Impaction is the build up of faecal material in the anal sack of the guinea pig. When you look at your guinea pig you may notice that there is a big ‘plug like’ area that is full of poop.
This is both painful for the guinea pig and at its worst can kill your guinea pig. Having a large amount of faecal matter in this area makes your guinea pig vunrable to fly strike.
Impaction can form for a number of different reasons.
In rescue situations we see this commonly as it is a directly result of an incorrect diet. In these instances piggies have been left in horrendous conditions whereby they either do not have access to water, or they do not have access to hay. It is very easy to distinguish which of these is the cause by the appearance of the resulting faecal matter.
If the poop is solid, dry and hard mass, you can tell there has been a lack of water in the guinea pigs diet. The impaction debri will reflect this. Alternatively, if the impaction is moist and wet in its formation, then there has not been enough fibre in the guinea pigs diet – of which they need up to 70% fibre. Usually in these cases guinea pigs may not have had hay within their diet. It is wise to also check teeth to ensure they do not have any overgrowth problems also as a result.
The Anal Sack of the guinea pig is a very delicate area and as such contains vital secretions which will coat guinea pig faecal pellets which will be consumed by them at a later time. It is important not to disrupt this environment. In the case of impaction, this has been interupted and the impaction will need to be removed several times until the body slowly re-develops the mechanism for normal excretion.
Watch the following video on help with how to treat impaction and what to do: