Diarrhea often occurs as a symptom of a secondary condition, including disease, infection or improper diet, all causing the guinea pig's digestive system to become upset. Whatever the reason, diarrhea needs to be treated promptly, as it can lead to dehydration and even death in severe cases.
Guinea pigs suffering from diarrhea may display symptoms such as:
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Loose, watery stool
- Soiling of the fur near the genital and anal area
- Dull and depressed appearance
- Rough hair coat
- Sunken eyeballs
- Hunched posture
- Abnormally low body temperature (in severe cases)
Bacterial, viral and parasitic infections can all lead to digestive problems in guinea pigs, and thus diarrhea. A diet consisting of more grains and soluble sugars and little or no fiber can also cause diarrhea in guinea pigs, as it can upset the bacterial population and increase the harmful bacteria inside the animal's digestive system.
Other than observing your guinea pig's clinical signs, your veterinarian will confirm a diagnosis of diarrhea by completing a dietary history of the animal and examining its blood and stool samples for infectious organisms.