ISSN 2398-2985      

Gastric ulceration

6guinea pig

Synonym(s): Gastrointestinal ulceration


Introduction

  • Cause: largely unknown, likely much more common than reported. Linked to vitamin C deficiency.
  • Signs: non-specific lethargy, anorexia, ileus, abdominal pain, bruxism, secondary gastric dilation.
  • Diagnosis: often a diagnosis of exclusion based on clinical signs and post-mortem findings. Routine blood work may reveal a non-specific anemia due to a chronic bleed and diagnostic imaging may reveal peritonitis secondary to ulcer rupture.
  • Treatment: mostly supportive in the form of initial stabilization, analgesia, nutritional support, prokinetics, antacids and rehydration.
  • Prognosis: guarded.
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Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Largely unknown.
  • Chronic vitamin C deficiency Vitamin C deficiency may be a contributing factor in those guinea pigs that have been kept on muesli-type diets predisposing to selective feeding and malnutrition.
  • Chronic stress:
    • Keeping guinea pigs outdoor with exposure to predators such as foxes overnight.
    • Keeping rabbits and guinea pigs together often leads to increased stress and bullying of the guinea pig as well as inadequate nutrition.
    • Poor social dynamics within a herd of guinea pigs.

Predisposing factors

General

  • Guinea pigs on a poor diet with low levels of vitamin C Vitamin C.
  • Guinea pigs bred from poor stock.

Specific

  • Poor breeding of dalmatian Dalmatian and roan type Roan guinea pigs leading to offspring affected by the lethal white mutation.

Pathophysiology

  • Gastrointestinal ulceration of the stomach and duodenum has been shown to happen after intraperitoneal and intramuscular administration of histamine. This leads to an increased acid secretion and subsequent ulceration.
  • Chronic vitamin C deficiency Vitamin C deficiency.
  • Glucocorticoid administration may lead to gastric ulceration.

Timecourse

  • Unknown: guinea pigs are a prey species and therefore excellent at hidings signs of pain and illness.
  • Ulceration due to vitamin C deficiency Vitamin C deficiency will take a while to develop in otherwise healthy and non-stressed individuals.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Cho C H & Pfeiffer C J (1981) Gastrointestinal ulceration in the guinea pig in response to dimaprit, histamine, and H1 and H2-blocking agents. Dig Dis Sci 26 (4), 306-311 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Lichtenberger M & Hawkins G M (2009) Rodents: Physical Examination and Emergency Care. In: BSAVA Manual of Rodents and Ferrets. 1st edn. BSAVA, UK. pp 30.

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