Salmonellosis in Guinea Pigs
Salmonellosis is an uncommon bacterial infection in guinea pigs, usually the result of ingestion of the salmonella bacterium. While infection is typically related to the ingestion of food and water that is contaminated with infected feces, urine and bedding material, salmonellosis infection can also be acquired by direct contact with infected guinea pigs, or contact with wild mice or rats that carry the salmonella bacteria.
An infected guinea pig that is being treated for salmonellosis may still continue to infect other animals even though it does not appear to be sick. It is important to note that this disease has known zoonotic potential, and an infected guinea pig can act as a source for the spread of salmonellosis to humans as well. Hence, salmonellosis needs to be managed with caution.
Symptoms and Types
- Dull and depressed appearance
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Enlarged spleen and liver, and swollen lymph nodes around the neck
- Inflammation of the eye
- Rough body coat
Salmonellosis is caused by infection with the salmonella bacterium, which is typically transmitted via ingestion of contaminated food or water. It can also be spread via direct contact with infected guinea pigs or by contact with infected wild rodents (i.e., rats, mice). Additionally, infected guinea pigs can spread salmonella infection to humans through direct contact.
You will need to provide a thorough history of your guinea pig's health leading up to the onset of symptoms. A complete blood profile and urinalysis will be conducted. Your veterinarian will begin by observing the clinical symptoms exhibited by the infected guinea pig, which may allow your veterinarian to make an initial diagnosis. Fecal samples will be collected for laboratory culturing and identification, the results of which will clarify the specific bacteria that is responsible for the infection so that a confirmatory diagnosis can be made.