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Question
Today I noticed that my male guinea pig looks like he has an issue going on in this perineal sac area.   I bathed him a few days ago and it looked like he had poop in the area and I cleaned it.   Today it looks like it bled around the sac.   It looks very sore.   He is pooping, peeing,drinking and eating.    I used mineral oil and a Q tip to clean the area.    Any suggestions on what else I should do? Should I but any first aid cream on the area?  He is eating and seems fine.   Should I just clean it and watch for any signs of it getting worse?

Answer
What you are dealing with is a common issue with boars, particularly older ones. There is a space between the testes and right near that space is the rectal opening. As they get older they sometimes lose the muscle tone that helps push the stool out. The result is a buildup of soft stool commonly referred to (incorrectly) as an impaction.

A true clinical impaction is when stool builds up inside the colon due to a blockage of some kind. It causes a serious and can be life threatening backup of stool, to the point that a person cannot eat, has extreme pain and can actually begin to vomit feces because it has backed into the stomach.

What we see in these boars is not an impaction in the clinical sense, but merely a buildup within that sac. During hot weather it gets worse. Not knowing how old you are I'm going to assume you're an adult who understands the anatomy of a male human.

The scrotum holds the testicles which house the sperm and the sperm is extremely sensitive to temperature changes. When a baby boy (or an adult) has a fever the scrotum pulls down away from the body. That's nature's way of protecting the delicate testicles from an elevated temperature that could destroy sperm. When it's very cold the scrotum shrivels up in an effort to bring the testicles closer to the body to sustain the necessary heat.

This applies to all men of all species and ages. During the hot summer months a boar's body heat will also cause the scrotum to hang farther down to get the testicles away from the heat of the body. When that happens the poo gets warmed up and very soft, causing it to get stuck in that little pouch.

You did exactly what you should have done. An eye dropper with a bit of mineral or vegetable oil can be used to try to drop some oil in the sac and get behind the ball of stool. You can usually use some gentle pressure on both sides of the sac to cause the ball of stool to come out.

Another way is to irrigate the sac under some running water. Just hold the pig on his back and put the sac under the running water. That will usually wash it out as well. Once you've dried him off you can put a little more oil into that sac area and that helps them to pass the poo as well. Don't try to go into the rectum. Just keep that sac lubricated and that will help to keep it from happening and make it easier to keep the sac clean.

Don't use a Q-tip to clean out inside the sac. That's very sensitive tissue and does easily damage and bleed a bit. I wouldn't use any antibiotic cream on him. Mineral oil will soothe the area and it will quickly heal.

You'll probably need to keep a close eye on him as this usually requires regular clean.It's not typically a health issue, just a hygiene problem. As long as he's eating and drinking normally he is fine.  

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Pat VanAllen

Expertise

As is sometimes the case, people in urgent need of information have a higher degree of expectation than those of us as experts are able to give. The experts on this site do their best to give the most accurate and responsible answers possible. We ask that you remember that it is not our intention nor place to criticize the professional advice given by your veterinarian, nor is it appropriate for us to comment on the correctness of a diagnosis made by a licensed physician. Our knowledge is experience based. Although many years of breeding and showing cavies gives me a wealth of experience it cannot change the fact that we as experts are not veterinarians and therefore may occasionally have to reject questions that appear to be asking us to criticize advice given by the licensed professional. Having raised and exhibited cavies for many years I have extensive experience in cavy care and husbandry. I currently have an active breeding program for pedigreed show animals but do not encourage backyard breeding for inexperienced owners. Although I don't encourage breeding for fun I'm always happy to answer any questions from an owner who is in sincere need of help. Pet owners wanting to breed should understand that even experienced breeders have litter losses. The mortality rate is high in cavies. The chance for losing both sow and pups is always present, even with experience. Although this is a site for experts to assist owners, there is no expert in any field who has all the answers. The wisest thing a good expert can know is their limitations. Not having an answer does not diminish one's ability or knowledge. It simply shows that we recognize our limitations and operate within them.

Experience

Raised and shown cavies for many years, having aquired my first cavies in the early 1970's as pets. My caviary currently handles 65 + animals in two different breeds and several varieties. Having been in the health care industry as a licensed nurse for 35 years I have hands on experience with care and needs in both humans and cavies. Member of American Rabbit Breeders Association and American Cavy Breeders Association.

Organizations
Awarded Lifetime Membership in of one of the oldest cavy clubs in the United States, on whose Board I served as Sec/Treas for six years and currently serving as President. Also editor/publisher of the club's quarterly newsletter. We are strong supporters of our youth exhibitors, most of whom are 4H members who are working on cavy projects. Through these projects they become good responsible citizens. We deal with all aspects of showing, breeding, caring for and sharing experiences in the fancy. The cavy fancy is not a new one but in some areas is still relatively unknown. Our goal is to inspire interest in high quality, responsible breeding to improve the species, not just the reproduction of guinea pigs. Our job is to educate owners to help them make the right decisions and choices in the care of their cavies.

Education/Credentials
Graduate in nursing. Certified in emergency medicine.

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