It can be tough to tell when your guinea pig is sick, but one common symptom of a health problem in guinea pigs is diarrhea. If your little friend's stools are loose and runny, you need to take some precautions. 

What's the Cause? 

Guinea pigs have very sensitive digestive systems that can easily become unbalanced. There are several reasons why your guinea pig may be experiencing diarrhea. 

  • Viruses like adenovirus can cause diarrhea, respiratory distress, and pneumonia. 
  • Parasites or bacteria in your guinea pig's digestive tract can cause health problems.
  • Changing food frequently can cause an imbalance. 
  • Feeding too many leafy greens can overwhelm the system with nitrates. 

What's the Treatment? 

To treat diarrhea in guinea pigs, you should increase the fiber in their diets while cutting back on sugar. Your veterinarian may recommend that you supplement your guinea pig's regular diet with hay. 

Make sure your guinea pig is getting plenty of gut healthy probiotics by feeding it plain, unsweetened yogurt. You can also buy special probiotic drops to add to the guinea pig's food. 

Sick guinea pigs can easily become dehydrated, so offer lots of clean drinking water. 

If home treatments fail, a veterinarian may prescribe special foods or medications and can also help to hydrate your guinea pig. Avoid handling your sick guinea pig because this can cause extra stress. 

What's the Prevention? 

The best way to have a healthy guinea pig is to prevent problems before they occur. There are many ways you can help prevent diarrhea from becoming a problem for your guinea pig. 

  • Keep your guinea pig's cage and bedding clean, and do not let uneaten food sit. 
  • Make sure fresh water is always available. 
  • Don't make big changes in your guinea pig's diet. 
  • Do not feed your guinea pig coconut, garlic or dairy products.
  • Develop a relationship with a veterinarian, and take your guinea pig for annual check-ups.
  • Observe your guinea pig carefully each day for signs that something isn't right. 

Guinea pigs can be amazing companions that add joy and comfort to your life. Diarrhea is often the first sign that something is wrong with your pet, so be sure to take it seriously and provide proper care immediately. Always consult a veterinarian if you have questions about the proper way to care for your guinea pig or if your pet is sick for several days. Careful actions on your part can keep your small pet alive and healthy.  For assistance, talk to a professional like Belaire Animal Hospital.