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Guinea Pig Diseases/Infections

Footpad Infections (Bacterial Pododermatitis): Serious (sometimes crippling) infections of the footpads are common among pet guinea pigs housed continuously on wire. The other major predisposing actor is fecal soiling of wire-bottomed enclosures. he front feet of overweight animals are especially vulnerable to this condition. Signs include swelling of the feet, lameness, reluctance to move, and inappetence. The flooring of the enclosure must be changed and overall sanitation must be improved. A veterinarian must be consulted regarding treatment of the affected feet. Topical dressing with an antibiotic and periodic bandaging re necessary during the usually lengthy recovery period. Injectable antibiotics are often used by veterinarians in treatment of this condition. Arthritis is a frequent and unfortunate consequence of these infections.

Intestinal Infections (Bacterial Enteritis): Numerous bacteria can cause infections of the gastrointestinal tract of guinea pigs. Some of these bacteria are introduced on contaminated greens and vegetables or in contaminated water. Intestinal infections can manifest themselves as sudden death without prior signs, or as a more lengthy period of illness characterized by lethargy and marked weight loss. Diarrhea may or may not be noted in either case. A veterinarian may recommend aggressive antibiotic therapy and appropriate supportive care. A bacterial culture of the patient's stool and antibiotic sensitivity testing help the veterinarian select the appropriate antibiotic.

Viral Diseases: Most viral infections of pet guinea pigs are either mild or inapparent.