Fortunately, I have only had to deal with bumble foot in two of my rescues and both were very minor cases; however, bumble foot can be a very serious medical condition, one in which a visit to a qualified exotic veterinarian is absolutely necessary.
So what exactly is bumble foot?
Well, bumble foot occurs when the foot pad of your guinea pig becomes swollen and infected.You may even notice some scabbing and bleeding on the base of the foot.
The scary part of this is that bumble foot can travel to the bone of the foot/leg, resulting in the your little piggy having to receive an amputation.
Before we get into treatment, why does this happen to guinea pigs to begin with?
Bumble foot can occur for any of the following reasons or combination of reasons:
- Moist/Unsanitary Bedding
- Rough bedding (like wood shavings or a grid floor) that cause cuts and thus bacteria is allow into the foot pad.
- Obesity (click here for what your guinea pig should be eating on a daily basis)
- Lack of exercise
The only way to know exactly if what your piggy has is bumble foot, and for the best treatment plan for your specific pig, is to go to a reputable exotic veterinarian.
If you can not get in right away, an Epsom Salt soak has been known to help with the swelling and is how I have cured bumble foot in the past with my rescues.
*Be careful to not let your pig groom while soaking, if they get the solution in their eyes this can cause an infection*
To soak your piggy’s foot, mix one 1/2 tbs of Epsom Salt per 1/4 cup of warm water. You want the water hot enough to dissolve the Epsom Salt, but you want to allow the water to cool to a temperature that is comfortable for your piggy.
You can test this by putting dropping some of the solution on your wrist, just as you would check the temperature of a baby bottle.
Next, get a small dish (I personally use shot glasses) and soak your piggy’s foot in the solution for 15 minutes (or as long as they will tolerate it) about 3 times a day. After soaking, rinse the foot off and dry completely.
Some other tips:
- Switch your piggy’s bedding to a soft paper or fleece. I prefer fleece bedding because the fleece will wick away any moisture from the top, keeping the fabric dry. I have a beginners guide to fleece bedding here.
- Sweep up pellets several times a day if using fleece, or spot clean if you are using paper bedding. Keeping it swept up will help keep the cage sanitary.
- If obesity is an issue, make sure you are feeding your piggy the right amount of vegetables and pellets a day. They should be having about 1/4 of a cup of pellets and roughly 1-1.5 cups of fresh veggies each day. Also make sure that you are staying away from the colorful and sugary snacks that you can find at pet stores and opt for a timothy hay and veggie based snack.
I hope this post was helpful, if you have any questions comment down bellow or shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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Ashlee + Piggies