in guinea pigs requires prompt treatment and monitoring and can
cause dehydration and death (severe dehydration or another
underlying cause) if left untreated.
Home First Aid:
If your guinea pig comes down with diarrhea no matter what the cause
is the following products will be of use and are recommended to
purchase and administer.
(Rehydration/Electrolyte Replacement). Can be purchased over the
counter from your local chemist. If your guinea pig is losing fluids
it can quickly become dehydrated. Symptoms of dehydration include
sunken eyes and lethargy and death if diarrhea is severe. Mix 1
satchel of Hydralite in a glass of water and administer 5-6mls or
more if your guinea pig will take it, every 2 hours. If you are
unable to purchase Hydralite your local Vet should have LECTADE or
VITRATE re-hydration fluids available upon consult.
C and Critical Care/Pellet Mash: If your guinea pig has lost
interest in food you will need to administer a nutritional 'mush'
every 2hrs or so to your guinea pig to prevent their digestive
system from failing which in turn will lead to death. Crush 1
Vitamin C Tablet and mix with Critical Care (can purchase from
Albany Creek Vet, Brisbane Birds and Exotics Macgregor, Camp hill
Vet or Brighton Vet Surgery in Brisbane) or if you are unable to
purchase Critical Care make a pellet mush by soaking your guinea
pigs pellets from their guinea pig mix and crushing them with a
spoon then mixing with water. Alternatively purchase some apple,
pumpkin or banana baby food. Once a nutritional high fiber mush is
made Administer 8-10ml of the mix orally to your guinea pig
via a 1ml syringe every 3-4hrs. Tip! - Chop the tip of
the syringe off with a pair of scissors if you are unable to get the
mush up the syringe.
Probiotics: To help boost your guinea pigs immune system you can
also supplement with a probiotic to help promote good bacteria/flora
and to help fight infection and improve digestion of nutrients.
Inner Health Plus Capsules can be purchased from your local chemist.
Mix a quarter of a powdered capsule with a quarter of a glass of
water and administer via syringe twice daily. You can also purchase
PROTEXIN antibiotics from your local vet upon consult. As a last
resort the human/supermarket probiotic YAKULT can be administered.
Remedies to help ease symptoms of Diarrhea:
Mylanta (The human brand of Mylanta has safely been tried
and tested in guinea pigs. 1ml three times a day for 24hrs should
help. Do not use this product for more than 24hrs if symptoms
continue as it may cause constipation if overused.
Activated Charcoal. Charcoal Tablets crushed and mixed with
water and administered orally have been proven to help remove toxins
from the body and help treat diarrhea. Crush 1 quarter of a tablet
and mix with a small amount of water. Administer over the course of
the day. Charcoal can be used for several days it will not harm the
body but can affect how the good nutrients from some foods are
absorbed so it is best to only use for a couple of days.
Natural Herbs can be mixed mixed with boiling water like a
tea and then left to cool. Natural herbs that are safe for guinea
pigs include Ginger, Raspberry leaf and Marshmallow root, Peppermint
causes of diarrhea and symptoms.
One of the
most common causes of Diarrhea in guinea pigs is due to overfeeding
of high water content leafy green vegetables.
Particular vegetables that can cause Diarrhea if fed in excess
include: Iceberg Lettuce, Cabbage, Broccoli, Bok Choy, Spinach.
Icerberg lettuce and Cabbage in particular are recommended to only
feed very rarely or to not feed at all. Cos Lettuce on the other
hand is ok to feed regularly. Cos Lettuce is high in nutrition and
Vit C and low water content.
Treat: Take your guinea pig off any green vegetables for at
least a few days and reduce intake of any other high water
vegetables. Replace the majority of your guinea pigs diet with lots
of fresh hay and guinea pig mix. Fast improvement should be
noticeable. If your guinea pig does not improve within 24hrs or
continues to go downhill seek veterinary attention urgently as their
may be another underlying cause.
Mouldy Hay/Feed: Hay or guinea pig feed always need to be
storey in a dry well ventilated space or in sealed bins. This will
prevent the chances of hay or feed getting damp or wet at any time
and in turn getting mouldy. If your guinea pig ingests any food that
has become mouldy your guinea pig may develop quite an upset
How to treat:
Clean your guinea pigs cage and remove any old bedding and all old
feed from the enclosure. Replace with clean bedding and fresh
uncontaminated foods. Monitor your guinea pig closely over the next
24hrs and replace any fluid loss with HYDRALITE every few hours.
If your guinea pig slows or stops eating or shows any signs of
becoming more ill seek veterinary attention urgently as the
condition may have become bacterial and may require antibiotics.
guinea pig has recently been prescribed Antibiotics for a medical
condition they may be having a bad reaction to the medication. If
this has occured only as a result of starting Antibiotics contact
your vet immediately and stop treated and monitor your guinea pig
closely. Make an appointment with your vet asap to change the
treatment plan/try another antibiotic and do a check-up on your
guinea pigs health.
worth noting that guinea pigs CANNOT be given Penicillin or
Amoxyllin. The only Antibiotics that are safely used for guinea pigs
are Baytril, Bactrim and Pssittavet. If your vet has prescribed
something else get a second opinion from another vet who specialises
in small exotic animals.
Until recent years Coccidiosis was not often seen in guinea pigs. We
are unsure of the reason but due to poor hygiene and inbreeding this
highly contagious and deadly disease is now flourishing and becoming
more widespread in guinea pigs around Australia. The Australian Cavy
Sanctuary has had many confirmed cases of surrendered guinea pigs in
2009 showing symptoms of the disease on arrival to the shelters and
testing positive for Coccidiosis. These animals came in to the
shelters from various backgrounds including large backyard breeding
cases, several pet shops and produce stores around the Brisbane area
which has only confirmed that the disease is widespread. Coccidiosis
needs URGENT medical attention, strict sterilisation of surroundings
and anything your guinea pig has come in contact with, and is highly
contagious to other guinea pigs.
Pictured Left: A guinea pig found close to death in the severe
stages of Coccidiosis.
What is Coccidiosis?
are a microscopic single celled organism that infect the intestinal
track of many different species of animals. Many species of animals
can contract a strain of coccidia which can only be carried by their
species. Coccidia spores produce at a rapid rate once an animal is
infected. Coccidia live and reproduce within the cells of an animal.
Coccidiosis a parasitic disease of the parasite which occurs in the
intestinal track of the animal.
How is it
Coccidiosis is considered contagious particularly if you have other
animals living with an infested animal. It is contracted through
infected feaces by ingestion either orally of one animal could walk
through infected feaces or contaminated ground where the feaces have
been and contract the disease by then licking or cleaning an area of
themselves where they have touched the infected area.
Once an animal is infected the oocyts will sporalate and rapidly
produce in large numbers. The intestinal cells inside the animal
will rapidly become infected as the spores grow in numbers. Within a
short time span thousands of cells can become infected and
destroyed. Do to the destruction internally the intestinal function
of the animal will be disrupted greatly. An animal only needs to
swallow a single oocyt in the environment in order to contract the
of Coccidiosis that guinea pigs contract is called Eimeria caviae.
The guinea pig strain will not affect people or other larger
companion animals such as cats or dogs although some other strains
other animals can carry, can.
Symptoms of Coccidiosis:
onset of very runny diarrhea. The diarrhea will have a
strong foul smell and often will have blood in it.
weight loss and noticable protrusion of the guinea pigs hip bones.
Dehydration / Sunken eyes as a result of dehydration
guinea pig may sit hunched in one corner and not want to eat or pick
at food and appear very depressed with a ruffled coat in severe
- Death if
left untreated. Death can result within as little as 48hrs if your
guinea pig is in a poor condition to begin with. Healthier guinea
pigs may live for longer although immediate treatment is essential
for your guinea pigs survival.
of Coccidiosis in guinea pigs is by use of a product called BAYCOX.
The Piglet form of Baycox is what is used in guinea pigs. The dosage
rate is .4ml per kilo once a day for three days then repeat with
another single dose in 10 days time.
to confirm Coccidiosis you will need to take your guinea pig to a
vet. The vet will do a fecal float, culture or sample under a
microscope to confirm the disease. The oocyts are microscopic and
cannot be seen with the naket eye. The vet will confirm the
diagnosis using one of the above methods. You will need to take a
fresh stool sample with you to the vet in order for the vet to
confirm the diagnosis. From here if the diagnosis is confirmed the
vet will prescribe BAYCOX for treatment of the disease.
guinea pig is confirmed as infected with Coccidiosis you will need
to also be administering rehydration fluids, probiotics and food
supplements orally in order to help build your guinea pigs immune
system to fight the disease.
treatment make sure that all food and hay in your guinea pigs
enclosure is kept off the ground as much as possible to prevent your
guinea pig from re-ingesting any oocyts. Make sure your guinea
pigs bedding is kept very clean. If your guinea pig is housed with
other guinea pigs you will need to treat all other guinea pigs
Sterilization: The Coccidia Spores/Ooccyts can remain in the
environment for many years and are difficult to eradicate as they
are resistant to most forms of sterilisation including burning. If you have a guinea pig that has
carried coccidiosis the only confirmed method of killing off
coccidia spores is by thoroughly sterilising your guinea pigs
enclosures and any other items in contact with it with first with a
strong 'Bleache' solution and then with 'Ammonia'.
You can purchase Ammonia or Cloudy Ammonia from most chain
supermarkets. Wash and soak everything the guinea pig has come in
contact with the diluted Ammonia as per instructions on the bottle.
Leave to dry for a couple of days and then rinse off with water.
Wear gloves and do not get the product on your skin or near your
eyes. If you do wash off thoroughly.
have other guinea pigs in separate housing to infected guinea pigs
and their enclosure/accessories you will need to sterilise your
hands and clothing when handling your other guinea pigs to prevent
them from becoming infected. It is highly recommend to treat all
your guinea pigs with BAYCOX as a preventative measure and to do a
similar clean of other guinea pigs enclosures etc if they are
close-by or have come in contact with your infected guinea pig/s.