refuses to drink its fluids, your veterinarian may suggest supplying the necessary fluids through an IV that may help.

However, under no circumstances should you give antibiotics without a prescription as this could worsen the state of your guinea pig by disturbing the ratio of healthy bacteria within its digestive system.

How Can I Prevent Diarrhea In My Guinea Pig?

Guinea pigs require full attention on their diet, therefore, having good dietary management is vital in keeping your guinea pig happy, healthy, and diarrhea-free.

Ensure that there are sufficient fibers in its feed as well as plenty of water for your pet to drink.

To further help restore the balance of good bacteria in its digestive tract, adding plain yogurt with natural activated cultures can help.

Providing your guinea pig a healthy and balanced diet can be tricky.

Make sure that the pellets you are feeding to your guinea pig are formulated especially for these small animals.

Pellets for guinea pigs help them meet their necessary dietary needs.

As guinea pigs are sensitive creatures, feeding pellet food made for other animals can easily trigger diarrhea issues.

You can provide supplements into your pet’s diet such as fruits and vegetables that contain high levels of Vitamin C, minerals, and nutrients mixed into their necessary daily intake of fiber with timothy hay and pellets.

Foods rich in vitamin C are a great treat for guinea pigs as their bodies are not capable of storing vitamin C nor do they get much of it in the foods they consume.

Examples of green vegetables and fruits you can give to your guinea pig are broccoli, kale, apples, and sweet potatoes.

But you must only provide a maximum of 1 cup of leafy vegetables and fruit per day to prevent bacterial imbalance in your guinea pig’s body.

On the other hand, avoid foods such as nuts and seeds, dairy, artificial human foods, and avocado as this would cause distress to your pet’s gastrointestinal tract.

Diarrhea that was triggered by bacterial infection would require more attention towards both its diet and its living environment.

Ensure that its cage is sanitized and filled with fresh bedding.

This includes removing leftover feed and water to reduce organism growth that may worsen the condition of your pet.

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Final Thoughts

Diarrhea is a symptom, often related to another underlying condition.

Simply, guinea pigs are sensitive animals and require attention and care in all aspects, especially in their diet and living area.

Diarrhea associated with digestion problems may be solved with the necessary dietary supplements.

But if it is lacking nutrients in its diet, altering its food by adding fresh fruits or vegetables may be advised by your veterinarian.

A lack of fiber can also cause diarrhea and would need a diet consisting of high-fiber foods.

When in doubt, don’t try to let your sick guinea pig “sleep off” the illness and hope for a miracle the next day.

Instead, consult a veterinarian for advice and treatment.

It’s always better to consult a professional who can give you proper advice on your guinea pig’s health instead of taking risks.

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