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Uroliths (Sand, Stones, Calculi) and Urolithiasis in Guinea Pigs

By: Dr. Bran Ritchie

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Uroliths, or stones, are accumulations of crystallized minerals that form in the urinary tract. Urolithiasis is the disease that occurs because of the formation of uroliths in the urinary tract.

Uroliths can be found in the kidneys, ureter (the tube that leads from the kidney to the bladder), bladder or urethra (opening from the bladder to the exterior of the body). Uroliths form when conditions in the urinary tract cause the minerals in the urine to solidify and form concretions of sand, stones or calculi.

What to Watch For

  • Straining to urinate
  • Blood in the urine
  • Urine dribbling
  • Malodorous urine
  • Wet fur around the rear end and back legs
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Painful abdomen
  • Hunched stance with the back arched
  • Excessive grooming of the area around the rear
  • Depression
  • Loss or appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Unsuccessful attempts to urinate

    If these changes are noted, seek veterinary care immediately. Many guinea pigs with uroliths may appear normal.

    Diagnosis

  • History, particularly of the diet, and physical examination
  • Complete blood count
  • Blood chemistries
  • Urinalysis
  • Cytology (microscopic evaluation of urine)
  • Culture of urine and antimicrobial sensitivity testing
  • Radiographs (X-rays)
  • Ultrasound

    Treatment

  • Placement of a catheter through the urethra
  • Surgical removal of the uroliths
  • Systemic antibiotics
  • Fluids and supportive nutrition

    Home Care and Prevention

    On a daily basis, monitor fecal and urine output to assure proper food and water consumption and digestion. Monitor weight daily.

    If surgery was performed, monitor and/or treat incision line as directed by your veterinarian.

    Make sure your guinea pig always has a plentiful supply of clean fresh water. Feed fresh pelleted foods specifically designed for guinea pigs

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