Streptococcus in Guinea Pigs
Streptococci pneumonie are pathogenic bacteria that have been found to be one of the causative agents for pneumonia in guinea pigs. Guinea pigs suffering from streptococcosis infection may not show any external symptoms of illness at all initially. The infected guinea pig may appear healthy, and then suffer what appears to be a sudden onset of disease symptoms. The guinea pig may appear to be stressed or will suddenly stop eating, which can quickly lead to death. This infection is also highly infectious to others. One guinea pig can infect another by direct contact or by sneezing or coughing.
Certain antibiotics can prevent one sick guinea pig from spreading the streptococcosis infection to other guinea pigs, if caught early enough, but guinea pigs that do not appear to be sick may not be diagnosed as carriers and will continue to act as potential carriers and transmitters of the infection to other animals, thus making control of the streptococcosis infection among groups of animals difficult.
Symptoms and Types
- Inflammation of the lining of the lungs, heart, abdomen, or uterus
- Inflammation of the inner ear or eardrum (otitis media)
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Inflammation of the joints (arthritis)
- Respiratory distress
- Dull and depressed appearance
- Loss of appetite and resultant weight loss
- Fever/elevated body temperature
The Streptococcus pneumoniae bacterium is one of the known causative agents for pneumonia in guinea pigs. In some cases guinea pigs may be infected with the Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria without appearing to be ill, making them a higher contagion risk to other animals -- and vice versa.
An initial diagnosis of streptococcosis can be made by observing your guinea pig's physical symptoms. You will need to provide a thorough history of your guinea pig's health leading up to the onset of symptoms. To confirm a diagnosis, your veterinarian will need to conduct laboratory tests, taking samples of mucous discharge (from the lungs and nasal passages), blood, and urine in order to test these body fluids for the presence of the tests for presence of the streptococci bacterium.