Faecal impaction is a condition unusual in females but commonly seen in male guinea pigs after 2-3 years of age. The exact reason for its occurrence is unknown, but it is thought that the increased size of the testicles and fat deposit in the scrotal sac preventing some faeces from falling out of the rectum. This collection of faeces then ‘dilates’ this area causing more faeces to accumulate and become impacted.
As the impacted faeces begin to break down, and other secretions are added to the mix, the odour can be significant. Normal faeces can also be seen from guinea pigs with this condition.
What Are the Signs of Feacal Impaction?
In some cases, affected guinea pigs can show no signs at all. However, most show symptoms of straining to defecate or an unusual odour.
What Can We Do About This Condition?
The old saying of prevention is better than a cure holds true for this condition. Castration, ideally at 3-6 months of age, helps to prevent this condition from occurring. Castration after the condition has occurred may prevent it from getting worse but generally will not fix things entirely.
Dietary change to increase fibre intake may be suggested, and regular, manual cleaning of this pocket is often the best treatment in older boars (male guinea pigs).
Cleaning twice daily to once a week is required depending on the severity of the condition.
It is important to recognise the signs of faecal impaction early before it becomes a serious condition. For more information on how to prevent faecal impaction from developing in your guinea pig, contact your local Unusual Pet Vets team or book an appointment online.