My guinea pig has a urinary stone: symptoms, treatment and prevention

Urinary stones are common in guinea pigs. They are most often manifested by red urine. An X-ray usually makes the diagnosis. The treatment is essentially surgical. And prevention, a case of hand-picked vegetables.

A guinea pig that urinates blood may have cystitis or a urinary stone. If this is the case for your little chon, go to a nacophile veterinarian without delay to have your companion examined. Do not neglect this kind of symptom in order to relieve your rodent as quickly as possible and allow it to regain its legendary joie de vivre (but less than its appetite!).

What is a urinary calculus in guinea pigs?

A urinary stone (or urolithiasis) is a mineral concretion that forms in the urinary tract. In guinea pigs, they are often composed of calcium combined with other components (calcium carbonate, calcium oxalate, etc.). Concretely, it looks like a little rough stone.

The urine of guinea pigs is naturally rich in minerals (it has a “thick” consistency, a little milky), which predisposes them to this pathology. Stones can also be the consequence of a chronic urinary tract infection.

In guinea pigs, stones form mainly in the bladder or in the urethra (conduit carrying urine from the bladder to the outside). They can become large and completely fill the bladder. They are often painful due to their size and roughness.

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How do I know if my guinea pig has a stone?

Initially, symptoms may be mild with pain on passing urine that is difficult to spot and a loss of appetite. Quickly, the urine is tinged with blood. The animal becomes less lively and loses weight.

It is the veterinarian who will be able to make the diagnosis with certainty thanks to an X-ray examination. The stone is usually clearly visible, either in the bladder or in the urethra. An ultrasound can also be performed to better objectify the state of the bladder. Most of the time, there is only one calculation.

A lithiasis in the urethra can become an emergency if the animal can no longer pee at all. If your guinea pig no longer urinates, complains and has a lump on the penis (male) or under the skin on the vulva (female), go to your veterinary. His vital prognosis could be quickly engaged.

What is the treatment for a urinary stone in guinea pigs?

The treatment of a bladder stone in guinea pigs is surgical. The operation consists of removing the lithiasis present in the bladder. The animal is put on antibiotics and painkillers a few days before the operation. On D-Day, the veterinarian performs the anesthesia and then the cystotomy (opening of the abdomen and then the bladder to extract the stone). The bladder, abdominal muscle and skin are stitched together. The suites are generally excellent. Do not neglect analgesics because the guinea pig is very sensitive to pain.

For urethral stones, if they are not too far from the meatus, they can be pushed out under anesthesia. If we cannot reach them, we can proceed to more or less important surgeries such as an episiotomy in the female to have better access or an amputation of the penis in the male. In this case, recovery is more difficult.

My guinea pig has a urinary stone: symptoms, treatment and prevention

How to prevent stones in guinea pigs?

First of all, you have to make sure that the guinea pig drinks enough. For this, he must always have fresh and clean water available. A good watering can dilute the urine; thus they are less concentrated in crystals (which can lead to calculations by aggregating between them). We can also give him vegetables or fruits rich in water such as cucumber or watermelon.

It is also recommended to limit calcium-rich foods such as alfalfa-based hay, green cabbage, watercress, parsley, spinach or even kiwi and oranges… The croquettes, often made from alfalfa, must also be consumed in moderation.

If vitamin C supplementation is essential for our dogs, an excess could intervene in the formation of calcium oxalate stones. It is therefore important to respect the doses when providing vitamin C to your guinea pig.

And don’t forget a little exercise! Physical inactivity is one of the factors predisposing to urinary stones in guinea pigs. So, we take the pigs out of the cages and put them to sport!

Isabelle Vixege

Dr. Veterinarian

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My guinea pig has a urinary stone: symptoms, treatment and prevention

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