We’ve all heard about the dangers of bloat or GDVs to our large canine friends. But did you know this life threatening condition is also a threat to small unsuspecting canines as well as other pets such as guinea pigs?

A beautiful little guinea pig called ‘Dafney’ started to show symptoms of bloat late one Saturday evening. Her owners had experienced this condition previously with other guinea pigs and started her on medications. However, her health continued to deteriorate so they rushed her to Animal Emergency Service Noosa for emergency veterinary help.

Dr Danielle Huston examined Dafney upon presentation and found her to be severely bloated. She requested xrays to adequately diagnose Dafney’s ailment. “The results showed severe gastric bloat but we weren’t able to diagnose if it was caecal bloat,” Dr Huston recalls. “I discussed the severity of the findings with Dafney’s owners and recommended immediate anaesthetising to attempt to pass a stomach tube to relive the pressure in the stomach.”

Despite the high risks associated with the procedure, Dafney’s owners were keen to give it a go so the emergency team commenced the expert procedure in an effort to save the little guinea pig’s life.

“Dafney handled her anaesthetic like a pro and we were able to insert a tube to alleviate the pressure in her stomach. We then took more xrays which showed we had alleviated the gastric bloat but she still had caecal bloat which cannot be treated surgically.”

In gastric bloat, commonly seen in dogs, the twisting can be undone surgically but in guinea pigs medical intervention is required. Caecal bloat, otherwise recognised as large intestinal dilation with gas, needs medication for recovery because it cannot physically be accessed by surgery. As a result the critical care team commenced Dafney on subcutaneous fluids (administered under the skin) and pro kinetic medications to increase her gut mobility. Intensive support was also required by Dr Huston, Dr Ayrial Mammino and the critical care nursing team to monitor Dafney’s improvement as the medications took effect.


By early afternoon, Dafney had recovered from the intensive procedure and started eating on her own. Repeat xrays were performed with the results showing a resolution of all bloat to the joy of not only the AES team, but also this gorgeous guinea pig’s owners.

While the AES emergency and critical care team don’t specialise in small mammals (Guinea Pigs, Mice & Rats), they do spend countless hours keeping up to date on the latest scientific research as well as patient care internationally. This dedication and awareness of up-to-date veterinary treatments helped Dafney survive this horrific ordeal.

Dafney and her family would like to thank the amazing emergency & critical care nurses who assisted Dr Huston & Dr Mammino in this miraculous survival story – Nurse Sherry-Leigh, Nurse Leigh and Nurse Kim. Their dedication to this little guinea pigs recovery and tender cuddles made all the difference in helping her survive another day to share this miraculous story with you.


Written by Solange Newton & Dr Danielle Huston

GDV in Dogs  | Gastroenteritis  | AES Noosaville saves Kelpie’s life  | What to expect upon arrival at AES

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