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Exotic pets, rodents and birds

Bumblefoot in the Cavy


There are several known articles or good links regarding what is commonly referred to as Bumblefoot in the cavy. Below are some of the better links, articles or sources of info.


"Chronic Pododermatitis in Guinea Pigs, A Case Report"

By J.L. Taylor, J.E. Wagner, D.R. Owens, R.A. Stulman
Laboratory Animal Science, Vol., 21, No. 6, Pages 944-945

Approximately 35 adult breeders, in a colony of about 500 cavies, were observed with sores on the soles of the forefeet, which would periodically appear to heal, then break open and bleed. The sores would never completely disappear. Over an extended period of time, the forefeet would become noticeably enlarged. Cutting into the swollen feet pads would reveal a "hard mass of white, glistening tissue".

Examination of internal organs would find that the "kidney was enlarged up to twice normal size, pale, glistening pink and severely pitted. " The spleens in some of the animals were enlarged and covered with small white splotches. In about half the animals the liver and adrenal glands were also enlarged. Cultures of drainage from the sores identified Staphylococcus aureus as the causative organism. Further tests showed the bacteria to be "coagulase positive". (This means that the organism produces an enzyme, which causes coagulation of blood plasma. Pathogenic Staphylococcus aureus are characterized by this trait.). The authors determined that the infection was caused by irritation of the soles of the feet by dirty, woven wire floors in the cages. "Alleviation of the problem would probably occur if the wire floors were removed and the animals allowed to be in direct contact with wood shavings," (From my own experience, this problem may be caused by dirty wood chips). The primary important thing to note from this case is that something, which appeared minor, was only the surface manifestation of an infection of major significance.

This condition will need to be treated with a systemic antibiotic, not just topically, as witnessed by the necropsy which showed pitted, enlarged kidneys, and enlarged, spotty spleens. Severe cases are extremely difficult to cure. Catching it early dramatically increases the odds of a successful cure.


Here are some great links to stories, personal experiences, photos, and treatments of bumblefoot. It not only occurs in cavies, but in chickens, rabbits, raptors, mice and rats. Lots of good info!

RMG: Ulcerative Pododermatitis - Bumblefoot and Squeaky - a link to one person's experience with Bumblefoot in her rat.

Bumblefoot in Rats - some great info.

What is Bumblefoot? - From Rat Lovers Association, some more info on bumblefoot in rats.

Peter Gurney - Bumblefoot - Peter Gurney Guinea pig pages with a lot of info on ailments of cavies

Comfy Cavies Bumblefoot page - a website most cavy lovers already know about including photos of an inflicted piggy.

Cleaning Raptor Feet and Bumblefoot - a link to the treatment recommended by the Wildlife Medical Clinic.


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