Bloat in Guinea Pigs
Bloat in guinea pigs is a very difficult problem to deal with and the success rate in restoring them to health is not very good at the time of writing. The most common cause is intestinal blockage, the other, which is relatively rare but treated in the same way is caused by a build up of gas in the gut. I many of the cases that have been investigated with a P.M., a piece of plastic wrapping of some kind of another is the cause of the blockages.
This doesn’t mean that you will immediately expect to find bloat after catching a guinea pig nibbling at a cucumber which, say, has not had the dreaded cling film wrapping removed or finds a bit of plastic carrier bag to nibble. Many times everything will pass through with no problem whatsoever, but it only needs a small piece to stick somewhere inside. For a long time it may not cause any problem for it can quickly bed down on one side of the intestine wall or more likely a kink in it. However, at sometime in the future a piece of food may not be chewed as well as it should have been and get lodged when it hits that bit of plastic and then the animal can soon be in deep trouble.
Golden rule number one, then, is to give about one ml of liquid paraffin if you catch your guinea pig chewing plastic of any kind. It is more than likely to flush it out before it has had time to bed in. Unfortunately the first symptom you get is of a guinea pig who look uncomfortable and off it’s food. Palpate the stomach and if there is the slightest kind of tightness flick the index finger against the side. If there is a hollow resonance then it is indicative that the problem is air and not fluid. Be certain to differentiate between the two for the treatment for fluid is totally different and if the one is used upon the other it could be fatal. Once you have established that it is air your are dealing with take the following steps immediately. If they are taken early there is a far better chance of success.
Give one tablet Rennie Rapize, crushed and in 2.5ml of water via a syringe. Follow this with one crushed tablet of Buscopan in about 1.5ml water. Leave for about half an hour and then gently massage the sides of the guinea pig, resting it on a towel. Better still if you have access to one of those vibrating pads that are used for people with artritic or circulation problems in human beings, a good twenty minutes settled on it as in photograph should greatly improves the chance of clearing the blockage.
There are a couple of other products that can help if those I have mentioned are not available. Baby gripe water, about three mls, as an alternative to the Rennie, Dentinox collic drops, 1.5 mls instead of liquid paraffin, However, Buscopan, a gut relaxant and analgesic is a vital item in any G.P. medicine cabinet for it can be used with good effect on several other ailments.
If by the time you discover the problem the guinea pig is very heavily distended then the prognosis is not at all promising. If after repeating the doses once and the therapies suggested, serious thought should be given to euthanasia.