Domestic guinea pigs suffer morbidity and mortality due to a range of bacterial infections amongst other causes. Microorganisms such as Bordetella bronchiseptica and Streptococcus pneumoniae are commonly implicated in respiratory disease; however, there is a lack of research surrounding the prevalence of these bacterial infections. The aim of this study was to investigate the frequency with which owners reported bacterial infections in pet guinea pigs and to assess owner knowledge of correct husbandry practices to inform prevention of the development of bacterial infections. An online questionnaire, consisting of 30 questions was promoted to guinea pig owners. Of all respondents (n = 524), 39.39% reported that their guinea pig(s) had been clinically diagnosed with a bacterial infection, with upper respiratory tract infections the most commonly reported (46.95%), followed by urinary tract (15.49%) and then gastrointestinal infections (11.73%). Owners demonstrated knowledge of correct husbandry practices and there was no significant effect (p = 0.475) of owner knowledge on having owned a guinea pig with a bacterial infection. Bacterial infections may be more common in guinea pigs than was previously thought. Further research is required to understand why bacterial infections are common in pet guinea pigs and to help owners to prevent and recognize these infections.
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