Impaction

 

Older boars may develop a condition called impaction. Impaction is very common in older boars but not so much in females.

 

Impaction is the build-up of faecal material in the anal sack of the guinea pig because the muscles of the anus have weakened and the guinea pig is no longer able to expel the soft poo. This results in the Poo compacting in the anus, making it very difficult for the guinea pig to poo at all.  This is both painful and very uncomfortable for the guinea pig and if not cleaned out can kill your pet. Impaction can form for several different reasons.

In rescue situations, you see this commonly as it is a direct result of an incorrect diet. In these instances, piggies have been left in very bad conditions whereby they either do not have access to water, or they do not have access to hay

 

How can I tell that my Guinea Pig has impaction?

 

If you think your guinea pig may have Impaction, when you look at your guinea pig’s bum, you will notice that there is a big ‘plug like’ area that is full of poop. If you gently squeeze it, you will see a solid lump off poo. This poo is very smelly, and I really mean smelly!!

 

Regular checking of all males is recommended to make sure they are not suffering from impaction. If your Guinea pig does suffer from impaction, you should help them clean out their bums every day to prevent a build-up of matter.

Having a large amount of faecal matter in this area makes your guinea pig vulnerable to flystrike too.

 

An insight into poo.....

Guinea Pigs are coprophagic which means they eat their own droppings as part of their normal digestive process. In most cases, they are selective, eating only the smaller, moister droppings, which they usually take directly from the anus. Perhaps you have watched your guinea pig in a crouch position, patiently waiting and then suddenly reaching down to eat a pellet. These lighter, softer pellets are called caecal faeces and are very important to your guinea pig's health because they contain important B-complex vitamins. Caecal pellets are trapped on their way out of the rectum in an area called the perineal sac and the larger, harder faecal pellets are pushed out.

 

Helping your piggy to prevent Impaction

 

A good diet with lots of hay, and give them different kinds of hay. Make sure they like it and are eating it.

 

A large cage to encourages exercise (with an energetic companion) will help keep your boars healthy. Exercise is good at keeping the gut moving and things flowing normally...

 

If your Guinea pig does suffer from impaction, you should help them clean out their bums every day to prevent a build-up of matter. Doing it every day is not only more comfortable for your piggy but it is also less smelly for you and easier to do.

 

If the poop is solid, dry and hard mass, you can tell there has been a lack of water in the guinea pigs diet. The impaction debris will reflect this. Try giving your piggies more watery veggies like cucumber and try sprinkling water on their veggies. You could also increase their fruit intake.  

 

 If the poo is moist and wet in its formation, then there has not been enough fibre in the guinea pigs diet – of which they need up to 70% fibre. Usually, in these cases, guinea pigs may not have had hay within their diet. Although we give them hay every day, some guinea pig do not eat enough of it, so try a different kind, one that smells nice to encourage them to eat it. Try Friendly Oat hay, this smells lovely and is very inviting. 

 

 If your current bedding (shavings, paper products) collect in your boar's sac, changing to fleece bedding may also help.

 

Boar cleaning;

There is a lot of advice on the internet about boar cleaning in male Guinea Pigs. But our advice is that you do not need to regularly clean the anal sack area unless there is a case of impaction that you are dealing with. The anal sack area contains a lining with vital secretions that are important to the nutrition of your guinea pig, so anal cleaning is not needed.

 

 

What do I do if my Male Guinea Pig is suffering from impaction?

Below are a few steps to help you deal with impaction yourself, but if you need to get advice on how to do this, please see your local vet who will show you how to do it properly. If you have not encountered Impaction before, the vet is an ideal person to teach you how to do this correctly. 

 

1-Wash your hands. Scrub thoroughly with an antibacterial soap. This will reduce the chances of any infectious germs being transmitted to your guinea pig.

 

2-Put gloves on. Digital evacuation of faeces is a messy business. Vinyl gloves will keep your hands clean and stink-free. Placing a towel beneath the guinea pig will give it a soft surface to lay or stand on, and make clean-up easier for you.

 

3-Apply lubricant to your guinea pig's anal area. Smear petroleum jelly, baby oil, or Vaseline around the outer anal wall to ease the passage of the faecal mass. Some people hold a warm damp sponge to their piggies bums for a few minutes first to help soften the skin.

 

4-.Gently squeeze the blockage out. Place your thumb and pointer finger on either side of the faecal mass at the base of the anus. Apply pressure, increasing slowly. Carefully move the mass out of the guinea pig’s body.  This process is known as digital evacuation.

a-Enlist the aid of a partner to hold the guinea pig while you remove the blockage if you find it too difficult to do alone and don’t breathe in through your nose!!!

b--Be caring of your guinea pig’s needs. If he or she is squealing or indicating pain, you might be squeezing too hard.

 

Do not use any sharp instruments in an attempt to scoop the anal blockage out. The possibility of accidentally harming your guinea pig is very high. 

 

If you feel uncomfortable performing a digital evacuation, take your guinea pig to the vet and have him or her perform the procedure.

Repeat the process as needed daily or every couple of days.  

 

 

 

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