Antibiotic Associated Enterotoxemia in Guinea Pigs Page 2

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  • Beneficial bacterial supplements, or probiotics, can be given both orally as a suspension or rectally as an enema to promote an optimum environment for the growth of normal gastrointestinal flora. There is some controversy as to whether this is helpful, but it does not cause any harm so is usually used.
  • With severe enteritis, the intestinal bacterial flora can be replaced by feeding your sick guinea pig the normal stool of a healthy guinea pig, which is called transfaunation. It is not certain how much of the bacteria survive and make it to the intestinal tract since many are killed by the acid in the stomach. However, if any survive it will help recolonize and reestablish a normal population, as may using probiotics.
  • Cholestyramine is a drug administered which helps bind enterotoxins and may help in severe cases of antibiotic associated enterotoxemia.
  • Nutritional support is also critical. When stable enough, sick guinea pigs should be offered a variety of fresh foods to entice them to eat. If they refuse, then assisted or syringe feedings should be performed. Vegetable baby foods can be used or guinea pig pellet gruels can be made. There is a commercial herbivore critical care formula available for use as well.

    Home Care

    Once your guinea pig is out of the hospital and back at home, it is important to maintain the treatment protocol regimented by your veterinarian.

    Good hygiene is very important. Your guinea pig will be predisposed to severe skin infections while they are having diarrhea or loose stools and it important to keep their rear ends clean.

    Keeping them on a basic or bland diet (only fresh hay and small amounts of pellets with no treats) will help stabilize their gastrointestinal flora while it is reestablishing itself.

    Preventive Care

    Make sure you are seeing a veterinarian who is familiar with guinea pigs and will administer the "safer" antibiotics when they are required.

    Probiotics can be given orally at the same time as the antibiotic regiment. Live culture yogurt works well and many guinea pigs will eat it like a treat. There are also commercial lactobacillus supplements that could be used.

    While on antibiotics, avoid any sudden changes in your guinea pig's diet. Any changes can disrupt their normal gastrointestinal flora.

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