Urinary Tract Infection | How To Prevent UTI (2018)
How to Diagnose and Treat Urinary Problems in Guinea Pigs
Guinea pigs make great pets, but they are prone to urinary tract infections and other bladder problems. Calcium in a guinea pig’s 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.
Diagnosing Urinary Problems
Look for blood in your guinea pig’s urine.Examine your guinea pig’s bedding and the hair around its bottom for dried blood. Blood typically dries a dark rust color rather than bright red.
Examine bedding for infrequent urination.When you change your guinea pig’s bedding, look for bedding that seems overly dry with no urine spots. Infrequent urination can be a sign of a urinary tract infection.
Listen for squeaking while peeing.Notice if your guinea pig squeaks or squeals as it urinates. This may be a sign of painful urination, which could mean your pet has an infection.
Pay attention to any abdominal tenderness.If your normally docile guinea pig bites or scratches when you grasp around its belly, it may be experiencing bladder tenderness.
Take your guinea pig to the vet.Make an appointment at your veterinarian’s office right away if you notice any of these symptoms. Your vet can use an X-ray to examine your guinea pig for bladder stones, use a needle to draw a urine sample, and perform a physical examination.
Calm your guinea pig before the physical examination or X-rays.Help your veterinarian get to the bottom of the problem by calming your guinea pig before any imaging and diagnostic tests. Talk to your pet in a calming, reassuring voice. You can also ask the vet if you may stroke your pet during the physical exam to make it feel safe.
- Keep in mind that you will not be allowed into the room where x-rays are performed due to the radiation and liability issues.
Treating Urinary Problems
Administer any prescribed antibiotics as directed.Finish the complete course of any antibiotics your vet prescribes your guinea pig, even if it seems better after only a few days.
- Most courses of medication for these infections are about 2 weeks long.
- Let your vet know if your pet has any adverse reaction to the medication, such as a refusal to eat or vomiting.
Ask your vet about any drug interactions.Some medications have interactions with everyday foods and treats. Consult your vet to understand whether your pet should take the medication with food or avoid any normal activities during treatment.
Go back to the vet if symptoms persist on medication.If the troubling urinary symptoms do not get better after a few days on the medication, call your vet. It may be that there are further diagnoses, such as bladder stones, that need to be explored.
- Many of these other bladder problems can be diagnosed by X-ray or ultrasound.
Look for recurrences of urinary bleeding after treatment.Keep a close eye on your pet in the days after you finish administering the antibiotics. If your guinea pig starts peeing blood again or crying with urination, take it back to the doctor.
Examine bedding for regular urination.When you clean your guinea pig’s cage, look for bedding with wet spots that indicate your pet is peeing normally. A guinea pig that is peeing infrequently may have a continuing urinary issue.
Avoid handling your pet while it is healing.Let your guinea pig rest in its cage as it recovers from being ill. Save cuddling for another time when your pet is feeling 100%.You may also need to force feed your pet if it is avoiding food due to nausea caused by medications.
- When your pet is acting like its old self and not showing any symptoms of urinary illness, you can handle it again.
- Always remember to wash your hands before and after handling your guinea pig.
Preventing Urinary Problems
Change guinea pig bedding more frequently.Replace the bedding in your guinea pig cage every 3-4 days rather than just once a week. Scoop the old bedding into the trash and spray the bottom of the cage with a half-and-half white vinegar and water mixture. Wipe the cage dry with a paper towel, and refill it with clean bedding.
- When you clean the cage, place your guinea pig in a second safe cage or an enclosed location, such as a bathtub.
Trim the bottoms of longhaired guinea pigs.Take your guinea pig out of the cage, and dampen the hair near its bottom with tap water. You want the hair to be wet but not soaking. Use your fingers to take sections of the hair between your middle and index finger, and trim the excess hair with grooming scissors to keep your guinea pig’s bottom tidy.
- Regular trims will keep your guinea pig’s hair from getting dirty and matted with urine or feces.
- Talk to your guinea pig as you groom it to keep it calm and relaxed.
Offer plain cranberry juice.Place some unsweetened cranberry juice in a water bottle for your guinea pig. Cranberry juice can reduce the incidence of UTIs by half and may keep your pet out of the vet’s office. Avoid cranberry juice cocktails and other sweet mixes with added sugars.
- Plain cranberry juice can be quite bitter. If your guinea pig isn’t fond of it, try diluting the juice with a little water.
- Change the juice bottle twice a day to keep it clean.
- There is no need to restrict cranberry juice, but if your guinea pig loves it you may want to stick to one cup (236 ml) a day to avoid stomach upset.
Video: Urinary Tract Infection
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