Exotis ISSN 2398-2985

Guinea Pigs

Gastrointestinal stasis

Synonym(s): Gastointestinal hypomotility, Ileus

Contributor(s): Cathy Johnson-Delaney, Anna Meredith

Introduction

  • Cause: any disease process (either primary or a sequela) that affects the function of the gastrointestinal tract. This includes any cause of anorexia or dysbacteriosis. In the guinea pig, that can be anything that affects overall health.
  • Signs: anorexia, decreased or lack of fecal production, swelling of abdomen, bruxism, pain on abdominal palpation, decreased gastrointestinal sounds, respiratory or cardiovascular compromise.
  • Diagnosis: history and clinical signs, radiographic evidence of gas/fluid accumulation within the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Treatment: goal is to stimulate and restore GI tract motility. Fluid therapy and pain management initially. Assisted nutrition, decompression if gastric tympany, surgery if gastric dilatation/volvulus (not common), motility enhancement drugs.
  • Prognosis: always guarded until the GI tract is moving again, underlying triggering problems resolved.
Print off the Owner Factsheet on Gastrointestinal stasis to give to your clients.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

Any disease condition that is connected with pain and/or anorexia can initiate gastrointestinal motility problems.
  • Inadequate dietary fiber may directly contribute.
  • Physical/emotional stress.
  • Lack of exercise.
  • Excessive handling of GI tract during surgery (such as an ovariohysterectomy).
  • Dehydration.
  • Toxemia (pregnancy Pregnancy toxemia, Clostridium, etc).
  • Other etiologies causing intestinal obstruction although infrequently reported:
    • Gastric or intestinal torsion or volvulus Gastric dilatation and volvulus.
    • Intestinal intussusception.
    • Ingested foreign bodies.
    • Intestinal neoplasia/granuloma.

Predisposing factors

General

  • Existing disease conditions.

Specific

  • Inadequate dietary fiber.

Pathophysiology

  • With pain or anorexia there may be decreased GI motility which contributes to:
    • Dehydration of GI contents which causes a type of obstruction.
    • Gastrointestinal stasis.

Timecourse

  • May be rapid depending on underlying cause, although in the author's experience it generally develops over the course of a few days.

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

Other sources of information

  • Hawkins M G & Bishop C R (2012) Disease Problems of Guinea Pigs. In: Ferrets, Rabbits, and Rodents Clinical Medicine and Surgery. 3rd edn. Eds: Quesenberry K E & Carpenter J W. Elsevier. pp 295-310.
  • Ward M L (2009) Rodents: Digestive System Disorders. In: BSAVA Manual of Rodents and Ferrets. Eds: Keeble E & Meredith A. British Small Animal Veterinary Association. pp 123-141.


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