Content continues after advertisement

Urolithiasis in Guinea Pigs

Bruce H. Williams, DVM, DACVP, Joint Pathology Center, Rockville, Maryland

Small Mammals

|March 2022

Sign in to Print/View PDF

In the literature

Rooney TA, Eshar D, Wong AD, Gardhouse S, Beaufrère H. The association between bloodwork, signalment, and urolithiasis in guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus). J Exotic Pet Med. 2021;38:26-31.


Urolithiasis is a common disease in guinea pigs, representing up to 4.73% of all diagnoses in this species.1 Not much is known about this condition in guinea pigs, but many potential causes have been suggested, although not proven, including a diet heavy in leafy greens or alfalfa, overconditioning, poor sanitation, stationary lifestyle, urine retention, adrenal disease, and dehydration. 

This retrospective study sought to determine whether signalment or blood work analytes were associated with evidence of urolithiasis identified via diagnostic imaging. Of the 81 guinea pigs included, 32 (40%) had evidence of urolithiasis on imaging. The likelihood of urolithiasis increased when packed cell volume decreased, plasma creatinine concentration increased, and plasma phosphorus concentration decreased. Despite this statistical significance, the predictive value for discriminating between guinea pigs with and without urolithiasis was low.


Key pearls to put into practice:


Urolithiasis is common in guinea pigs of both sexes, but females are thought to be more predisposed. In this study, however, affected males outnumbered affected females by almost a 2:1 margin.


Although uroliths in guinea pigs have historically been reported to be composed of calcium oxalate, this study found uroliths to be almost exclusively composed of calcium carbonate.



Decreased packed cell volume and serum phosphorus, along with increased serum creatinine, is suggestive of urolithiasis; imaging is strongly recommended to confirm diagnosis.


For global readers, a calculator to convert laboratory values, dosages, and other measurements to SI units can be found here.

All Clinician's Brief content is reviewed for accuracy at the time of publication. Previously published content may not reflect recent developments in research and practice.

Material from Clinician's Brief may not be reproduced, distributed, or used in whole or in part without prior permission of Educational Concepts, LLC. For questions or inquiries please contact us.


Clinician's Brief:
The Podcast
Listen as host Alyssa Watson, DVM, talks with the authors of your favorite Clinician’s Brief articles. Dig deeper and explore the conversations behind the content here.
Clinician's Brief provides relevant diagnostic and treatment information for small animal practitioners. It has been ranked the #1 most essential publication by small animal veterinarians for 9 years.*

*2007-2017 PERQ and Essential Media Studies

© 2023 Educational Concepts, L.L.C. dba Brief Media ™ All Rights Reserved. Terms & Conditions | DMCA Copyright | Privacy Policy | Acceptable Use Policy