The world of guinea pigs is not ours and it can be difficult to identify when they have a health problem. To help you spot when your little one is sick, here is a list of 9 sure-fire signs.
Sign # 1: The guinea pig has a runny nose or eyes
The guinea pig’s anatomy particularly predisposes it to the development of respiratory diseases: its nasal cavities are narrow and its upper respiratory passages are short. The guinea pig not knowing how to breathe through its mouth, a cold can quickly become problematic. In addition, with him, the Reissessen muscle ensuring the shortening and the contraction of the bronchi during the expiration is very developed, which favors the problems of bronchoconstriction.
If your guinea pig has a runny nose and eyes, sneezes regularly, and coughs, there are a number of hypotheses that may explain his condition. It could be conjunctivitis, an asthma attack, an allergy or inflammation of the lining of the nasal cavities. It is urgent to take your animal to the veterinarian who will be the only one capable of making the correct diagnosis and prescribing the necessary treatment. The condition of the guinea pig can indeed quickly degenerate into pneumonia which identifies with noisy breathing.
Sign # 2: The guinea pig breathes fast
Because of their thick fur and inability to sweat (they do not have sweat glands), the guinea pig is very sensitive to temperatures above 25 ° C. It is essential not to expose it to the summer sun.
If your guinea pig is lying down and is breathing very quickly, there is a high probability that it is a heatstroke. In this case, the priority is to cool it without creating thermal shock. You should wrap its body (but not the head) in a cool, damp towel, give it water, and place it in a quiet, cool place. You can also soak its paws, as long as the water is not ice-cold. Then watch it closely. If his condition does not improve quickly, a visit to the veterinarian is essential.
Sign # 3: the guinea pig has lost weight
Weight loss is not the most obvious sign to identify because of the thickness of the hair which can distort the visual assessment of the animal’s body. The weight of a guinea pig changes slightly during the year, this is normal. But if it is a significant weight loss, consultation with the veterinarian is necessary.
Your pet can be dehydrated. To check it, gently pinch its skin. If the animal is, the fold does not quickly snap back into place once the skin is released.
Sign n ° 4: the guinea pig drools
A guinea pig who is drooling probably has a stomatitis. This is usually accompanied by difficulty swallowing or stopping feeding.
Stomatitis can be caused by fungi or bacteria, but also by eating the wrong food (poisonous houseplant or chemical) or dental problems. Whatever the cause, you must consult a veterinarian without delay.
Sign # 5: Guinea pig feces don’t look normal
Diarrhea can be mild or severe. Diet changes easily lead to these kinds of symptoms, so it’s not uncommon for a newly adopted guinea pig to have diarrhea.
If the feces contain blood, we must be alert because it is never benign. It can be enteritis, inflammation of the intestine.
Your guinea pig may also stop producing droppings. Constipation that lasts longer than 24 hours can have dramatic consequences. It is advisable to give it 1 ml of paraffin oil and feed it with vegetables rich in laxative water such as lettuce. Without a rapid improvement in his condition, take him to the vet.
Sign n ° 6: Hardness on the body of the guinea pig
A daily check-up of her guinea pigs is a good habit to take as it nurtures relationships with your animals.
Regular palpation of their bodies will allow you to quickly identify the possible presence of bladder stones, calcium deposits in the bladder. They can prevent your guinea pigs from urinating because they are in pain. In just 24 hours, death can occur. These stones can trigger urinary bleeding that will only be seen in the litter box.
In other areas of the body, you may feel bumps. We must then suspect cysts or tumors. If the severity is not the same in both cases, consult a veterinarian to tell the difference.
Sign # 7: The guinea pig has a hard, swollen belly
If the guinea pig’s belly is very swollen on the sides and very hard to the touch, it must be suffering from tympanism (gas production). It is quite common in this animal, without being taken lightly. The presence of gas pockets in the abdomen, caused by an imbalance in the intestinal flora, can cause the death of the guinea pig. In general, the small rodent remains prostrate and feeds less, if not at all. In an acute attack, the rodent goes into spasms and may regurgitate saliva. Without action on your part, it will quickly lose weight and get weaker.
Sign # 8: The guinea pig scratches itself very often
Your pet may be infested with parasites.
Lice are common insects that can live in the hair of guinea pigs looking to get rid of them. Shampooing with an anti-lice product will be effective, as long as you treat all your guinea pigs if you have more than one. The cage must also be thoroughly cleaned.
Guinea pigs can also suffer from mange, a particularly serious infection. This parasite enters under the skin of the animal, causing pain in the animal which will scratch and bite, probably to the point of removing tufts of hair. The most commonly affected areas are the genitals and legs. Only a special shampoo can overcome the infestation. Must also deworm the animal orally.
Another parasite causes pseudo-mange, recognizable by the small deposits of skin that contrast with the hairs of the guinea pig. The treatment consists of the application of an anti-moth spray.
Sign # 9: Changes in Your Guinea Pig’s Behavior
A guinea pig who:
- remain prostrate, in a ball,
- keep your eyes half-closed,
- is listless (he does not move),
- or no longer eats (anorexia),
is a sick guinea pig.
You need to inspect it to possibly fix the problem on your own, or see a vet.
Young guinea pigs that have stopped growing or adults with swollen and hard joints, to the point that the animal jumps from the hindquarters like a rabbit (because it is not able to desynchronize use of its paws), or even shows signs of paralysis, is a guinea pig that suffers from a lack of vitamin C. These signs are those of the scurvy. Remember that you need to give him this vitamin because his body cannot secrete it.
A word of advice: check your guinea pigs regularly!
In captivity, guinea pigs are fragile animals. The signs shown here are the main ones and our list is not exhaustive. In addition, apart from scurvy, deficiencies are difficult to spot and you will ultimately only see growth retardation, a shorter lifespan or a high susceptibility to infections. Whatever happens, if you do your best, you won’t have anything to be ashamed of.