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Bacterial Disease of the Foot - Bumblefoot in Guinea Pigs

Treatment

 

If pododermatitis is detected early, simply switching your guinea pig’s living quarters to one with a smooth floor, improving the sanitation, and changing the bedding to softer material may improve your pet's condition. It is also important to keep the cage flooring dry, since a damp floor will soften the foot tissue, making it more prone to cracking and thereby making it more prone to opportunistic infection. Your veterinarian may also instruct you to increase the amount of vitamin C in the guinea pig's diet, if it is found to be lacking.

 

If the condition needs medical treatment beyond simple environmental changes, your veterinarian will provide this. Your veterinarian will clean the wounds, clip the hair around the infected areas, and trim any overgrown nails and dead tissue on the feet. Soaking the feet in antibiotic solutions may also prove to be useful. In severe cases, guinea pigs may need oral antibiotics and pain medications. You may also need to keep the feet bandaged, with fresh dressings and topical antibiotics applied regularly to encourage healing. Prolonged, untreated cases where pododermatitis has worsened to severe infection that is not responding to immediate treatment may require amputation of the infected leg.

 

Living and Management

 

Ensure that your guinea pig's living quarters are cleaned and disinfected before returning it to the cage. If you have been using a cage with a wire floor, you will need to replace the flooring with a smooth bottom, with soft places for your guinea pig to rest. Clean up any water spills immediately so that your guinea pig's feet remain dry, as wet feet are more prone to cracking. While your guinea pig is recovering, move it to a quiet place in the home, away from high activity. If necessary, you may need to restrain your pet from moving around too much, so that the foot will have a better chance of healing. Follow your veterinarian's instructions for dressing and applying topical medications to the affected feet.

 

Prevention

 

Providing cages with smooth bottoms for your guinea pigs, keeping the floors clean and dry, and treating any injuries immediately can help prevent pododermatitis from occurring. Because this is a relatively common ailment, guinea pig owners are advised to check their pets' feet daily, including the length of the nails, and watching the guinea pig's weight and making dietary changes as needed.

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