Have you noticed a very concerning scab on your guinea pig’s feet? Do you notice any swelling or signs of pain and fear it might be bumblefoot in guinea pigs?
If you have noticed any of the above symptoms, your guinea pig is most likely bumblefoot. It is a common condition that can occur due to many reasons. Hopefully, you can treat it with antibiotics and proper care and make a better environment.
So, how do you prevent bumblefoot in guinea pigs? And what is the cause? Lastly, how should you treat this disease? We answer all this and more in our ultimate bumblefoot guide.
What Is Bumblefoot in Guinea Pigs?
Bumblefoot is a disease of the feet in the cavies. It’s a bacterial infection that sometimes appears as an abscess and becomes very painful. Bumblefoot usually affects the guinea pig’s foot pads but can also spread to the heels.
Bumblefoot is a severe condition that can eventually be fatal if left untreated. Unlike most animals, cavies don’t have pads on their feet. As a result, their feet are more sensitive and prone to injury. If your guinea pig does have an open wound and gets infected by certain bacteria, it will develop bumblefoot.
How To Prevent and Treat Bumblefoot in Guinea Pigs
Do you think your guinea pig has bumblefoot, or do you fear it will get it sometime in its life? Then there are a few ways to prevent bumblefoot
- Clean your piggy regularly, preferably with a pet-safe disinfectant. Do this at least every week and a deeper clean every month.
- Remove any wet bedding. Ensure that your guinea pig is not living near its waste. Remove wet bedding regularly, or get your piggy potty-trained.
- Ensure that your guinea pig is always walking on a smooth surface. Do not put them in a cage with bars or nets.
To treat bumblefoot in guinea pigs, follow these steps
- Before doing anything, always make it a priority to go to your vet. They will be able to tell you all about the condition and what steps you can take to cure bumblefoot.
- You can soak the infected foot at home in a solution of Epsom salts and warm water. But be careful your piggy can easily get the water in its eye, which can be damaging. You need to do this at least twice or thrice every day.
- Use an ointment to manage the swelling. But always consult your vet first.
Causes of Bumblefoot in Cavies
So, what causes bumblefoot, and how can you prevent it? Here are a few possible reasons why your guinea pig has developed bumblefoot
Your baby’s feet are very sensitive. Hence, when you place them on hard flooring, the feet will likely start bleeding and get infected. This problem can be resolved by ensuring that your cavy always places its feet on a soft surface. Remove cages with bars or meshes. Always have a solid surface underneath your cavy’s feet.
Another common cause of bumblefoot in cavies is improper bedding. The best way to solve this is to get your guinea pig litter-trained. But that will take some time. In the meantime, you should replace bedding regularly.
Obesity can also cause bumblefoot in many cavies. Your guinea pig must drag its feet on the floor when it is too heavy. The footpads have to bear a lot of stress. Monitor your guinea pig’s diet and ensure it doesn’t grow obese.
Overgrown nails can also cause bumblefoot in cavies. Keep the nails trimmed. Always get a professional to do it.
Home Remedy to Cure Bumblefoot in Guinea Pigs
If you want a household remedy for bumblefoot in guinea pigs, try this method. It’s always recommended to consult with your vet beforehand.
Things you’ll need
- Manuka Honey
- Bandage Changes
- Daily Soaks
- Start by administering oral antibiotics twice a day for up to 3 weeks. Always consult with a vet to determine the right antibiotics. Your vet may also prescribe a different dosage.
- You can start administering painkillers to your guinea pig during that time. Again, get a vet to prescribe you some useful painkillers. If the vet recommends them, follow their recommendation.
- You may soak the wound in a solution of 75% warm water and 25% Betadine. However, you should consult with a vet beforehand as not every guinea pig can handle Betadine. It may not be effective either. Soak the wound for up to 10 minutes twice a day during the 1st week. Then, change it to once a day during the 2nd week. Then alternate days for the 3rd week if the problem persists.
- Once the paw has been soaked, let it dry completely, and then proceed to bandage.
- Apply some medical-grade Manuka honey and silver sulfadiazine cream onto a non-stick pad.
- Then, wrap up the paw in cotton padding or gauze and keep the whole thing in place via a vet wrap. Don’t tie it too tightly, or you could do more damage and restrict movement.
- Replace the bandage after every soak.
- Also, monitor your piggy’s diet. It will need a lot of Vitamin C. So, administer it frequently. Consult with your vet on the right diet and dosage.
Can My Guinea Pig Die from Bumblefoot?
Yes, your guinea pig can die from bumblefoot if it is left untreated. But the good news is that if you seek treatment at the right time, you can most likely avoid this. Cavies that a vet is treating will most likely recover from the disease. However, keep in mind that the infection is quite stubborn and may take some time to get rid of completely
Is Bumblefoot Fatal in Guinea Pigs?
Unfortunately, bumblefoot can be fatal if it is left untreated. Being the responsible piggy parent you are, you should seek medical attention immediately. Don’t just chalk it up to nothing. It’s a very serious condition that won’t go on its own.
How Do You Get Rid of Bumblefoot Without Surgery?
Hopefully, you will be able to get rid of bumblefoot without the need for surgery if you follow your vet’s directions. Antibiotics, painkillers, and good habits will hopefully treat the infection. In severe cases, you may need surgery.
Is Bumblefoot Painful for Guinea Pigs?
Bumblefoot is painful for guinea pigs right from the start of the infection. Unfortunately, guinea pigs are very good at hiding their pain. So, you should always look for signs like lethargy, loss of appetite, and shallow, rapid breathing.
Is Bumblefoot Common in Guinea Pigs?
Yes, it’s quite common. Guinea pigs don’t have pads under their feet. So they will always be prone to injuries on their feet. Hence, it’s important to take note of the surfaces they crawl on and introduce softer bedding.
Does Bumblefoot Go Away on Its Own?
No, there is no guarantee. It’s best to consult a vet and get treatment started right away. Remember that bumblefoot is a highly dangerous disease that can be fatal if you don’t act immediately.
How Long Does Bumblefoot Take to Heal?
Depending on the severity, it can stay wrapped for up to 10 days. Give at least a week for results to show. If nothing works, talk to your vet for alternate solutions.
Bumblefoot is a very serious condition that can often prove to be life-threatening. Hopefully, if you have read this guide and are ready to call a vet, you can avoid that.
To summarise, bumblefoot is an abscess-like infection that affects the feet and heels of the guinea pig. It is very painful and can be treated at home and in the clinic.
The best way to treat the condition is to administer antibiotics prescribed by your vet along with painkillers. But first, you must notify the signs of pain in your piggy, including lethargy and a physical scab on their feet.