ISSN 2398-2985      

Moist dermatitis

6guinea pig

Synonym(s): Urine scalding


Introduction

  • Cause: abnormal and prolonged contact of skin with urine, including urine-soaked bedding.
  • Signs: most frequently see lesions in the perineum and palmar/plantar surfaces of feet. Skin is hyperemic, excoriated, with serous exudation. There may be localized alopecia. The affected area is painful.
  • Diagnosis: review of husbandry, sanitation. A culture and sensitivity may be run following swabbing or tissue biopsy. Radiography, ultrasonography, urinalysis. If urolithiasis: may do complete blood count and serum biochemistries in preparation for surgery.
  • Treatment: NSAIDs, analgesia. Place guinea pig on soft, dry bedding or fleece fabric toweling. Must be kept dry, with wet bedding removed as soon as possible. Clip soiled fur, gentle cleansing of affected skin. Topical application of an antimicrobial cream. Systemic oral antibiotics may be used in severe cases or where there is a secondary pyoderma.
  • Prognosis: good if primary etiology can be resolved. Poor if unresolved paresis/paralysis preventing the guinea pig from removing itself from urine pooling.
Print off the Owner factsheets on Giving your guinea pig a bath, Giving your guinea pig a health check and Moist dermatitis to give to your clients.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Urine remaining in contact with the skin. This can be due to:
    • The guinea pig being unable to remove itself from the urine (as in paresis/paralysis Paresis/paralysis, any illness that is causing the guinea pig to not walk or be so lethargic that it just stands or lays in the urine or urine-soaked bedding). This includes any painful condition.
    • The guinea pig has stranguria Stranguria, dysuria, hematuria Hematuria due to cystitis Cystitis, urolithiasis Urolithiasis and may be urinating more frequently or cannot produce a urine stream going away from the body: it may 'dribble' from the urethra. The urine itself during lower urinary tract infection may be more acidic and irritating to the skin.
    • The husbandry is poor resulting in wet, urine-soaked bedding that the guinea pig has to stand in. Use of bedding such as pine or cedar shavings that contain aromatic oils coupled with the urine may be very irritating to the skin.
  • The presence of the moist dermatitis is uncomfortable and that itself may make urination, movement painful which compounds the problem.
  • Pododermatitis Pododermatitis may be a sequela to continued contact with urine and/or it can become worse due to its contribution to further not moving from voided urine.

Predisposing factors

General

  • Some guinea pigs are prone to develop urolithiasis. It seems to run in family lines, but direct heritability has not been established.
  • Obesity may contribute to being more sedentary and more likely to stand on wet bedding.

Specific

  • Painful conditions such as arthritis due to vitamin C deficiency Vitamin C deficiency may contribute to sedentary behavior.

Pathophysiology

  • Urine in contact with the skin causes hyperemia and excoriation, which leads to serous exudation.
  • Secondary bacterial infection may occur, leading to pyoderma.
  • As this becomes painful, many guinea pigs become even more reluctant to move and void normally, which may lead to more urine coming in contact with the skin.

Timecourse

  • Usually takes a few days, but is dependant on underlying cause of urine contacting the skin.

Epidemiology

  • Individual problem.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

Other sources of information

  • Antinoff N (2011) Paresis and Paralysis. In: Blackwell's Five-Minute Veterinary Consult: Small Mammal. Ed: Oglesbee B L. Wiley-Blackwell. pp 303-306.
  • Hawkins M G (2011) Urinary Tract Obstruction. In: Blackwell's Five-Minute Veterinary Consult: Small Mammal. Ed: Oglesbee B L. Wiley-Blackwell. pp 336-338.
  • Schnellbacher R (2011) Pododermatitis (Bumblefoot). In: Blackwell's Five-Minute Veterinary Consult: Small Mammal. Ed: Oglesbee B L. Wiley-Blackwell. pp 312-313.
  • Longley L (2009) Rodents: Dermatoses. In: BSAVA Manual of Rodents and Ferrets. Eds: Keeble E & Meredith A. British Small Animal Veterinary Association. pp 107-122.

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