This is a very common ailment in sows and is occasionally seen in boars. It is caused when the inner lining of the bladder becomes infected with bacteria.
Sows are more prone to this condition because they have a shorter urethra than boar’s have. Any kind of obstruction of the urethra such as a stone can also cause Cystitis for stagnant urine can build up in the bladder or urethra. Personally, I believe that a contributing cause to this condition is too much protein in the diet, see ‘Dietry matters.’
The symptoms are varied and a sow can show all or just some of them depending on how bad the infection is. If the sow is handled a lot, an early diagnosis is more likely for it will be noticed that she is constantly wet underneath. Either because she is passing more urine or she is constantly dribbling urine, if there is a urethral stone, or one is beginning to form. Another symptom is if the sow lifts herself high on her back legs in an exaggerated fashion just has she finishes urinating. High squeaks as she passes urine is another, one more likely in advances cases but they can occur early on, and usually she’ll spend more time with her head between her legs, licking herself. The vulva can be swollen, and sores can appear around the whole of the genitalia. For the latter I use calendula oil ointment but many of the non toxic desloughing oinments such as Aserbine to be applied twice daily.
In boars, it is invariably just a high pitched squeaking as they pass urine and when the penis is extruded the tip is red and slightly inflamed. Be Aware that the high pitched squeaking is more often the sign of a bladder stone and this must be investigated first.
The first line of attack is the one of the oldest therapies of all and used in human medicine for this condition, Barley water. However I am not talking about the stuff you buy in prettily labelled bottle. I’m talking about the viscous stuff you make up yourself. It is the slimy viscosity which does the trick and you don’t get this in the brands you buy off the super market shelves.
Home made barley water is made by cooking pearl barley at the ratio of ten parts of water to one part of pearl barley. Barley varies, some makes soaking up the water more than others so it can be up to fifteen to so monitor while cooking and add a little extra water if necessary. Make small amounts for it will not keep for more than twenty four hours.
The resulting water is is one of the best demulcents there is, being very viscous. Leave until cold and the syringe little and often to the patient.
Liquidize the cooked barley with cucumber or the animal’s favourite vegetable and syringe this in too. This is usually more acceptable than the water and as this too is very viscous it will have the same effect of soothing the inflamed tissue. Though you are doing nothing more that treating the symptom this can have the still be very effective. By soothing the tissues the body’s immune system can have a better chance of knocking out the bacteria especially if you back this up with several other therapies.
Cranberry juice is always recommended which should be administered by syringe frequently. You cannot over do this and most guinea pigs like the taste of it so let them drink their fill. The herbs recommended for this condition are as follows. Couch grass, first and foremost for you can simply pick this for much of the year and the guinea pigs will simply eat it in the way they do any grass. Bearberry, Juniper and Echinacea are all helpful. I use all three in a tincture at the dose rate of a ml night and morning.
Sometimes antibiotics are the only answer and combinations of Trimethroprim and Sulphadiazine are very effective given at the dose rate of 0.5 orally