Metastatic Calcification in Guinea Pigs
Metastatic calcification in guinea pigs is a diseased condition of the internal organs, in which the organs harden as the result of calcium being deposited in the tissues of the organ.It can spread throughout a guinea pig’s body, often without symptoms. In fact, an affected guinea pigs can die suddenly from this disease without ever having appeared ill.
Metastatic calcification is most likely to occurs in male guinea pigs that are older than one year of age.
Symptoms and Types
- Weight loss
- Muscle and/or joint stiffness
- Unwilling to be handled due to joint pain
- Dull and depressed appearance
- Increased urination due to kidney failure
A diet that is rich in calcium and phosphorus and deficient in magnesium is believed to be leading cause of metastatic calcification.
You will need to give a thorough history of your guinea pig's health and diet. Your veterinarian will suspect metastatic calcification based on the clinical signs that are observed, but a confirmatory diagnosis is possible only by visually examining the organs by X-ray and by taking blood and fluid samples for laboratory analysis.
It is difficult to treat metastatic calcification once it has fully set in, and in most cases treatment is not a viable option because metastatic calcification is frequently diagnosed at a late stage. At that point, only symptomatic treatment can be provided. If your guinea pig has reached a stage of organ calcification that cannot be reversed or treated, euthanasia may be the only option.
Living and Management
If the diagnosis has been made early enough for treatment, there are some things you can do to encourage recovery. House your guinea pig separate from the others so that it is able to rest undisturbed, and check on the guinea pig often so that you can be sure that it is getting the maximum care and attention it needs during recovery. The best way to increase the life of your affected guinea pig is to feed it a diet that has been specified by your veterinarian.
Most high-quality commercial guinea pig feeds are formulated to contain the correct amounts of vitamins and minerals so that the risk of calcium and phosphorous build-up in the body is minimized. Feeding your pet guinea pig a balanced diet can help to prevent the development of mineral imbalances. Check the nutrition information on the package label before buying pellets for your guinea pig, and do not give additional vitamins or mineral supplements unless you have been specifically advised to do so by your veterinarian.