5 Things Guinea Pig Owners Need To Know About Intestinal Blockages

Guinea pigs are prone to all sorts of health problems and some of them are life-threatening. Intestinal blockages, also called torsions, are caused by twists in your pig's intestines. These twists don't allow food to pass through the digestive system, and this can have serious consequences for your pig. Here are five things you need to know about intestinal blockages.

What are the signs of intestinal blockages?

If your pig has an intestinal blockage, he or she may appear bloated. Bloated pigs have swollen stomachs, and if you lightly tap on your pig's side, you may hear a hollow sound. This hollow sound is caused by a buildup of gases inside your pig's digestive system. You may also notice that your guinea pig isn't producing as many droppings as they usually do, or they may be producing none at all.

Are intestinal blockages serious?

This condition is very serious, so if you think your pig has it, you need to take him or her to an emergency vet right away. The condition is very painful for your pig, and worse, it can be fatal without medical treatment.

How are intestinal blockages diagnosed?

Your vet will need to do some tests to figure out if your pig has an intestinal blockage. The vet will palpate your pig's abdomen to see whether or not this causes them pain. Pain on palpitation is a sign of a blockage in the intestine. To confirm the diagnosis, the vet will take x-rays of your pig's abdomen. A blockage, if one is present, will be visible on the x-ray.

How do vets treat intestinal blockages?

If your pig has an intestinal blockage, surgery will be required to untwist their intestines. This surgery will be done with anesthesia, so don't worry about your pig feeling any pain. After the surgery, you'll need to monitor the incision so it doesn't get infected. You may also need to hand-feed your pig since sick pigs don't always feel like eating.

Can you prevent intestinal blockages?

There are some things that may increase your pig's risk of suffering from an intestinal blockage. Obesity is a risk factor, so if your pig is overweight, avoid feeding them as many sugary treats like carrots and fruits. You also need to make sure that your pig gets regular exercise during floor time. Abrupt changes in your pig's body position can also cause this problem, so when you pick up your pig, be very gentle and don't allow them to squirm.

Intestinal blockages are a very serious problem. If you notice that your pig's abdomen is swollen or they aren't producing as many droppings as they usually do, make sure to take them to an emergency vet right away. 

For more information, contact an animal hospital like Southwest Florida Veterinary Specialists & 24-Hour Emergency Hospital.