Three Tips For Preventing Bumblefoot In Guinea Pigs

Bumblefoot is a painful condition that can affect guinea pigs if they aren't carefully cared for. If your guinea pigs develop bumblefoot, the pads of their feet will get swollen and develop painful sores. Here are three tips for preventing bumblefoot in your guinea pigs.

Keep their cage clean and dry

Your pigs can get bumblefoot if bacteria like staphylococcus aureus get inside their feet. Since guinea pigs use their entire cage as a toilet and can poop up to 10 times every hour, bacteria are a major concern if the cage is not kept clean.

If you use fleece bedding, it's easy to remove the poop pellets every day with either a handheld vacuum or a small broom and dust pan. Pat the fleece with your hand to make sure it's not wet; if the fleece is wet, it means that it is saturated with urine and needs to be replaced with a clean piece of fleece. If you use paper bedding, simply scoop out the soiled bedding and replace it with new paper.

Trim their nails regularly

Usually, pet guinea pigs need to have their nails trimmed regularly (about once a month). This is because their soft bedding does not wear down their nails adequately. Long nails are a concern because they curl backwards and press against the footpad, and this can cause cuts or sores to form on the pads of the feet and allow bacteria to get inside.

You can cut your guinea pigs nails with guillotine-style clippers that are designed for guinea pigs or with nail clippers that are meant for humans. Since guinea pigs are so small, you may find it easier to use a nail clipper meant for babies. Your guinea pig probably will not enjoy the nail clipping experience, so have a family member hold them still while you cut their nails.

Avoid overfeeding them

Obesity can be a contributing factor to the development of bumblefoot, so try to avoid overfeeding your guinea pigs. When your pigs are obese, more pressure is put on the pads of their feet, and if that makes their feet crack, bacteria can get inside.

Guinea pigs often become overweight because they're given too many pellets. Pellets are great source of vitamin C, but if they're constantly available, you'll see your guinea pig spending all day long with their face in the food bowl. Instead, give them constant access to hay and save the pellets for scheduled mealtimes. You should also supplement with healthy snacks like vegetables and fruits.

To help your guinea pigs avoid developing bumblefoot, remember to keep their cage clean, trim their nails regularly and avoid overfeeding them. Contact a vet, like East Valley Animal Clinic, for more help.