An unexplained episode and more x-rays


Belka managed to give everyone quite a scare last night. The following is a chronological breakdown of events that cumulated in an emergency vet visit, x-rays, and one very disgruntled guinea pig.

1 AM: Spotted three small patches of urine with blood around/in the newly changed cage. An inspection of the occupants revealed the culprit to be Belka, who had a small amount of blood visible in the Y crevasse of her genital opening.

As observed ~ 1 AM
1:50 AM: Observed Belka peeing. The expelled urine was a bright red color with a tiny dark red splotch that wouldn't pass through the fleece bedding as liquids typically do. The texture was vaguely gritty with no accompanying mucus or pus. She showed no outwards sign of pain or discomfort, she did not squeak or appear uncomfortable while peeing and proceeded to eat cecals (her own poop) afterwards.

Picture taken immediately after urination
6 AM: Sat Belka in a sterile environment and syringe fed her over 30 cc of water in an effort to get her to produce urine for a sample. Of course, she refused to cooperate and insisted on holding it in while preparations were made to bring her in for an emergency vet visit.

7 AM: Belka finally peed during the drive to the vet. Confusingly enough, the urine was clear with not even a hint of pink - nevertheless a sample was taken and bottled.

@VET: Belka's weight recorded as 1260 grams, which is fairly normal for her if not even a little higher than usual. Our vet did not find anything wrong after a physical exam and palpation so he put her in line for an x-ray.
The urinalysis results came back normal, which eliminated the possibility of an UTI. Meanwhile, Belka wheeked and shrieked for the ASPCA almost every time she was held down for the x-ray scan. After taking a look, our vet said the x-rays themselves did not show anything amiss - he did not see stones or sludge in the bladder or along the ureters - and commented that she looked healthy and robust otherwise. He discussed a few possibilities (pyometra was ruled out as she had not excreted any accompanying pus) but ultimately felt it was fine to send her home.

Guinea pig Belka's x-rays

Guinea pig Belka's x-rays

Unfortunately, this wasn't the first time for Belka. The same thing occurred, but only once before in March with similarly inconclusive results. The tinted urine came and went within the same 6-9 hour time span. By the time Belka got to the vet the next morning, her urine was free of coloring and a urinalysis came up normal.

Guinea Lynx records relating to the urinary system provided several informative accounts regarding stones, UTIs and interstitial cystitis. However, none quite matched Belka's symptoms.

Afterwards, Belka returned to her cage and promptly took refuge in a hard-to-reach pigloo to sleep. She is currently bouncing around her cage as if nothing has happened. End result? We aren't sure. As long as the rare episodes don't become chronic or cause pain, and Belka remains active, energetic and hungry there doesn't seem to be much else to do but keep an eye on her.


  1. Poor Belka. Please give her our love.
    All the best. Billy and Badger.

  2. I hate mystery diseases. You feel foolish that the vet doesn't find anything, aggravated that the pig is worrying you and helpless that you can't help the pig. I'm sorry you and Belka are going through this.

    How did you get the xrays you posted? Very cool.

    I hope Belka stops doing this and continues to be healthy.

  3. Oh no, poor Belka and piggy slaves.

    This may be a stupid suggestion but, what had Belka been eating? Could she have eaten anything to colour her urine?

  4. My pig Jaina has the same thing - after we first adopted her, we were at the vet about every 6 weeks for the first several months until finally the vet said to just keep track of the cycles and unless she was in pain, we didn't need to bring her back. For one day of every 6 weeks, she has pink urine for about half a day, then it goes away, no pain or anything. The vet said perhaps inter-something-cystits, like inflammation and irritation of the bladder. It's very odd, but I am glad I am not the only one, and certainly happy that Belka is ok!

  5. Thanks for the well wishes Billy and Badger, will do.

    Sally, that is a perfect summary of my feelings. Couldn't have said it better myself. As for the xrays, we simply asked the radiologist if they could email us a copy. The vet we frequent is at an animal hospital with state of the art equipment and facilities (they have an impressive lab, compounding pharmacy, ER, etc, and can do everything on-site) so it wasn't much of a stretch to ask for the scans. The pigs are very lucky to have such an experienced pig savvy vet nearby.

    Mopsy, I also thought about that but I keep them on a strict low calcium diet (since three have bladder sludge anyways) so I didn't think it was likely. Wishful thinking, I can only hope!

    Lora, thanks for sharing about Jaina. Her symptoms sound very similar, interesting since I also theorized cystitis was a strong possibility. How awful for both our pigs though, but it does makes me feel better to know that Belka isn't alone. Hope both our girls will continue to be unbothered by it. Give poor Jaina an extra hug from me!

  6. Thanks for the post of the xrays. very cool to see what a healthy animal should look like.