How to Care for an Elderly Guinea Pig

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Look for signs of dental problems.,
Check for failing eyesight.,
Listen for labored breathing.,
Look for signs of arthritis.,
Inspect their skin for abnormalities.,
Know when to let go.

Common dental problems during the golden years include ingrown teeth, brittle or loose teeth, or crooked teeth. These issues can be helped by visiting a vet to have the teeth properly ground down. You can also help by chopping fruits and veggies into smaller, bite-sized pieces. This does not always remedy dental issues, but it can help.If teeth are ground down improperly it can trap the guinea pig’s tongue and lead to painful complications while eating. Defer all dental questions to your cavy’s vet.
Guinea pig’s teeth grow throughout their entire lifetime so if they fall out, they are likely to grow back. Just monitor their growth to ensure they are growing in properly.

, Guinea pigs naturally have poor eyesight, but as they age, they are more likely to develop cataracts. Vision will slowly deteriorate but guinea pigs will acclimate to the change and still live happily. If you notice changes in vision, immediately take your guinea pig to the vet to determine whether it is a treatable condition or cataracts, which is untreatable and will eventually lead to blindness.Look for milky appearance of the eye, red, sore or swelling eyes, crustiness, or excess tear production.
Check with your vet for conditions such as foreign debris or in-turned eyelashes which can be treated with antibiotics .
There’s no real prevention for eye problems. However, you can learn how to cope with them to make your guinea pig more comfortable and less stressed.

, A guinea pig’s breathing should be quiet and not labored. If you hear a clicking sound or note any changes in breathing patterns, this could be a sign of a respiratory problem.Avoid cold and damp cages, draughts, and unchanged bedding.Respiratory issues deserve an immediate trip to the vet. Veterinarians can prescribe droppers of antibiotics to assist in clearing the infection.

, As your cavy ages, it is likely that he or she will experience inflammation and stiffness in his or her joints. Look for limited mobility, limited range of motion in the hind legs, limping, or hopping. If you see any of these symptoms, immediately contact your veterinarian and consider prescriptions to ease your cavy’s pain or discomfort.Additional symptoms include a soiled bottom due to the cavy’s inability to clean itself, or squealing or squeaking to express discomfort.

, As cavies age, they are more prone to skin conditions such as dry, flaky skin, sores, bald patches and abnormal swelling. Contact your vet if you notice skin abnormalities or notice that your cavy is sensitive to the touch in certain areas. This could be a sign of mites and requires professional medical treatment, as opposed to treatment through products sold at pet shops.Mites burrow under the skin and can cause pain and discomfort to your pet. Not only that, but they can cause dehydration and death due to the numerous amounts of sores they cause., When your guinea pig is no longer able to enjoy life, you need to discuss euthanasia with your vet. While it is a difficult decision, consider whether life for your pet is a joy or a drag.

Try following the “Rule of 5 Good Things”. Make a list of the top 5 things your pet enjoys. His or her quality of life has been greatly impacted when he or she is no longer able to enjoy 3 out of the 5.Keeping a pet hospice journal can help you determine his or her quality of life over a longer span of time. This can also help you to determine how many good days and bad days your pet typically has.

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