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Guinea Pig Urinary Tract Infection

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Guinea Pig Kidney Failure Treatment

UTI Emergency Guinea pig care with Lyn from Cavy Central

Guinea pig suffering due to kidney disease is at risk of losing life and needs immediate treatment.

Kidney disease caused due to bacterial cystitis occurring, again and again, can be treated with some alternative antibiotic.

Your veterinarian will prescribe medication and precautionary measures after a thorough examination.

Kidney disease can be alleviated with an increase in the intake of water and control in the diet. Older guinea pigs suffering from kidney disease are at higher risk as they cannot be cured.

A Balanced And Healthy Diet

Diet is also an essential factor to manage urinary related diseases and infections. Veterinarians mostly recommend Timothy hay.

Fresh green leafy vegetables can be given as a supplement with timothy hay. The occasional treat of fruits also can be added to the diet.

Pellets and diet rich in calcium should be avoided. Pellets are usually derived from alfalfa hay, which has a high content of calcium. That will increase the risk of kidney stones and form sludgy urine.

Green vegetables may also contain calcium, but it has a high content of water too.

Urolithiasis In Guinea Pigs

Alopecia Alopecia in Animals Alopecia is the partial or complete lack of hairs in areas where they are normally present. It can be congenital or acquired. Congenital alopecias are noninflammatory and are the result of hair… read more develops to a degree in all guinea pigs in late pregnancy and during nursing. It results from reduced anabolism of maternal skin associated with fetal growth. Hair loss usually begins on the back and progresses bilaterally on the flanks and ventral abdomen. Nursing guinea pigs may worsen the condition by pulling hair from their mothers. The alopecia resolves slowly either after parturition or when the sow stops nursing.

Thinning hair is common in young animals at weaning. It is associated with a period of transition in which coarse guard hairs of the adult coat are developing and neonatal fur is being lost. Ear chewing and barbering are seen in group-housed guinea pigs that develop a social hierarchy. Often younger animals of lower rank develop hair loss from fur chewing by dominant older members. The hair loss is characterized by an irregular, almost stepwise pattern. Treatment involves separation of the aggressive animal.

Single-housed guinea pigs that become bored may inflict self-barbering. In these cases, areas the animal cannot reach such as the head, neck, and anterior shoulders are not affected. Changing the guinea pigs environment, adding enrichment, and providing large amounts of fresh hay often prevent boredom and stop this vice.

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Health Problems In Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs are easy to care for and, if handled frequently and gently, make great family pets. They are generally hardy, healthy animals but are susceptible to certain problems and diseases. The following is a brief description of some of the more common problems of guinea pigs, which include respiratory infections, diarrhea, scurvy , tumors, abscesses due to infection, urinary problems, and infestations by lice, mites, or fungus.

What Color Should A Guinea Pig Urine Be

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Guinea pigs show a variety of changes in color shades of urine. There is nothing to worry about if you observe any modification unless it is regular and abnormal.

Guinea pigs pee can be yellow, beige, orange, brown, red, and pink. The change in color is observed due to a change in diet.

Only if the urine is sludgy, sandy, or milky, you should be concerned about its health-related to urinary disorder.

There might be traces of blood in the urine resulting in pinkish-red color, and then also you should visit your vet immediately.

Often, the red color of urine is mistaken as blood in urine, but that may not be the case. Guinea pig served with beetroot, or any red vegetable may form red pee.

Urinary tract infections can be fatal for guinea pigs any delay in treatment will worsen the situation. It can be treated with antibiotics, but the root cause of UTI should be removed.

It is always better to take precautions against UTI by improving the diet, increasing water intake, cleaning the cage, and litter pan.

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What Can I Do To Prevent/treat Bladder Sludge

  • Increase water intake. An increase in water consumption dilutes the urine and helps prevent the formation of stones, while also helping flush out the kidneys to reduce stress. Make sure both a bottle and tip-proof water dish are available at all times to encourage drinking. Include these vessels in both the habitat and any other areas where they exercise or explore throughout the day. It is also important to ensure all bottles are properly positioned and functioning properly. Replace with fresh water no less than every other day.
  • More exercise. Get your pets up and moving! The more your rabbit or guinea pig moves, the more they shake up the contents of their bladder. This moves the high calcium urinary sediment around, helping prevent stone formation. Movement may also stimulate a desire to empty the bladder more regularly.
  • Improve sanitary conditions and enclosure. Use a high-quality, absorbent bedding that wicks urine and other fluids away. A clean enclosure will promote healthy urination and keep things moving to prevent stone formation. At minimum, spot clean enclosures every other day and deep clean once a week. If possible, provide a multi-level enclosure, or one that promotes movement. This will help increase activity .
  • Eliminate packaged treats. Packaged treats provide concentrated little nuggets of nutrients, which may not be beneficial for animals with bladder sludge. The increase in greens will be their new treat.
  • Viral Infections In Guinea Pigs

    Adenovirus is species-specific for guinea pigs and may cause a primary respiratory pneumonia. The asymptomatic carrier state is thought to be common, but prevalence is unknown. Clinical disease, while rare, can be initiated by stress or inhalation anesthesia and occurs more often in immunocompromised, young, or aged animals. Morbidity is low, but animals usually die suddenly without clinical signs.

    Other naturally occurring viral infections of guinea pigs such as cytomegalovirus and parainfluenza rarely cause detectable clinical disease. Serologic surveys indicate that guinea pigs will develop antibodies to rat and mouse pathogenic viruses but do not develop disease.

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    How Do You Treat Uroliths And Sludge Build Up

    In most cases uroliths need to be surgically removed, as they do not respond well to medical treatments. You can seek treatment by booking in with one of our rabbit vets or guinea pig vets.

    Sludge build up can often be managed with a combination of medications as well as address the underlying cause of the problem. Bladder flushes are often performed to remove the initial build up.

    Parasitic Infections In Guinea Pigs

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    Mange, caused by the sarcoptid mite Trixacarus caviae, is common in guinea pigs. The clinical signs are dramatic: intense pruritus, widespread alopecia, and hyperkeratosis. T caviae is transmitted through direct animal-to-animal contact from sow to weanlings during feeding, and through contact with infested cage material such as bedding. The mites may be capable of existing subclinically, becoming active with stressors , immunosuppression, or other underlying diseases. In affected animals that exhibit hematologic changes such as heterophilia, monocytosis, eosinophilia, and basophilia, vigorous scratching may trigger convulsive seizures. The seizures are controlled by diazepam . The clinical presumptive diagnosis should be confirmed with several skin scrapings, usually revealing a massive T caviae infestation. Treatment involves ivermectin , or spot-on dermal treatment with either selamectin . The guinea pig should also have a whole body washing with fipronil repeated twice at intervals of 710 days. Fipronil should not be used when open skin wounds are present.

    Other ectoparasitic diseases are infrequent in guinea pigs. Infestation with the fur mite Chirodiscoides caviae may result in pruritus and alopecia along the posterior trunk of the body, while underlying skin is relatively unaffected. Subclinical cases may be asymptomatic. Treatment is with selamectin administered twice at 2-week intervals.

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    How Is A Bladder Stone Diagnosed

    If your guinea pig begins to experience any of these symptoms, then the first step is to contact your vet immediately. They will usually perform a full physical examination with a urinalysis and an X-ray. A urinalysis can identify the presence of crystals in the urine, while an X-ray is usually the best way to analyze the composition and location of the stone. Some stones may be too small to identify at first, but the vet should have alternatives ready in those particular cases.

    Home Care And Prevention

    On a daily basis, monitor fecal and urine output to assure proper food and water consumption and digestion. Monitor weight daily.

    If surgery was performed, monitor and/or treat incision line as directed by your veterinarian.

    Make sure your guinea pig always has a plentiful supply of clean fresh water. Feed fresh pelleted foods specifically designed for guinea pigs

    Uroliths form when minerals normally found in the urine crystallize and combine with sticky proteinaceous materials to form masses. These concretions can be singular or multiple and large or small and immense in number . The disease that is associated with the formation of uroliths is referred to as urolithiasis.

    Uroliths usually form in the bladder but some originate in the kidneys and then pass down the ureter and into the bladder where they can enlarge. While uroliths usually form in the bladder or kidney, they may be found at any location in the urinary tract. In some cases, guinea pigs with uroliths have concurrent bacterial infections while in others, uroliths occur in the absence of a detectable bacterial infection. The clinical changes that might occur depend on the size and location of the urolith and whether or not a bacterial infection is occurring.

    Inability to pass urine rapidly leads to coma and death and should be treated as an emergency. Seek veterinary care immediately if a guinea pig strains or vocalizes while trying to urinate, or if a normal amount of urine is not noted.

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    Diseases Causing Bloody Urine


    Urolith formation is often dependent on your guinea pigs diet and urine pH a diet high in certain minerals means that more minerals are excreted into the kidneys, and different pHs cause some minerals to precipitate . Most guinea pigs have alkaline urine, so mainly form calcium stones. Diets that are low in hay and a good variety of veg, as well as high in pellets, are linked to uroliths in guinea pigs. Excessive supplementation of minerals can also increase the risk. Other risk factors include low water intake, poor hygiene, obesity, a lack of exercise, and renal disease or infection. Males and females are equally likely to get uroliths, though they can be more severe in males, as they are more likely to form blockages.


    A guinea pig with uroliths may have blood in the urine, reduced or painful urination , a hunched over appearance, teeth grinding, weight loss, lethargy, licking or biting around their back end, have a bad smell, dehydration, kidney disease or even death if severe. These signs can progress over days and weeks, or can suddenly appear if there was a sudden blockage.

    Preventing uroliths will mostly involve changes in diet and husbandry, depending on the exact cause.


    The clinical signs of cystitis are very similar to uroliths differentiating the two usually requires culturing urine, an ultrasound or an x-ray. To make matters more complicated, uroliths can cause cystitis and vice-versa, and both are often present at the same time.

    Whats Different About Rabbits And Guinea Pigs

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    Rabbits will absorb nearly all of the calcium they consume and guinea pigs are thought to absorb a significant portion of dietary calcium as well. Excess calcium is then filtered through the kidneys and excreted in the urine. But the kidneys can only take so much before they cant filter any more. When this happens, the calcium forms a solid crystal which gets excreted through the urine, producing a cloudy sludge.

    If calcium can lead to bladder sludge in my rabbit or guinea pig, should I just avoid it altogether?Adequate dietary calcium is essential for strong bones and teeth. If your rabbit or guinea pigs diet is deficient in calcium, the body will pull the calcium it needs from stores in the bones. When this happens, it makes bones weak and prone to fracture or break. Calcium is also required for strong, healthy teeth if the diet contains too little calcium, the body will preferentially use that calcium for other physiological processes over tooth maintenance. This can cause the teeth to get weak and loosen or break. For rabbits and guinea pigs receiving adequate calcium via the diet is especially important.

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    Encourage To Drink More Water

    Increased water intake helps to get rid of calcium deposits from the kidney and bladder.

    The urethra and the ureter also function correctly due to water. So, water intake is suggested as the best way to prevent UTI.

    You need to do your homework to make guinea pigs drink lots of water.

    Guinea pigs do not like to drink dirty water kept for a few days. So, you should change the water every day.

    Offer the water in different containers like bowls or bottles. That makes the water drinking fun for guinea pigs. They are not much enticed to drink water from water bottles.

    The vegetable diet of green leaves helps to increase the water level in the body.

    What To Watch For

  • Wet fur around the rear end and back legs
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Hunched stance with the back arched
  • Excessive grooming of the area around the rear
  • Unsuccessful attempts to urinate

    If these changes are noted, seek veterinary care immediately. Many guinea pigs with uroliths may appear normal.


  • History, particularly of the diet, and physical examination
  • Complete blood count
  • Culture of urine and antimicrobial sensitivity testing
  • Placement of a catheter through the urethra
  • Surgical removal of the uroliths
  • Systemic antibiotics
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    Is Your Guinea Pig At Risk

    Some guinea pigs are more prone to UTIs than others. Urinary tract infections are more common in females due to their shorter urethras, but the fellas aren’t off the hook. Known for being vertically challenged, it’s not far fetched some bacteria would find its way up where it doesn’t belong due to guinea pigs’ bottoms’ close proximity to the cage floor.

    UTIs are infamous for returning. If your guinea pig gets one, watch them closely for signs of it rearing its head again a few weeks, months, or even years later. Even if no blood is present, a constantly wet bottom/belly and/or squeaking when going to the bathroom is an obvious sign something is up.

    How To Diagnose And Treat Urinary Problems In Guinea Pigs

    Urinary Tract Infection in Guinea Pig

    This article was co-authored by Deanne Pawlisch, CVT, MA. Deanne Pawlisch is a Certified Veterinary Technician, who does corporate training for veterinary practices and has taught at the NAVTA-approved Veterinary Assistant Program at the Harper College in Illinois and in 2011 was elected to the board of the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Foundation. Deanne has been a Board Member of the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Foundation in San Antonio, Texas since 2011. She holds a BS in Anthropology from Loyola University and an MA in Anthropology from Northern Illinois University.There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 47,299 times.

    Guinea pigs make great pets, but they are prone to urinary tract infections and other bladder problems. Calcium in a guinea pigs diet is the most common cause of kidney stones. Also, due to their short stature, their genitals are low to the ground and will often make contact with droppings and other harmful bacteria. By diagnosing, treating, and preventing urinary issues, you can keep your guinea pig happy and healthy.

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    Urinary Tract Infections In Guinea Pigs

    Do you have a guinea pig as a pet? Guinea pigs, also known as Cavia porcellus by scientists, are becoming more common as pets each year, however, many people are treating them as cats or dogs and many times forget that they are a completely different species and require different care. Guinea pigs are simple to take care of, when compared to other pets such as hedgehogs, for example, but this does not take away the fact that they require different needs and must all be tended to.

    If you find that your guinea pig is experiencing pain or haematuria read on and ask yourself if your pet has any of these symptoms, If they do, be ready to set up an appointment with the veterinarian ASAP.

    What is a urinary tract infection in a guinea pig?

    What causes this disease?

    Signs and symptoms to look out for.

    Common signs when a guinea pig has a UTI can include a fever of up to 104ºF, inappetence, squeaking when urinating, lethargy, blood in urine, dehydration and signs of pain when touching the lower abdomen.

    How is this disease diagnosed?

    What available treatments are there for the treatment of UTI?

    Never give your guinea pig over the counter medicine and always ask a veterinarian before giving them any medication. Guinea pigs are especially delicate in their metabolic pathways and many of the medications that are used in humans can potentially harm them if not given in the right way.

    How can I prevent this disease?

    How Do You Treat A Uti In Guinea Pigs

    Posted on Last updated: June 23, 2022

    Guinea pigs suffering from urinary tract infections are at severe risk. Though urinary tract infections are not a common problem, you should be concerned about your guinea pigs once infected. Treatment of UTI in guinea pigs can be easy if it is detected in the earlier stage. Else, it can lead to a life-threatening situation.

    Urinary tract infections can be treated with proper antibiotic dosage but can infect your guinea pig again. So you need to take precautionary measures like increase the water intake, change of diet, and regularly observe for any symptoms. Cystitis bacterial infection is commonly occurring in urinary tract infections.

    UTI is also accompanied by other urinary problems like sludge in the urine, kidney or bladder stones, or other kidney diseases. A detailed study of the urinary tract infections and related issues is discussed below.


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