How to Treat Bumblefoot / Pododermatitis in Guinea Pigs
Julius arrived after being rescued by a family after being given away for free on Craigslist. The family that took him in had no idea that he was a very sick guinea pig until they got home and were able to have a closer look at him. They agreed to surrender him to us so we could treat his foot.
Since Bumblefoot is a fairly common ailment with different conflicting treatment options, we wanted to share how we treated Julius successfully in the hopes to help other piggies suffering from the same.
Bumblefoot occurs usually in older guinea pigs living in too small cages. Small cages are bad for a number of reasons, but when it comes to bumblefoot, they contribute by not providing space enough to go for a stroll, and blood flow to the area becomes restricted. Soiled bedding stacks up in the small space and the bacteria in the feces combined with acidic content in urine find a weak spot into the paw. The other main contributor is the bedding. I have seen guinea pigs that lived on just newspaper develop bumblefoot. Wire cages are the worst and pretty much a guarantee that the guinea pig will become unhealthy.
Please help us care for the piggies
that find their way to us!
Manuka Honey, Betadine, Antibiotics, Daily Soaks and Bandage Changes
- Oral antibiotics 2 daily for or three weeks depending on how fast the healing is going. We recommend Enrofloxacin (Baytril) or Sulfamethoxazole (Bacrtrim). It may be super helpful to get your vet to do a culture to make sure you are prescribed the correct antibiotic for the particular bacteria you are dealing with.
- Pain medication. We absolutely love Mary's Gel Pen CBB that we sell here and can be used as main painkiller and/or alongside Meloxicam (Metacam) that a vet can prescribe.
- Soak in a 25% Betadine and 75% warm water mix for 10 minutes. You want to do this 2x daily for the 1st week, once daily for the 2nd week, and every other day or the 3rd week if still needed.
- Let the paw dry before bandaging.
- Put a nice dollop of medical grade Manuka honey and silver sulfadiazine cream or Neosporin on small piece of non-stick pad.
- Then gently wrap the paw with gauze or cotton padding and use some vetwrap to keep it in place (careful not to wrap too tight, in fact around the actual paw the bandaging should not be tight or restricting and there should be plenty of space .
- Change bandage every after soak.
- Vitamin C 1 x daily. Liquid vitamin c without added sugar. "A Childs Life" is a good one to get. Give a 1 mL syringe by mouth. No vitamin C in the water bottle, because the Vitamin C disintegrates once in the light and may make the water taste funny.
There is no guarantee that the great result we had with Julius will be the same for all guinea pigs. This is a very stubborn affliction that usually becomes a lifelong issue. Paws will often remain swollen and not ever go back to normal, so even after treatment you must be vigilant to prevent recurrence. Make sure to switch bedding to nice soft footing, there are special cage liners for sale. Just a fleece blanket without absorbent padding is not enough.