Guinea Pig Bumblefoot (Pododermatitis)
Guinea Pig Bumblefoot (also known as Ulcerative Pododermatitis) is an extremely painful infection of the Footpad. The footpad will be swollen and may be crusted and/or bleeding. In some cases the Guinea Pig may be reluctant to move, depressed and even anorexic. If the bone becomes infected the leg may need to be surgically removed. Left untreated, Pododermatitis can lead to death.
Pododermatitis is often attributed to abrasions caused by wire floors or rough bedding which allows infections (typically Staphylococcus Aureus, a common Environmental Bacteria) to become established.
- Excessive Pressure on the feet.
- Arthritis in one leg (Meaning excess pressure placed on infected foot).
- Nutritional Imbalance (Especially lacking of sufficient Vitamin C)
- Overgrown Nails.
- Humid Environments
- Cardiac Disease
- Systemic Mycosis
When you speak to your vet I would recommend giving them a thorough history of your Guinea Pigs Health :-
- Living Conditions (Wire/Smooth Floored Cage)
- Humid/Dry Environment
- Any unusual symptoms (Hooting, Unusual Sleeping Patterns)
Your vet can then diagnose Pododermatitis by examining your Guinea Pig visually and also by taking blood and fluid samples for a Bacterial Culture. Although Staphylococcus Aureus is the most common bacterial infection this would need to be confirmed so that the Appropriate Antibiotic is prescribed to treat the infection.
If pododermatitis is detected early simply switching your Guinea Pigs living quarters to one with a smooth floor, improving the Sanitation and changing the bedding to a softer material may improve your pets condition.
It is also important to remember to keep the cage flooring dry, since a damp floor will soften the foot tissue making it more prone to cracking and therefore making it more prone to infection. Your vet may also advise to increase your Guinea Pigs Vitamin C consumption if they feel it is lacking.
They will normally perform the following :-
- Clean The Wounds.
- Clip/Remove Hair Around the affected area.
- Trim any Overgrown Nails
- Remove any Dead Skin /Tissue around the area.
If the condition needs medical treatment beyond simple Environmental Changes your Vet should provide this for you and may consist of the following :-
- Antibiotic Solution to bath the affect foot.
- Oral Antibiotic.
- Pain Medication.
- You may also need to keep the infected foot bandaged with fresh dressings changed regularly.
Prolonged, Untreated cases and cases that have been treated but are not responding to the treatment may require amputation of the Infected leg.