Guinea Pig Liquid Bloat

Guinea Pig Liquid Bloat

Guinea Pig Liquid Bloat is not a condition which can be ignored, left untreated will lead to a painful and horrible death. To date there is no scientific basis for the cause of liquid bloat, it is however suspected that the bodies normal process which occurs in the stomach and intestines is being blocked by a pre-existing medical condition (Please see Jacks Story below for an example of what is meant by this).

There are Varying reasons that fluid builds up in the Intestines and Caecum of a guinea pig.

Here are a few possible causes for a guinea pig to end up with liquid bloat :-

  • If you have a guinea pig that likes to nibble things and has got hold of some plastic this may be causing a blockage preventing the body to absorb and process nutrients and liquid.
  • If your guinea pig has been poorly and not eating then they could have a blockage causing fluid to build up.
  • If your guinea pig is suffering from a systemic (Internal) fungal infection then they may have an absorption issue.
  • Bacterial Infection of the Gut could cause liquid bloat.

What are the symptoms of Liquid Bloat?

  • Decreased Appetite (leading to Anorexia)
  • Small/Lack of faecal pellets
  • Bloated Appearance (Left and Right side of abdomen is distended)
  • Fluffed Up, Spiky Hair
  • Respiratory Distress
  • Squinting Eyes (This may or may not be present)(Normally a sign of Pain or Discomfort)
  • Decreased Mobility (May be spending a lot of time in Pigloo / Hidy)
  • Sitting or Facing the Corner of the Cage
  • May bunny hop when moving.

What is the Treatment for Liquid Bloat?

There is no Guaranteed Treatment for liquid bloat but your Veterinarian may try a few drug therapy’s in the hope to remove the fluid from your Guinea Pigs System. The most common drugs that are used will be any of the following :-

  • Metoclopramide (Emeprid) – Gut Motility Drug, used to keep the guts moving
  • Cisapride – Intestinal Motility drug to keep the intestines moving and to aid movement of faecal matter.
  • Birp/Bloat Guard to help reduce air pockets in the digestive tract.
  • Lasix/Dimazon Diuretic (Used to remove excessive fluid from the body and excreted through the Bladder (Most Veterinarians believe that if the body is unable to remove excessive fluid naturally then a diuretic will not help)
  • Nystatin (Used to treat Yeast and Fungus in the Mouth, Throat, Gut)
  • Itrafungal (Used to teat Fungal Infection)
  • Metacam Cat/Dog (Pain relief)

In some cases a Veterinarian may choose to draw out the excessive fluid by using a needle in through the abdomen however this can leave your Guinea Pig open to Peritonitis.

Hand Feeding your Guinea Pig

Whether your Guinea Pig is suffering from Liquid Bloat or Gaseous Bloat I would start Hand Feeding your guinea pig immediately as when they are in Pain and feeling under the weather they will normally stop eating. Guinea Pig digestive tracts need constant food moving through there system to prevent air from building up what’s more if they have no food through there digestive tract in as little as a 12 hour period Ketosis sets in which left un treated can lead to death.

 Bloat is a painful medical problem so pain relief is of utmost importance to assist recovery.
 Prognosis of Liquid Bloat is often poor. Prompt Treatment may increase survival

Jacks Story

One morning we got up and fed our team with there usual Vegetable Breakfast. When we returned to the room an hour later to give them there food and hay we noticed Jacks bowl was not completely clear and there was still some Vegetables left behind. Jack was in his igloo hunched up and making quite grunting noises and all his hair was standing on end. We whipped him out of his cage and checked him all over. The last thing we did was to support his whole body and gently shook him in a Vertical Direction. Out hearts sunk when we heard fluid which was not a good thing to here. We rushed him straight to the Vet who confirmed our diagnosis as Jack Suffering from Liquid Bloat. We asked him what his chance were and was told it wasn’t looking to good. The Vet also noticed that Jack had slightly squiggy Faeces so he run it under the microscope and found what he believed to be Yeast Spores in his Faecal sample.

The Vet prescribed the following Medications :-

  • Emeprid 0.6ml Twice Daily
  • Cisapride 0.11ml Twice Daily
  • Nystatin 1ml Twice Daily (used to treat Yeast and Fungus in the Mouth, Throat and Gut)
  • Metacam Dog 0.15ml Once Daily

We asked the Veterinarian for Lasix in the hopes that it would help remove the fluid from his digestive tract to save the risk of Jack having to go in for surgery. The Vet expressed his concern that the if the Gut and Intestines were unable to remove the fluid though the normal bodily processes that Lasix would not help in this case. We said to the Veterinarian that we wanted to give it a try and that we had nothing to loose in trying it. He then prescribed us 0.02ml (1mg) twice daily which we started him on along with his other meds. The Vet told us that he wanted to see Jack 3 days later.

It was a very stressful time for us giving him the medicines and Hand Feeding him 20ml Oxbow Critical care every 2-3 hours to ensure that he did not get Gastric Bloat as an added complication. We did it for three days and returned back to the Vet’s. We went in to see the Vet for his check up and was glad to here from the Vet that the fluid had reduced by 50% and to carry on with the same medicines for the rest of the week. By day 6 Jack was eating on his own and was only receiving the Medications that had been prescribed by the Vet. We took him for a check up on the 7th day and was happy to here from the Vet that there was no sounds present when he checked him over. He told us to continue on with only the Nystatin for another 7 days and that was it.


We believe that the yeast spores had attached themselves to lining of his intestines which were preventing his body from naturally removing fluid and nutrients from his food and water thus leading to liquid bloat. To this day we wonder if we did not use the Lasix even at a lower dose of 1mg twice daily would have meant that the Liquid Bloat would have taken longer to treat. We spoke to the Veterinarian in depth about the fast results as he was shocked at the speed of the recovery, but he could not confirm nor deny that the Lasix helped in any way. We believe to this day that it did have an impact on the recovery time.