Signs to watch for in animals with urinary tract problems are pain on urination, increase in water intake, general unthriftiness and hunched appearance in the case of stones and urine staining.  A guinea pig that is hunched up with fur sticking out at right angles to its body and not moving may have a urinary tract stone blocking the exit from the bladder. This is a clinical emergency and you must get the animal to a vet immediately.

Cystitis

The cause of cystitis is an infection which may be bacterial or due to chlamydia. There is a form of chlamydia which causes conjunctivitis and cystitis in guinea pigs so if both are present then you should mention it to your vet. Doxycycline, according to Guinea Lynx, is well tolerated by guinea pigs and effective against chlamydia. For home use, and as a preventative measure, grapefruit seed extracts, such as Citricidal, can be very helpful in the battle against chlamydia and protozoa as well as fungal, bacterial and viruses.

The symptoms of cystitis can be helped by giving cranberry juice and barley water with honey to drink. According to Peter Gurney in his book Piggy Potions “Barley water can be made by boiling one part pearl barley with 8 parts water for 20-30 minutes. Give the cooled juice to drink and liquidise the remaining barley with favourite vegetables to a thick soup which can be syringe fed.”

If you don’t drink cranberry juice yourselves, there are several human health food sources of cranberry powder in the UK, for example Cranberry with D-Mannose liquid and Lamberts Cranberry with vitamin C powder.

Feed cornsilk, dandelion and celery leaves which are diuretic and good sources of potassium, plus plantain, yarrow, golden rod and cleavers.  Parsley is too strong a urinary stimulant and should not be used. Marshmallow root is soothing for the urinary tract and meadowsweet contains a natural source of salicylic acid (the active ingredient in aspirin) which can help sooth the pain in animals that are not intolerant of aspirin.

Galen’s Garden’s UT Syrup contains Cornsilk, Dandelion Leaf, Marshmallow Root, Plantain and Yarrow to support the urinary tract plus Oats, Borage, Cleavers, Echinacea, Golden Rod and Nettles to support the immune system

Urine Scald

Urine scald occurs through obesity, poor hygiene or as a secondary problem from arthritis, paralysis, bladder sludge, untreated cystitis or other condition. The distinctive smell of urine, discolouration, baldness and red skin make urine scald very obvious. The main condition causing the urine scald must be treated, whether that is with antibiotics in the case of infection or diet if the animal is overweight. Treatment of the urine scald itself is gentle bottom baths in warm water with a little mild soap and then rinsing and drying before applying a nappy rash cream such as zinc oxide, Miconazole or even according to some sources Preparation H.