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Conditions To all you wonderful problem solvers out there!

Delaine

Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Jan 12, 2012
Messages
385
I think it is time to call for "help" from all of you. You guys are the best problem solvers. I got my two girls last May and around October Abbey started to get a dirty area around her bum. It got quite bad and was even dirty part way up her back end. I did some research and realized I was feeding them twice as many greens as recommended so cut those in half. Things got much better but the problem has never totally cleared up. I took her to the vet a couple of weeks ago and the vet checked her out from top to bottom and said she doesn't know what would cause it. I kept the girls separated going to the vet, but Abbey wouldn't co-operate with a poop sample. Really, what guinea pig doesn't poop for 1 1/2 hours. They tested Zoe's stool instead but no parasites were present. Some days are better than others so here are my thoughts on what might cause it.

- I am pretty sure it may be food related because cruciferous/brassica veggies make it worse and it was worse the last couple of days and I gave them wheat grass I grew. It also got way better when I cut the greens in half. Up until October they were eating mostly grass, with a few dandilions, clover and veggies from the garden which seemed to agree with her. Then I had to start buying greens. Also the smell was getting really bad in their cage, even after I just cleaned it. The smell seems to go along with the dirty bum. Cleaner bum, sweeter smelling cage.

- It started two days after I brought home a new bale of second cut Timothy, but I can't imagine it is the hay.

- Could it be behavioural? Dragging the bum.

- When the bum is dirty, she reaches down more to bite underneath and she does drag more as if something is bugging her.

- Although I wash all the veggies, I was wondering if it was the pesticides so I buy mostly organic greens.

- Could her cecal pellets be softer than normal do to a food sensitivity? I have never seen them so I have no idea. The poop I see are firm and formed and always have been. I don't understand how her bum gets dirty from the formed poop.

- Or, maybe she is sleeping where she goes and just doesn't move.

- I read there is something rabbits get where they have protein sensitive bacteria in their cecum and it can cause them to make excess cecum pellets which causes a dirty bum. You apparenty have to put them on low protein diet. I haven't been able to apply this to guinea pigs though.

Anyways, she is eating, active and her weight is stable. I think I will try an elimination diet and see if it is one particular food that is not agreeing with her, because it is worse some days and pretty good other days. I washed her bum last week but it is dirty again. I don't want to irritate her by washing her too much. Any and all suggestions would be appreciated. I think whatever is causing this must be irritating her. When my girls aren't 100% I get a little stressed. I am sure you all understand.
 
I would first start with trimming hair around her behind and spot cleaning the cage where they have the most poopies.
I'd withhold veggies and hope they eat more hay.

I would check for motility issues (they will listen to her digestive tract for abnormalities). I'd also check for cysts in the reproductive organs and possible bladder stones (possible straining), and just nab a piece of her poo before you go to the vet and put it in the baggy.

That's all I know about it, my specialty is mostly treating G.I. Stasis.
 
Sometimes my boys have really smelly poops and you can almost smell them pooping.. Lol! Usually right after dinner. As for the dirty tush, do you know how she's getting it dirty? Does she have diarrhea? Or does she sit in her poop? I had a boy who would lay in the hay bin and poop a heap behind him and he would stretch out on top of it. He was such a dirty pig, I bathed him at least once a month. So gross. My "specialty" is stones, and this doesn't sound like stones.

I will say this, I just inherited bunny who lived on unlimited pellets, so we started slow, with lettuce, she was fine, then I introduced cucumber and she got diarrhea. But she normalized the next day. The ver said any times she has diarrhea we need to cut back on watery veggies and just do leafy greens.

Good luck, let us know.
 
You've gotten good advice here. I'd cut the veggies down to a bare minimum of a little lettuce for a few days, and see if that firms things up. Then gradually add things back, one at a time, until you figure it out.

Wheat grass is good for them, and they love it, but you have to introduce it slowly or they'll get terribly loose stools. When I feed it to mine after not doing so for a while, I just cut small handfuls and put it on a plate. As they get used to it, I put the whole pan in the cage and let them have at it.

Also, some pigs just have softer poops than others. My abby is particularly sensitive to different foods. She can't tolerate cucumber at all, while the other is fine with it. She also doesn't do well with any of the cruciferous vegetables, so I just avoid those.
 
As for your vet needing a poop sample, maybe collect some of them in a little baggie from the cage then take them to her? Try to collect them from the area your pig sleeps the most to assure you get that specific pig's droppings. You could also watch her for a while and pick up any poop you see her leave behind.
 
This is all wonderful advice. You are all so fast at getting back to me and so helpful. I talked to pharmacy at the vets to see what else they can test for in the stool and it was mostly for worms or parasites. I asked about testing for blood but that didn't seem to be an option. I have never seen any blood in the stool. Have any of you had your pig's stool tested for anything else? The thing that has me baffled is that her stools are very firm so I don't know where she is getting dirty. I even pick them up and squeeze them in paper towel to see if they are soft. They pee on paper towel topped with either shredded paper or pine shavings so I would be able to see any blood or changes in the urine. I watch her pee and there is no distress and the poop just seems to drop out without straining. The only thing I do notice is sometimes she will do a butt drag but not all the time. Could it be behavioural? She gets kicked out of her house and litter box lots by her sister and then when she moves to another box or house she gets chased out of that one. I was wondering if she was dragging her bum to make a statement.

Also what do you know about their cecal pellets? I know you shouldn't see a healthy guinea pig's cecal pellets, but have any of you seen them. I can only find pictures of rabbit's on the net. I know they are softer than normal droppings and the rabbits had mucus on them. Is this the same for guinea pigs? Do they always eat them directly from their bum or do they sometimes pick them up off the floor? If anyone knows where I can find a picture on the net, please let me know. If diet is causing the cecal pellets to be softer, maybe this is how her bum is getting dirty???

I spot clean the cage in the morning and totally clean the litter boxes and tray at night. Throughout the day I pick up poops. They don't pee at all and poop very little in their houses. Most of the mess is done on the 6" x 30" x 1" high tray and they don't sleep in it. The only place she could be getting dirty is like you said Nicolene, sleeping in the litter box and not moving after she has peed or pooped.

I will start an elimination diet and record the progress. I can't wait until they can be on mostly grass again. This problem started when we started to run out forage. Thank you so much everyone! You have no idea how much I appreciate your support.
 
If she isn't making cecal pellets, this is very bad! Call your vet and ask about probiotics, maybe Bene-Bac?
 
If she isn't making cecal pellets, this is very bad! Call your vet and ask about probiotics, maybe Bene-Bac?

I am sure she is making cecal pellets. I see her bend down to grab them sometimes. I have just never seen one, because I am sure they consume all of them. I was just curious what they look like. Thank you for your input and I will keep an eye out for any indication of cysts or bladder stones. When I had her to the vet she listened for any unusual noises but found everything totally normal. I am only going to give a little lettuce for the next few days and also stop using any pine shavings in their litter area just in case they are irritating her. The girls are on mostly fleece and I wash it in unscented laundry soap from the Health Food Store. If you come with any more suggestions I would love to hear anything you have to say.
 
I am sure she is making cecal pellets. I see her bend down to grab them sometimes. I have just never seen one, because I am sure they consume all of them. I was just curious what they look like. Thank you for your input and I will keep an eye out for any indication of cysts or bladder stones. When I had her to the vet she listened for any unusual noises but found everything totally normal. I am only going to give a little lettuce for the next few days and also stop using any pine shavings in their litter area just in case they are irritating her. The girls are on mostly fleece and I wash it in unscented laundry soap from the Health Food Store. If you come with any more suggestions I would love to hear anything you have to say.
CareFresh is the best bedding for the litter pans. It's really good because it's easy to clean up and controls odor pretty well.
As for cecal feces, they will be softer, greenish brown, and sometimes a bit smaller than the average poopie!
 
CareFresh is the best bedding for the litter pans. It's really good because it's easy to clean up and controls odor pretty well.
As for cecal feces, they will be softer, greenish brown, and sometimes a bit smaller than the average poopie!

Thanks. I am sure I can get CareFresh in Canada.
 
By the way, Nicolene, I love the word "tush", sure beats "bum" and Gigabyte, "poopie" is way better than "poop". I learn something new everyday on this site. It may take some time to sort this out, but I will let you know when I see any permanent changes.
 
By the way, Nicolene, I love the word "tush", sure beats "bum" and Gigabyte, "poopie" is way better than "poop". I learn something new everyday on this site. It may take some time to sort this out, but I will let you know when I see any permanent changes.
Can't be serious all the time, here. Too many cute cavies can put a person in a great mood. :D
 
I disagree about using Carefresh. I find pigs track it all over my fleece.

They pee on paper towel topped with either shredded paper or pine shavings


I'm confused--is this the bedding you use in your cage? If not, what bedding do you use in the whole cage? And how big is your cage?

The shavings are usually fine to use. Paper towels and shredded paper, however, are not.

What kind of guinea pig is she? Short haired? Long haired? Does she have an active grease gland?
 
Hi Delaine, I just read the part about your piggy sometimes dragging her butt around the cage. I don't know how much this applies to you because you said that you have only seen firm, well-formed poops from Abbey, but I often see Buttercup dragging her butt around to get a poop off when there is a mushy poop half hanging out. Hope things with Abbey get sorted out!
 
I disagree about using Carefresh. I find pigs track it all over my fleece.

They pee on paper towel topped with either shredded paper or pine shavings


I'm confused--is this the bedding you use in your cage? If not, what bedding do you use in the whole cage? And how big is your cage?

The shavings are usually fine to use. Paper towels and shredded paper, however, are not.

What kind of guinea pig is she? Short haired? Long haired? Does she have an active grease gland?

Hi, thanks for the questions. They will maybe help me get to the root of the problem.

I have two girls and a 2X4 C&C cage. I have towels covered by fleece over the whole cage, with extra fleece in the houses. In the back corners I have 10" x 14" litter boxes and a 6" x 30" x 1" high tray along the back connecting the litter boxes. These are where I put newspaper, then paper towels (to protect them from the ink) and then either pine shavings or shredded unprinted newsprint and a little hay. The tray gets changed twice a day and the litter boxes get spot cleaned in the morning and replaced with clean ones at night. Most of their business is done in the litter areas, especially on the long tray.

My girls are both Americans, so short hair. (That is their pictures in my Avatar). I also wondered about the grease gland. Abbey's breeder said I was feeding them way too many greens and to cut back. She also gave me detailed instructions on how to clean a grease gland if that truly was the issue. Once I cut back on the veggies things got way better and the dirty spot was once again only around the bum area. I think it has something to do with her dragging her bum, although I don't see this very often. Could anything cause an itchy bum? There is no redness or irritation. The vet checked her over pretty good in that area and said it was clean with no discharge or anything. I will take a stool sample to have tested, although her sister's stool sample was clean.

I do notice things get worse when I feed broccoli, cabbage, kale, etc. so I am still leaning towards the problem being diet related or.... like Nicolene's boy she is just dirty. Abbey does sleep mostly in the litter boxes, where Zoe sleeps mostly on fleece in the houses. I bought a new hay rack, have started putting a pile of hay in the middle of the cage and reduced the amount of hay in the litter boxes to encourage her to stay out of the boxes.
 
By the way I just noticed one of Abbey's stools has a little pointed end. Is this normal? When I take her stool sample to the vet what should I have them test for besides parasites?
 
Hey Delaine! No, I do not think that the pointed end of Abbey's stools are normal. If you look at the Guinea Lynx website on their checklist of what is normal and not normal, under droppings it says:

NORMAL:
Droppings should be uniform and oval, medium to dark brown. Aromatic greenish droppings may be caecal pellets, which the guinea pig re-ingests (necessary for good nutrition).

NOT NORMAL:
[GuineaPigCages.com] To all you wonderful problem solvers out there!
Clumped droppings: may indicate impaction (males).
[GuineaPigCages.com] To all you wonderful problem solvers out there!
Smaller droppings and/or teardrop shaped droppings: may indicate dehydration and/or eating less food.
[GuineaPigCages.com] To all you wonderful problem solvers out there!
Pitted soft droppings may be caused by an overgrowth of yeast in the intestinal tract: a vet can diagnose this and treat with oral Nystatin.
[GuineaPigCages.com] To all you wonderful problem solvers out there!
Diarrhea: can be life threatening. If the droppings are merely soft, temporarily withholding vegetables may help.

https://www.guinealynx.info/normal.html

Is it just one of her stools that is pointy or all of them? Besides doing the fecal float to test for parasites, you could also ask about doing a fecal culture.
 
Ditto what ech90 said. You need to get the vet.
Is she eating well?
 
Thanks guys. She has always been very food motivated and still is. I am sure she gets more than her share when I serve out the greens. She eats a moderate amount of pellets, drinks a normal amount of water and is always munching on hay. She weighs 2 lbs. 9 1/4 ounces and her weight is stable. The vet thinks she could lose a little weight but I think she is a healthy weight. I had her to the vet on January 30th and everything checked out. I phoned back today to see where we should go from here. The receptionist is going to talk to the vet and get back to me. I will ask to have a fecal culture done as well as testing for parasites. Any other tests you think should be done?

Also I am in the process of changing over to Oxbow Adult. I hope this agrees with her.
 
I was a little confused with all the different types of fecal tests (float, culture, gram stain), but Lynx on Guinea Lynx provided me with this really useful link.

Gram Stain: The Test

Basically I think, the float tests for internal parasites and the gram stain can be done as part of the fecal culture. The gram stain/fecal culture can tell you if fungi are present, as well as if there is a bacterial imbalance and what kind of imbalance it is, which can help guide the vet to which medication should be used for treatment.
 
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