Posted: January 27, 2011, 5 a.m. EST
Q: Three days ago our cat got ahold of our baby guinea pig. It was born just over two weeks ago. The cat had the guinea pig in its mouth and made it downstairs before I was able to grab the cat. The cat dropped the guinea pig, and it ran under the couch. After about five minutes we were able to capture the guinea pig and return it to the pen. I looked it over and did not see any blood or puncture wounds. She seemed OK that evening and the next day, but by that night she seemed sluggish. The second day after the incident the guinea pig was a little worse. This morning she was not eating or drinking and didn't move. She even tipped over on her side when I tried to pick her up. Her eyes are crusted and almost shut. She won't move but an inch or so. I tried to give her water from a dropper but she refuses it. Her butt was packed with feces and her butt hole seems jammed with feces. I tried to pull out some of it, but she squealed and seemed very uncomfortable. I currently have her in a separate cage from the others because they seem oblivious that she is ill. Is there any home remedy that I can try? She seems constipated. I am currently laid off from teaching and have no extra money to bring my daughter’s guinea pig to the vet. Is there is anything I can do at home for it?
A: Unfortunately, there may be nothing at home you can do to help your guinea pig if the injuries are very severe. The sluggishness, inability to defecate properly, and the refusal to drink are all likely secondary to a systemic illness caused by the cat-induced injury.
At home, you can try to keep the guinea pig warm, try to encourage her to eat and drink, and keep her away from any stress.
Cat bites can be dangerous because a cat’s teeth are so sharp that they can easily penetrate the body wall and cause severe injury to the organs in the abdomen. Even if no organs are damaged, bacteria from the cat’s mouth enter the abdomen and start colonizing the cat’s belly. The only way to treat this is with antibiotics.
A more likely and more severe problem is that the teeth not only carry bacteria into the abdomen but the teeth also can lacerate organs, including the intestines, liver and urinary system. There may be no outside signs of this disastrous injury, but inside the abdomen, urine or feces may be spilling into the belly causing severe pain and infection. There is little that a veterinarian can do once an injury like this occurs.
If your guinea pig is not responding to care at home, only a veterinarian can determine what is going on with your guinea pig.
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