Medical Monday: Impaction
Impaction affects most guinea pigs, usually older boars. The muscles of piggies suffering from impaction have weakened which means they can no longer pass the soft poos in the perineal sack.
Guinea pigs usually eat their own poos as part of their natural dietary process (coprophagic). They usually just eat the smaller, soft poos and actually reach down and retrieve them from their anus, normally as often as 150-200 times a day! These are called caecal faeces, which contain lots of different vitamins, and nutrients that are essential to a piggy’s health.
If you gently pull the folds of the anus apart, you will notice 2 sections. The rectum is a small opening that both caecal and normal fecal poops are expelled from the digestive tract. The perineal sac, which takes up 95% of the area, is where the poops can become trapped.
If impaction isn’t dealt with then the piggy can suffer because he is no longer able to get the vital nutrients from the soft caecal poops and this in turn interferes with the normal digestive process.
Guinea pigs who are impacted will need checking and cleaning regularly, often once or twice a day in a bad case. It is worth checking younger pigs and female pigs as sometime bits of hay, hair and bedding can become trapped in the sac, which can cause problems and be uncomfortable.