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My Guinea Pig Is Peeing Blood – What Does It Mean?

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Tim Rhodes

Have you ever seen your guinea pig peeing blood?

If you have, then it’s not something to delay with.

You need to hand it over to the professionals so that they can ascertain what the problem is.

What Does Urine In The Blood Signify?

Is your guinea pig peeing blood?

It could be as a result of one of several reasons, probably best answered by consulting your nearest local vet.

After considering all possibilities, including the signs of outward physical hurt, and seeing the pain or discomfort level of your guinea pig, the vet could arrive at one of the following conclusions.

Medically, blood in the urine is called haematuria – a medical condition, wherein, simply put, red blood cells pass out through the urinary tract.

Your guinea pig could also be suffering from a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), which can range from mild and curable, to very serious.

Perhaps, your female guinea pig hasn’t been neutered yet, causing blood to ooze out from her reproductive tract (while this is acceptable in other animals, guinea pigs don’t generally bleed if not spayed or neutered).

The most common cause is kidney stones or uroliths.

What are the Potential Causes of the Bleeding?

Are you feeling guilty, somewhere deep down, that perhaps, something in your pet’s diet that you neglected or added has caused this?

Or perhaps you think you were so caught up with work and running a home, that you were careless or irresponsible?

Well, you shouldn’t blame yourself for this.

Now is the time to step up with information, as an owner, about the dietary habits of your pet, its potential sexual activity, intake of water, and exercise.

This will greatly assist your vet in going over the preliminary procedures very quickly.

If your guinea pig is in pain, this can potentially alleviate their pain faster.

So, think calmly and answer your vet responsibly.

Spaying or Neutering Your Guinea Pig: Is That Connected to the Blood?

It’s possible that you have no idea that spaying or neutering your female guinea pig is a mandatory requirement.

It isn’t.

Unlike other animals, guinea pigs do not bleed on their period from their reproductive tract.

In fact, they are so good-natured and friendly, that they are equally docile and friendly, with or without neutering.

Frankly, if you are an owner of two guinea pigs, one of whom is a male and female each, and you’d not like them to procreate, your vet will actually prefer performing surgery on the male.

This is obviously because, performing a neutering surgery on a female pig requires putting her under more anesthesia than her male counterpart, and performing an incision through her abdomen.

However, it’s marginally easier to neuter the male.

Guinea pigs are small creatures, and putting them under the knife should be something that is best avoided, as far as possible.

This is not to say that medical science doesn’t have the answers.

Indeed, it does.

However, most vets prefer to not perform surgery, as guinea pigs are far more prone to the ill-effects of anesthesia.

Also, they can’t maintain a stable body temperature during surgery.

These are considerations that must be kept in mind when the spaying question crops up, and they should most certainly be had with an experienced vet.

Non-spayed guinea pigs are prone to two commonly occurring reproductive diseases, that are often confused with blood in the urine.

Read on to understand the science behind this and the distinctions between haematuria and reproductive diseases that cause bleeding in your guinea pig.

Checklist: What to be Prepared for at the Vet’s

A simple checklist can go a long way in remembering the medical procedures that doctors follow when they’re dealing with guinea pig blood.

Early diagnosis can go a long way in averting a potentially life-threatening outcome, and so can an informed owner.

As we discussed earlier, it’s best to be calmly and clearly prepared about preliminary questions like diet, water intake, exercise, sexual activity, and previous reports.

A careful owner will have frequented the vet enough times to have a medical history of their guinea pig – a pattern of certain diseases, or damage to certain organs, can point to several conclusions, and make the vet’s job much easier.

The vet may also need assistance with certain procedural methods like ultrasounds, urine samples, and x-rays, to name a few.

Guinea pigs are affectionate creatures, attached to their owners.

Your very presence through all these tests can go a long way in alleviating the stress of your pet, and also assist your vet.

What is Hematuria and What Does It Mean for My Guinea Pig?

As aforementioned, haematuria is the presence of red blood cells in the urine.

Haematuria is caused by a variety of internally occurring factors, which we will discuss further on.

Haematuria Due to Kidney Stones or Urinary Calculi

Haematuria can be caused by the formation of stones (also known as urinary calculi).

This often leads to irritation and blockage in the urinary tract, the kidneys, the bladder, the urethra of the penis (depending on your guinea pig’s gender).

Kidney stones are caused by the excess formation, crystallization, and solidification of certain excessive minerals, that the body considers waste, but is having trouble excreting.

This could be, for example, excess calcium, which reacts with the alkaline urine of guinea pigs.

The causes of these are numerous – some guinea pigs are genetically predisposed to the formation of certain excess minerals in the body (just like human beings) or have trouble decomposing them.

Perhaps it has to do with your guinea pig’s diet (here, having the exact knowledge of what you feed your pet can greatly enhance the quality of the doctor’s diagnosis).

Sometimes, this can be due to excessive consumption of vegetables or the lack of water in the diet.

Sometimes, it can be a simple lack of exercise.

Often, the symptoms can start occurring well before the blood turns red.

When a guinea is suffering from uroliths, its mood and behavior change.

They are prone to perhaps squeaking or screeching when they urinate, become lethargic, have fluctuations in their weight, and do not respond positively to either food or water.

The good news is that often, simple dietary changes can help in the decomposition of the stone, which will pass through the urethra and can be flushed out.

There is, of course, the off chance that a surgical operation is required for stone removal, which can be both painful and can cause great stress to your guinea pig (not to mention yourself).

Haematuria Due to Bladder Infection or Cystitis

Another common cause of haematuria is cystitis or bladder infection.

As the etymology suggests, cystitis occurs in much greater intensity and frequency, in female guinea pigs.

In fact, sometimes, the aforementioned kidney stones develop in relation to cystitis.

So closely linked are the two diseases, that your vet is always likely to first perform an ultrasound to gauge the primary cause of the haematuria, before diagnosis.

Commonly associated symptoms with cystitis include blood in the urine, straining and hunching while urinating, struggling to urinate, and a distaste towards food that generally culminates into anorexia.

Sometimes, the guinea pig will pass urine in irregular bouts throughout the day, and will experience the urge throughout the day.

When cystitis and urinary calculi hit together, your guinea pigs will be placed on IV drips and syringes.

Since both these causes of haematuria are very common, regular check-ups, ultrasounds, and scrutiny over the diet and behavior of your guinea pig are important.

Many vets recommend maintaining journals or diaries to track the moods of your pet, as this information could be crucial with a timely and efficient diagnosis.

Haematuria Due to Cancer

The big ‘C’ paints as bleak a picture in guinea-pigs as it does in human beings, and there is probably no cure.

As with humans, cancers are more common in older guinea pigs, but if your guinea pig has a proclivity towards regular bouts of cystitis or regularly suffers from excreting and urinating problems, then they may have cancer.

This will generally cause the inflammation of an internal organ, followed by perennially increasing episodes of extreme pain and weight loss.

In terms of moods, your guinea pig will begin by rejecting exercise and then water and food.

They will display episodes of irritability and exhaustion.

There is the off chance that detection at the opportune moment and a successful surgery could remove cancer.

However, the lack of scientific knowledge about guinea pig cancer and the accompanying drugs for recovery make this a bleak opportunity at best.

Haematuria leading to Renal Failure or Cavia Porcellus

Sometimes, a combination of anorexia, lethargy, weight loss, and reduction of interest in food can cause renal failure, also known as Cavia porcellus.

While not visible externally, this condition causes the levels of Vitamin C to drop to unsustainable levels.

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient responsible for repairing tissues and producing certain enzymes.

The absence of Vitamin C greatly hampers the immunity of your guinea pig, robbing them of the ability to mend internal wounds in a natural manner.

This in turn causes anemia, which is medically understood as the inability of an organism’s body to produce the required amounts of hemoglobin or RBCs present in the blood.

This can obviously be caused by the regular passage of blood through the urine.

The implications of it are far greater – hemoglobin is responsible for the circulation of oxygen in the body through blood.

A drop in Vitamin C, which ordinarily takes care of immunity, and hemoglobin, which takes care of the passage of oxygen, can lead to renal failure, and eventually, complete organ failure.

Beyond Haematuria: What are The Other Causes of Bleeding?

Scientifically, we can confuse blood-filled urine with urine emanating from the reproductive organs, especially because guinea pigs are so small.

We also have much greater levels of knowledge and awareness about the human body but are often unable to extend the same knowledge to our pets.

Two kinds of diseases develop in non-neutered female guinea pigs, as a result of their fertility cycle.

These include ovarian cysts and uterine bacterial infection.

Ovarian Cysts

Women are frequented by the scourge of ovarian cysts, and sometimes, so are non-neutered female guinea pigs.

It’s a reproductive disease, wherein during a period, the ovaries release eggs ready for the fertilization process through ruptures.

However, if the rupture doesn’t occur, the follicles metamorphosis into large, fluid-filled sac-like membranous tissue.

These are called cysts.

Your guinea pig will typically display a bloated exterior, especially around the abdominal region.

Fertility levels will reduce, as well as appetite.

Weight loss and hair/fur loss will occur as a consequence.

This can lead to pyometra (which we will discuss in the next section).

Your best option, to avoid this entire scenario, is to spay your guinea pig (especially if she is female).

Uterine Bacterial Infection or Pyometra

Pyometra is a bacterial infection, that simply put, is caused by the formation and then explosion of excessive pus in the uterus, due to a nasty bacterial infection.

This is often confused with haematuria but is very different.

The bursting of the pus causes a slimy, red discharge which gets mixed with the guinea pig’s urine.

If not treated by a trained eye, pyometra is the most commonly misdiagnosed infection in a guinea pig.

With old age, pyometra gets much more severe, especially for those guinea pigs who are sharing a cage or space with a male.

You should spay your guinea pig before they get old, or you may have to witness them having to get painfully spayed in response to either ovarian cysts or pyometra.

What Preventive Measures Can I Take?

There are several preventive measures that you can take as an informed owner to prevent your guinea pig from peeing blood.

That way it will never have to suffer or go to the treatment table.

Just like for yourself, diet is key for the guinea pig.

In a bid to make them “eat healthily”, don’t resort to overfeeding with vegetables.

An excess of vegetables can become overly complex for the tiny digestive systems of guinea pigs, which are not as developed as that of human beings.

A healthy combination of hay and vegetables is the best way forward.

Keep oiling the wheels of your guinea pig’s exercise wheel.

Develop mechanisms of positive reinforcement to ensure that your guinea pig takes an interest in exercise.

Guinea pigs are generally predisposed to excitement and energy, and an absence of either could indicate something else.

Monitor their exercise patterns, rhythms, and duration to discuss with your vet in case of anything untoward occurring – like urine in the blood.

Water is the element of all life and just like us, guinea pigs need their water.

These days, a lot of alternatives to water, like mineral water and protein water are available in the market.

You can consume these yourself, but you don’t have to do that for your guinea pig.

Feed them regular water, and if you fear that it’s not healthy enough, boil it and cool it and then give it to them.

Regularly monitoring the levels of water in the bowl is important to develop a schedule and understand your pet’s body.

Like all organisms, different guinea pigs will respond to different stimuli in different manners.

It’s, therefore, important to be sensitive to those needs to help ensure that they won’t be taken to the treatment table anytime soon.

Final Thoughts

Hope every confusion distinguishing between blood in the urine, and blood emanating as a result of a lack of spaying in female guinea pigs has been cleared.

It has also become clear that diet, exercise, a hygienic cage or space (to prevent bacterial infections), and timely neutering are keys to your guinea pig living a happy and successful life.

Guinea pigs are affectionate, sociable beings and any changes in their mood is an indication that something may be up internally.

Be a responsible guinea pig owner, conduct tests frequently, and maintain constant contact with your vet.

And when next you see your pet guinea pig peeing blood, I’m sure you now know what to do.

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