guinea pigs falling ill / sick

Below you will find the main types of guinea pigs illnesses that guinea pigs may develop during their life.

A sick guinea pig is never to be left unchecked. It is important to check your guinea pig often to see if your guinea pig has any symptoms of any illness.

Quick recognistion of guinea pig illnesses will save your guinea pig's life!






Falling Ill

Guinea pigs get sick from time to time, especially if they are overcrowded or kept in unhygienic conditions. Germs and parasites build up in the environment and the result is outbreaks of diarrhoea, pneumonia, colds, weakness and weight loss, sometimes rapidly fatal. Food and bedding contaminated by the urine and droppings of the wild rodents may bring in serious infections such as salmonellosis.

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Veterinary Help

If your guinea pig fall ill, take him immediately to the vet. Your vat will make diagnosis and will give you the treatment for your piggy that can be either by injection or by the prescription of soluble drugs to be added to the water container. The vet won't use penicillin on your guinea pig as it is poisonous for them. Other antibiotics that can be harmful for your guinea pigs are bacitracin, ampicillin, streptomycin, lincomycin and etracycline.

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Tooth troubles

Wild Guinea Pigs don't need any dental care as they exercise their teeth cropping grass and other fibre-containing plants and have a healthy diet. Pet guinea pigs have their life too easy as commercial guinea pigs food need little chewing and many owners give them food that is rich in starch and low in roughage. Also, vitamin/mineral deficiencies or imbalances are not unusual. The result of all of this is the formation of plaque, caries, weakening and overgrowth of the teeth. This can lead to secondary, potentially serious disease.

Dental Problems are common in guinea pigs and if you suspect anything is wrong with your guinea pig's chewing, if there are any odd lumps about the jaws or if the front teeth seem rather long you should consult your vet. If you give your guinea pig dental check-ups where necessary, treatment can ensure a longer life for your guinea pig. Don't try to cut overgrown teeth yourself.

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Overgrown Claws

If you don't fell competent leave this task to a veterinary. I you feel you can do it you have to use animal nail clippers which are much better then hum-type ones. You should be able to see the pink core of the claw through the translucent 'shell'. This is where the blood vessels and nerves run. When you cut you have to leave space from the pink core.

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If you suspect that your guinea pig has fleas you should cure him by means of insecticidal sprays or powders which are suitable for cats. Because the fleas' eggs fall off the guinea pig's body and lie in the bedding and cracks in the hutch floor, sometimes they lie there for many months before hatching. To avoid this clean the cage with special aerosol that destroys flea larvae in the environment and its effect stays there for several months. You can buy this from your vat.

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Guinea pigs have a tendency to develop pseudo tuberculosis, a bacteria disease, which often produces diarrhoea and weight loss with death after two or four weeks. An acute form that leads to blood poisoning and death within one to two days also exists. In such cases you should urgently consult your vet. Diarrhoea in guinea pigs is also sometimes due to diet changes or environmental stress; certain antibiotics can also cause diarrhoea and fatal enteritis in these animals.

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Skin disease

Skin diseases are commonly caused by lice and mites and can be controlled by powders obtained from pet shops. To avoid this you have to dispose all the bedding and disinfect the guinea pig's cage. Stubborn skin diseases may be due to other causes like fungus and needs veterinary help. Sometimes Guinea Pigs chew hair off themselves this is called barbering. If such case happens it is best to change the bedding materials. Baldness is commonly seen in pregnant sows but normally it grows back after they give birth.

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Rough damp and dirty flooring can result in guinea pig's feet becoming inflamed and even ulcerated. It is indicated that you use softer bedding and you'll have to change the flooring. To heal your guinea pig take him to the vat.

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Lumps and bumps

Lumps and bumps you come across in or under the skin are often abscesses or infected lymph nodes. In cases like this veterinary help is required.

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Other illnesses

It is very common that problems during pregnancy and difficult birth end up in death during labour. Avoid to mate your sow when she's older then four months, if it's the first time. These problems are normally caused because of feeding hay of poor quality. Ample of fibre in the form of good quality hay is essential.

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Pregnancy toxaemia

Pregnancy toxaemia develops during the last one to two weeks of pregnancy or the first five day after giving birth. The sow will not eat, will be depressed and may breathe heavily. To avoid this try not to over feed your sow as it's more probable to happen to fat guinea pigs. This disease progresses quickly, is difficult to treat and most of the times ends up in death. It is essential to seek for veterinary help at the first sign of trouble.

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Vitamin C deficiency

Guinea Pigs need a lot of vitamin C regularly. If they don't get enough vitamin C they will lose weight and form, their limb joints become enlarged and painful because of internal haemorrhages, they are weak and lame and sooner or later die. The symptoms occur as early as two weeks after shortage of Vitamin C.

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