AJ Cavies

Diarrhoea

Diarrhoea can be as minor or as major a problem as it can be in human beings

The number one rule is that if the diarrhoea is fluid and has the added symptoms of the guinea pig's coat being fluffed up and it is sitting in a corner looking thoroughly miserable then it is a major problem. It must be taken to a vet ASAP, for it will be in need of an antibiotic, and quickly! There are several diseases that guinea pigs can suffer from which can prove rapidly fatal and the symptoms I have just described are indicative of them.

If the diarrhoea is fluid but the guinea pig is alert and though not eating as well, at least interested, the first thing to do is give it half a tablet of Diocalm, powdered down and given mixed with a small amount of water. This is a product formulated for human beings who have diarrhoea which is very safe and effective for use with guinea pigs. The next thing to give, and this is very important, is a tablet of Buscopan, powdered down in the same way as the Diocalm. This is also a human medicine, which is a gut relaxant and analgesic. This eases the griping pains as it relaxes the gut spasms, which makes the animal feel better, which is half the battle. Withhold all greens, and give plenty of hay (preferably Timothy hay).

Repeat the Diocalm every ten to twelve hours but as soon as there is a sign of things beginning to firm up, stop the treatment. Usually two to three half tablets are sufficient.

If there is a general softness of the pellets then just one half tablet of Diocalm will usually clear things up and the Buscopan will not be necessary.

In all serious cases of diarrhoea it is essential to keep up the body salts with rehydration preparations. A quick comparison between those formulated for human beings and those licensed for animals quickly shows that they are almost identical, for we are, after all, both mammals! The big difference of course is in the price, the veterinary products, as usual being far more expensive. There are several on the market, Rehydrate and Dioralyte being just two. Give little and often.

There can often be a flushing out of the gut flora which is vital for the guinea pig to be able to digest its food so it is always wise to give some form of probiotic to help reseed the gut. Oxbow´s Critical Care formula mix the powder with some Acidophillus powder (found in health food stores) There is also a product called Bene-bac" that I have used with some success (it´s available in larger pet stores, at the vet and at some online pet supply sellers). The Critical Care is quite tasty and is mixed with water to make a thin paste enabling you to administer by syringe. Do this at least three times a day (along with regular food and water) for up to two to three days.

DON’T TAKE CHANCES WITH DIARRHOEA. IF YOU CAN'T NIP IT IN THE BUD WITHIN THE FIRST TWENTY FOUR HOURS OR THE GUINEA PIG APPEARS TO GET LISTLESS IT NEEDS VETERINARY TREATMENT.

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