Having a guinea pig is becoming increasingly popular and the reasons are obvious. They are utterly adorable balls of fluff. However, like all other pets, guinea pigs are prone to having multiple health issues. One quick way to diagnose a guinea pig health problem is to observe their poop. Yes, you read that right — poop. Just like human stool, guinea pig poop problems might be the first sign pointing toward a bigger problem. Let’s take a look into how reading guinea pig poop can help you understand more about their health.
A Sensible Subject
While it may seem outlandish to some, keeping track of their pet’s defecation is something that many people do. Cat and dog owners are already familiar with this procedure as it helps them figure out what to and what not to feed their pets. However, before you start picking your furry friends’ poop, you need to understand that there are different types of defecation.
Small pets, such as guinea pigs and rabbits, produce two types of stool — fecal pellets and cecotropes. The former are usually small, individual balls while the latter are larger, shiny, and have the appearance of grapes. You can think of fecal pellets as your typical poop, while cecotropes have a more practical purpose.
Full of nutrients and vitamins, cecotropes are usually re-ingested by guinea pigs so they can make the most of their food. No matter how disgusting that might sound, it’s important to note that guinea pigs are cecotrophic, meaning that cecotropes are produced via a separate mechanism than fecal pellets. So there’s no need to worry about your small friends’ poop diet.
Where to Start?
Firstly, you should start with the obvious signs of something not being alright — shape and color. While dark, almost black poop can indicate high protein levels in the food, it’s worth noting that it might also point to internal bleeding. Meanwhile, egg or teardrop-shaped excrements can also mean some nutrition imbalance. You can try changing the fiber and protein levels of the food while also avoiding high sugar input.
Secondly, watch out for slimy or soft feces. The most common cause of slime is an active or recent antibiotic treatment. If your pet hasn’t been receiving any treatment, gastrointestinal parasites might be the culprits. While some slime might not be completely abnormal, common occurrences should be reason enough to check in with your local vet.
Last but not least, there’s diarrhea. While there are many factors that can cause diarrhea, you should seek professional advice no matter what. With causes ranging from an unbalanced diet to infections, diarrhea is a huge red flag. The first 24 hours are most critical so you need to get help as soon as possible.
The End of the Trail
Overall, your guinea pig’s health needs to be your utmost priority. For that reason, you should do your best to research and understand all aspects of their life — even the more disgusting ones. Don’t forget that a balanced diet, an active and healthy style, as well as love need to be your go-to rules when it comes to every pet. Better prevent than treat — guinea pig poop checks should be something you do regularly. Don’t be afraid to stick it out for your furry companion!