The Peter Gurney Pages

The Peter Gurney Guinea Pig Health Guide

Ailment Index

 

Bumblefoot

As far as I know, no person or veterinary authority has ever got the the bottom of this very common problem in guinea pigs. When it was first noticed in laboratory animals the commonly held theory was that it was because the they were housed in cages with wire mesh flooring. In mine and most people's experience there is no correlation between it's prevalencein guinea pigs and the type of housing they live in.

It could be related to fungal infestation. Though we have no scientific or research data to base this claim upon, our experience in treating many guinea pigs with generalised fungal problems certainly points this way. If the patients happen to also have Bumblefoot, in a very high percentage of them the swelling is greatly reduced and in quite a few the feet return to normal after they have been put on a course of Griseofulvin.

WE ARE WELL AWARE THAT THIS DRUG IS A DERIVATIVE OF PENICILLIN, THE NUMBER ONE 'NO NO' DRUG FOR GUINEA PIGS, BUT IT IS SAFE, AND VERY EFFECTIVE FOR USE UPON THESE ANIMALS.

However, we are also aware that this drug has anti-inflammatory properties so this could be the reason it is sometimes effective. But it must be stated that all other anti-inflammatory drugs have failed to treat this condition.

Occasionally a swollen foot could be the result of minor injury which has become infected and a small abscess may have formed. However, Bumble foot in one foot is relatively rare.

All clear for takeoff  -  Chocks away ! If after a course of Griseofulvin there is no improvement, my only advice is to leave well alone. Certainly do not attempt the remove the scabbing on the foot pads, which are characteristic of this condition, once you have established that it is Bumblefoot. Once they have formed, they act as an effective seal to stop the ulceration underneath from becoming infected.

Monitor regularly of course and bath n a saline solution occasionally.

Though this condition looks extremely painful, and in it's early stages it causes some animals to hobble, they seems to settle down and cope with it without any other effect on their health. I once read that it could spread up the leg and cripple the animal but now, in my eleventh year of living with these animals and seeing many cases of Bumblefoot, I am still waiting for the first 'Zimmer frame' case or a fatality that I could positively say resulted from Bumblefoot.

There is one other common foot problem which isn't, providing it is regularly attended to. It is the formation of spurs on the pad of the foot which arch out sideways. At first glance these appear like piece of dirt attached. In fact these are made of the same kind of material as stags antlers. Trim them back close to the pad with a pair of claw cutters to prevent them being broken off at the base and thus leaving an open wound. They can easily get caught in a crevice or tangled in the hay if they are not kept in trim.

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