Last weekend we were lucky with one of the guinea pigs that was offered at our shelter: he had a huge clogged anal sac, also called impaction. One of those that you really couldn't miss when you take proper care of your animal, that's how huge it was. It was probably not seen with the previous owners (often it is not noticed by owners), but the lump we removed was over 2 cm in size. Should be noticeable if you were sitting comfortably with your animals on your lap, but there is a good chance that that was not the case either. It wasn't the only thing that wasn't quite right about this guinea pig and his friend, because these US Teddy guinea pigs' ears could also use some cleaning and the nails a pedicure. Anyway, back to that impaction.
What is an impaction?
An impaction is caused by weakening of the muscles around the anus area. As a result, the softer night droppings do not come out properly. The result is an accumulation into an often hard lump. It does not directly affect the guinea pig, but if nothing is done, the exit for all faeces can be blocked. You can often see the blockage on the outside of the anus as a dirty lump.
Impaction mainly occurs in older boars (thankfully not all older boars!), but sometimes also in younger animals. It does not occur in sows.
How do you cure this?
The job is very simple, but the stench that is released is super dirty. If you have a bit of skill at it (hey what's your superpower?) then it is done in no time. You hold the guinea pig against you (with the back against your chest) with one hand and support the bottom of the animal with your other hand. Then, from behind, grab the anal sac on the outside, behind the blockage. You can often feel this clearly. Then you push the mass out.
Preferably lubricate some fat such as Vaseline with a piece of paper in the anal sac, so that the next load of faeces does not stick so easily. If the mass is too hard to squeeze out, you can also put on some Vaseline and try again the next day.
Preferably check several times a week whether the boar is bothered by it. These are two examples of what such an animals carries with it:
How do you reduce the risk of an impaction?
You cannot really solve the weakening of the muscles, it often remains a point of attention for the guinea pig. An optimal condition can sometimes help, so make sure your guinea pig is not too fat (although non-overweight guinea pigs sometimes suffer from this too) and make sure he gets enough exercise.
Also make sure that there is enough fat in the anal sac if your bear is already suffering from it, so that everything can come out more easily.
It is also extra important that your guinea pig eats a lot of fiber-rich food. That basically means a lot of hay. You can also stimulate the fiber intake with green herbal mixes, such as the fiber mix or green mix, or with green oats.
If your guinea pig has a new constipation very quickly, it is especially important that he gets enough vitamins, for example with kibbles or fresh vegetables. The night droppings that accumulate and are not eaten contain many vitamins (especially vitamin B) that he is now missing.