I was hoping everyone may want to chime in and give their experiences, info., advice, photos etc. Thank you. Lara and the gang
Know your Guinea Pig, know your poo
If ever in doubt, take your piggie and a sample of their stool to your vet.
Whether you are a long time guinea pig owner or a newbie, one of the most valuable pieces of information to learn is that guinea pigs cannot vomit; what goes in only goes out one way. I have learned that guinea pigs are very complex and sensitive creatures. When one of my guinea pigs died (unfortunately from cancer and all was done to help her and she still passed) is that "knowing" your guinea pig, watching their behavior on a daily basis is key to you understanding them and their health. Guinea pigs have a very sensitive GI tract (Gastro Intestinal track)and being non dairy and vegans, they eat all day long. I have realized that monitoring my guinea pigs stool on a regular basis has helped me detect early signs of illness. After you read this I strongly recommend you read about diarrhea and guinea pigs, which can be fatal and come on very quickly. I have found that monitoring my guinea pigs stool helps me understand their general well being and possible early signs of illness, since guinea pigs, once they do get ill can decline rather quickly, even a subtle change in diet can cause a guinea pig's stool to alter. Unless your piggy has bloat, or a specific circumstance,remember hay hay hay hay hay, number one food for piggies!
Guinea pig stool color varies between black or dark brown and anywhere in between that scope.
Depending on what you are feeding your guinea pig the color may vary. If you are feeding your guinea pigs a lot of beets, for example, the stool will have a hue of dark red or purple.
Solely a lighter brown stool may point to bloat or another illness.
Guinea pigs also have stool that they eat on occasion to help their digestive track. This feces is usually a green shade in colour. These are eaten by guinea pigs to keep their digestive track healthy. Please see GL medical reference.
[Edit - Lynx: these greenish cecal feces are often very odorous. See www.guinealynx.info/impaction.html for more information.]
Information is in the document and on Guinea Lynx medical site and also on the Guinea Lynx forum under Reference and First Hand Accounts, Bowel Obstruction/Bloating Xrays. Bloat can be fatal, there is a lot of helpful information on bloat in forums and it is recommended to take bloat very seriously and consult your vet.
Guinea pig stool usually does not have a really strong smell, unless you need to clean their cage more often.
If your guinea pig's stool has a really strong odor it is possible there is a secondary health problem.
Guinea pig stool that has a strong odor can also point to a slow GI track (gastro intestinal) and that the stool is not moving through fast enough or there is a blockage or infection in your guinea pigs intestines. Since guinea pigs need to eat frequently, if they are not their intestinal track will not function properly.
Guinea pigs can also have an anal infection, inflammation etc. that can cause defecating to be painful.
On a similar note strong smelly mooshy stool can point to mal absorption, that the guinea pig is not absorbing any nutrients from their food and/or a secondary illness.
Strong smelling stool can also point to a larger health issue.
[Edit - Lynx: If you notice strong smelling poop, especially if greenish in color, these may be the cecal feces that are reingested for their nutritional value. See Coprophagy above.]
Size and consistency:
Stool of course will vary in size depending on the age and size of your guinea pig. Variation in size can also point to dehydration (too small), clumpy (possible intestinal or bacterial infection in the gut. In some cases there can be colon issues).
- Guinea pig stool that is not solid in color also points to a GI tract issue or larger illness.
- Tear drop shaped stool can point to a slow GI tract, infection or other issues.
- If your guinea pig is producing blood or weeking while pooing then see a vet immediately, there could be serious mechanical obstruction, inflammation or tear in the anus or intestinal system.
- Clumpy stool can also point to an absorption issue.
- Soft stool can point to too many greens or fruit, cutting down on these and increasing hay is suggested. A change in diet can also affect your guinea pigs stool, even adding an unknown vegetable and sometimes in older piggies too much grass. Soft stool as with any abnormalities in stool can point to an illness.
- Antibiotics and pain killers can sometimes change the consistency of your guinea's stool. intolerance, allergy, wrong dosage in antibiotics should be taken into consideration.
- Small dehydrated stool can point to GI Stasis, the gastrointestinal tract slowing or shutting down. Guinea pig's water intake is as important as food intake.
- Bloat can also cause inconsistency in stool but increasing fiber is not recommended.
Abnormalities in stool:
It is possible that your piggie has eaten a small peice or coroplast or such and is causing obstruction in the bowel. A foreign object could be lodged in the system for a short or long period of time before it can cause damage.
There can be genial [genetic] abnormalities in the intestine and should not be ruled out.
Mucus in stool can point to an infection or bacteria in the intestinal track.
Blood in stool is serious and should be addressed immediatly.
Hay is the most important food group in a healthy guinea pigs diet, it gives them the fiber they need to have a healthy GI track, proper digestion and healthy colon.
The elderly pig's stool can tend to vary a lot, so it is important to monitor their stool frequently. Elderly pigs can be more sensitive to everything, so as your piggy ages please monitor and adjust to their daily needs.
Poo and More poo:
Most importantly, guinea pigs eat all day long, it is a priority to make sure your guinea pig is pooing alot as well. If they are not, this may point to an illness.
Male guinea pigs (boars) can also have troubles pooing sometimes, this is called impaction, please refer to impaction section on GL medical reference. If feces is not exremented then infection and fermentation which could be fatal can occur.
Diarrhea should be treated as an emergency and your guinea should be taken to the vet, please see section on GL medical reference on diarrhea.
If you suspect your piggies poo is not normal, please take them to your exotic specialist vet, and bring a sample! :)
There are two different types of tests, a simple fecal smear and an extended one. Of course the more in depth the test the more acute to any problems will show up.
Every guinea pig is different and because of this your guinea's poo could look a tad different. Your guinea pig's stool can also change and shift throughout an illness.
Thanks so much Mary and Dave for your help!!!!!!
There are more good pics on this Guinea Lynx thread:
Guinea Lynx :: Topic - Soft Stool/Squeaking and Straining While Pooing viewtopic.php?t=64549