Ptyalism in Guinea Pigs | Vetlexicon
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Ptyalism

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Synonym(s): Drooling, Hypersalivation

Introduction

  • Cause: clinical sign which can be seen with heat stress, dental disease, or accompanying tasting something bitter such as a bitter medication.
  • Signs: Wet fur at corners of the mouth and chin (the fur may be stained). Sometimes called 'slobbers'. More acute ptyalism with tasting something bitter may look more like foaming at the mouth. Accompanied with a lot of tongue movements and mastication. May be weight loss and weakness if this is associated with dental diseae.
  • Diagnosis: history, oral/dental examination, radiography, CT.
  • Treatment: depends on cause.
  • Prognosis: poor to good, depending on cause.
Print off the Owner factsheets on Dental disease and Giving your guinea pig a health check to give to your clients.

Presenting signs

  • Wet fur at corners of the mouth and chin; fur may be stained.
  • Sometimes called 'slobbers'.
  • More acute ptyalism with tasting something bitter may look more like foaming at the mouth. Accompanied with a lot of tongue movements and mastication.

Acute presentation

  • See Presenting signs above.
  • If this is due to ingestion of a toxin, there may be other signs including neurologic or digestive.
  • If due to dental disease Dental disease, there may be weight loss and weakness.

Geographic incidence

  • Worldwide.

Age predisposition

  • Any for heat stress.
  • Older guinea pigs usually with dental disease. Any age guinea pig can have dental disease if on a diet without sufficient fiber.
  • Toxin ingestion: usually younger, more inquisitive guinea pig.
  • Bitter novel item: usually younger, more inquisitive guinea pig that has access to non-caged environment.

Public health considerations

  • None unless this was due to ingestion/exposure of a toxin.
    • Household needs to have chemical removed.
    • Any household members: follow guidelines for other species, humans.

Cost considerations

  • Examination.
  • If dental disease, anesthesia for imaging, correction of malocclusion and repeated examinations and corrections as needed. Follow-up medications.
  • If toxin chemical involvement - may need full diagnostic work-up, including bloodwork:
    • Medical treatment.
    • Hospitalization.

Special risks

  • If toxin ingestion - may be irreversible toxic effects.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Noxious stimulation (such as irritation, toxin or oral discomfort) in mouth causing excessive salivation.
  • Heat stress response as body temperature rises.

Predisposing factors

General

  • If heat stress: elevated ambient temperature and humidity.
  • If dental disease Dental disease usually inappropriate diet. May be vitamin C deficiency Vitamin C deficiency.
  • If allowed free-roam of the house/environment, may chew on noxious or toxic substance.

Pathophysiology

  • Hypersalivation may occur with heat stress as excess saliva can be produced to encourage heat loss through deposition on the coat since sweat is not produced.
  • Irritation in the mouth from dental disease or noxious/bitter substance causes hypersalivation.
  • Irritation to the mouth from ingestion of a toxin may be due to direct action of the toxic chemical in the mucosa.

Timecourse

  • For heat stress, toxin, bitter substance: rapid - usually within minutes.
  • For dental disease, may be chronic.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Other sources of information

  • Hawkins M G & Bishop C R (2012) Disease Problems of Guinea Pigs. In: Ferrets, Rabbits, and Rodents Clinical Medicine and Surgery. 3rd edn. Eds: Quesenberry K E & Carpenter J W. Elsevier. pp 295-310.
  • Antinoff N (2011) Heatstroke. In: Blackwell's Five-Minute Veterinary Consult: Small Mammal. Ed: Oglesbee B L. Wiley-Blackwell. pp 265-266.
  • Johnson-Delaney C (2010) Guinea Pigs, Chinchillas, Degus and Duprasi. In: BSAVA Manual of Exotic Pets. 5th edn. Eds: Meredith A & Johnson-Delaney C. British Small Animal Veterinary Association. pp 28-62.