Common guinea pig health problems

Guinea pigs have a number of unique health concerns that owners should be vigilant about. Prevention is the best medicine so here are some of the things you should look out for to ensure your guinea pig stays happy and healthy throughout their life.

Monitoring your guinea pigs’ health

You should regularly check your guinea pig to ensure he/she is eating well, urinating, defecating normal droppings and walking around easily. Also check your guinea pig has a healthy coat, clear bright eyes, a nose free of any discharges, normal length nails (that are not too long) and normal healthy footpads.

Signs your guinea pig isn’t well 

Guinea pigs are good at hiding illness and pain. Get to know your guinea pigs’ behaviour; if they are behaving abnormally this may be a sign that something is wrong. If your guinea pig is displaying any of these signs please contact your veterinarian promptly. Signs to look out for that may indicate pain or illness in guinea pigs include: 

  • Reduced appetite or difficulty eating
  • Weight loss
  • Drooling
  • Drinking more water than usual
  • A change in the frequency and/or consistency of faecal pellets (e.g. diarrhoea or the absence of faecal pellets)
  • Faeces accumulating around the guinea pig’s bottom
  • Changes in urination (for example, a change in the frequency, pain or difficulty urinating)
  • Changes in behaviour (such as weakness lethargy, or aggression in normally non-aggressive animals)
  • Squealing or flinching when touched (if this is not normal for that individual, some are quite reactive to being handled)
  • Abnormal breathing (e.g. rapid, shallow, raspy)
  • Discharge from the nose and eyes and/or sneezing
  • Bulging or sunken eyes
  • Hair loss or change in hair coat
  • Seizures
  • Lameness or swelling of joints

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