Guinea pigs tend to hide symptoms of illness for as long as they can due to their survival instinct. But mindful observation of a guinea pig's droppings may help you detect an illness, and alert you to the fact that he needs veterinary care. The look, shape and even the color of your guinea pig's feces will need to be taken into consideration before making a diagnosis. A veterinarian should always be consulted regarding the health and treatment of your pet.
Dry, tear-shaped feces
Sick guinea pigs can become dehydrated rather quickly. Overall health can deteriorate quickly in a dehydrated cavy and it is crucial to recognize the symptoms as quickly as possible. Feces that appear dry, small and tear-shaped are indicative of dehydration. Subcutaneous fluid therapy, in which fluids are injected under the skin on the back of the pig's neck, may be the suggested course of action to help rehydrate your pet.
Feces that are clumped together or seem stuck near your guinea pig's rectum could indicate that he may have some sort of intestinal problem, such as a blockage. As male guinea pigs age, they sometimes lose control of the muscles surrounding their anus. According to Guinea Lynx, an online medical reference for guinea pig owners, feces can become impacted in the pig's perineal sac. Once this happens you may be advised by a veterinarian to clean out the sac manually using mineral oil and some Q-tips to help maintain the health of your cavy.
Soft, watery feces
When a guinea pig has diarrhea, the feces will appear to be very watery and may even give off a foul smell. If your cavy is on any medications prescribed by a veterinarian, they could be the cause. An improper diet, or one that is too rich in raw vegetables can also induce soft feces. If diarrhea is left untreated your pig may become dehydrated from the loss of fluids in his system so you should get him to a veterinarian as soon as you notice the soft, watery stools.
Although it's quite rare, if you notice what appears to be bloody feces in your guinea pig's cage you should get him to a veterinarian right away for a complete check up. The blood could actually be coming from his urine, which could be indicative of bladder stones or other infections of the bladder or kidneys.
Feces and Disease
Guinea pigs are part of the rodent family and, as such, can transmit certain diseases to their human companions through infected feces. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, guinea pigs can spread the Salmonella germ to humans and it is very important to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling your pet.
- Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty Images