Wondering if your guinea pig is healthy? Use the guide below to perform an examination of your guinea pig as often as possible, ideally each day. It doesn’t take long once you get into the routine of what to look for, and after all it’s important to always be in sync with your new pet.
Over time you’ll get better and better at noticing any irregularities in their behavioral and eating patterns, so don’t worry if you aren’t the best at the outset. The faster you notice issues with your guinea pig, the sooner you can take him or her to the vet and have its health restored by a professional.
Guinea Pig Hair
It’s common for animals when they’re affected by pests like fleas and mites to scratch at, bite and even remove hair from the areas most strongly affected. Redness and baldness result in what is sometimes referred to as “hot spots”.
Guinea pigs are prone to mite infestations which make them irritable to the touch and cause them to focus on itching, scratching and biting. However, dryness also poses a problem because itching can become so bad that lesions and scabs form.
Guinea Pig Skin
Your guinea pig’s skin should be free of abnormalities; these include odd swelling, scratches, dryness, sores and flakiness. Guinea pigs commonly are affected by parasitic skin problems and fungal infestations. They originated from South America which has a dry, warm climate.
If you live in a cold and wet climate fungal infestations can easily result and it’s important to ensure they are not misdiagnosed for a more serious parasitic skin infection.
Guinea Pig Eyes
Make sure the eyes of your guinea pig are free of discharge, and are completely open and are bright. Issues guinea pigs suffer in regards to their eyes include injuries, conjunctivitis, diabetes and cataracts. Common injuries include blades of hay either poking or becoming lodged in the eye.
Conjunctivitis results from blocked tear ducts, or bacteria or a foreign body coming in contact and causing an allergic reaction of the eye.
Cataracts has no known cause, but luckily most guinea pigs simply deal with it and are able to do so because blindness does not usually result until old age; sometimes diabetes and old age itself causes cataracts.
That said, diabetes does occur in guinea pigs as well but is treatable, so it’s important to look out for the common symptoms like sudden cataracts, frequent UTIs and wetness on the backside from irregular urination.
Guinea Pig Ears
The ears of your guinea pig should be smooth and free of wax; do not try to remove wax yourself. If hair loss is present take your guinea pig to the vet to see if it has mange mites or a fungal infection. Treatments for these ailments are relatively simple.
Guinea Pig Feet
Make sure to keep the nails of your guinea pig trimmed. A good rule of thumb is roughly twice a month. Inspect the remainder of each foot closely to check for issues like bumble foot, which is characterized by a swollen red bump. The cause is not known but guinea pigs seem to, like cataracts, simply deal with the problem after the initial stage of pain.
Guinea Pig Weight
Just as you do with yourself, it’s important to watch the weight of your guinea pig to ensure it’s not becoming too large or too slender. Males usually weigh more than females and the general weight for an adult guinea pig is between two and three pounds. Refusal to eat or drink, along with zero passage of urine or feces, could mean anorexia; visit a vet immediately if you notice these symptoms.
Guinea Pig Nose
Ensure the nostrils of your guinea pig do not exhibit watery liquid or discharge, or crustiness. The latter can be a sign of respiratory illness in guinea pig. Discharge, as well as sneezing and wheezing can indicate sinusitis which is common in guinea pigs, usually as a result of improper bedding. Improper can mean something more obvious like sawdust, or hay which is old and produces significant particulate matter to cause irritation.
Guinea Pig Feces and Urine
There’s a lot of predictability to the appearance of guinea pig fecal matter. If your pig isn’t producing firm jelly bean-shaped pieces of fecal matter, the usual remedy is to decrease the feeding of green vegetables. If fecal matter is liquid or emits a foul odor, it’s best to visit the vet to prevent dehydration.
Also take into account that guinea pigs eat the first pass of their feces from their perineal sac, usually at night; if it becomes impacted you must remove it quickly or your guinea pig can easily die due to lack of nutrients.
Guinea Pig Food and Water
How your guinea pig reacts to food and water are easy tell-tale signs of how they are feeling. Not eating well can mean teeth problems or anorexia, and not drinking enough water or drinking too much can indicate other problems like diabetes.
Guinea pigs nutrition require a well-rounded diet of whole foods, namely hay, pellets and vegetables, with the occasional fruit treat!
Guinea Pig Breathing
Any abnormalities in breathing will be obvious and should be checked out by a vet. However, the hiccups are not a real problem though they look very serious. Your guinea pig develops hiccups to clear a blocked airway, and they may rock violently and look as if they are going to vomit. Don’t worry, it ends after a handful of heaves and the guinea pig is fine.
Guinea Pig Behavior
Guinea pigs without a mate or proper attention can become lonely and bored. A good rule of thumb to ensure they are not depressed is to offer an enticing treat. As you know guinea pigs love to eat, so if they aren’t they need to see a vet.
As guinea pigs are not able to speak, it is often tough to find out what is wrong with them in the event they may become unwell.
Often problems with guinea pigs typically resolve themselves in a few hours, but when a vet is required, time is critical, regardless of whether it is 11pm on a Sunday evening, or some other time.
Looking after a guinea pig can be something that will help keep your lovely pet health and happy. The guinea pig cage should be cleaned out every couple of days. They need to get fresh hay at all times, pellets, and a daily serving of fresh fruit and vegetables.
They also must be handled frequently. The long haired varieties must be combed daily.
For kids and adults alike, guinea pigs can be quite a great addition to a family. They’re incredibly affectionate, and they are good for many people, as they do not need to be taken for a walk several times per day.
Should you be thinking of buying a guinea pig, it is definitely important that they are always in pairs, this is for the reason that they are quite a sociable species. It also ensures that they don`t feel boredom when they are left alone.