Message Number: YG1298 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-03-15 07:28:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Can guinea pigs get ECE?

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., punchbug@c... wrote:
> I know this is a little off-topic but please bear with me...
> I'm also on the FML and have been for about 2 years. I have 5
> ferrets so the subject line is relevant as you'll see...
> My daughter's guinea pig, Wheat, came down ill a few weeks ago.(He
> apparently contracted *something* from a new cagemate who succumbed
> to illness). Wheat was rushed to the vet. He wasn't really given a
> diagnosis but we were instructed to give him a 10 day prescription
> of Sulphatrim, force feed and hydrate. We've been force feeding
> Wheat vegetable baby foods, and hydrating with low sodium 8-
> juice and apple juice. His feces is somewhat slimy and smells
> The vet is unsure what the problem is... I'm worried about Wheat
> recovering and my ferrets catching whatever this is... They are
> isolated in separate rooms. Dr Williams, what do you think? COULD
> it be ECE or something related? Do you think this is something
> might endanger my ferrets?

Dear Renee:

No, I don't think it could be ECE. While it has not been run in
guinea pigs, we have not seen infection with this agent outside of
the mustelid family. True coronavirus disease is generally restricted
to members of the same or related species. Mustelid to rodent -
wouldn't happen. Plus you presumably have a source of infection -
the new and recently deceased cagemate.

Guinea pigs have their own range of diseases that are specific to
their species and transmissible to them - they are susceptible to
infectious diseases caused by virus and bacteria, and some are quite
contagious. For one with foul-smelling feces, I would probably
consider Clostridium and Salmonella at the top of the list (although
I do not hold myself out as a guinea pig expert by any stretch.)

With kindest regards,

Bruce H. Williams, DVM, DACVP
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