Check its eating patterns.,
Identify activity changes.,
Do not wait to seek help.,
Weigh your guinea pig at least weekly.,
Watch for hair loss and skin irritation.,
Check for tumors.,
Keep an eye out for infections.,
Watch for malocclusion.,
Be wary of pneumonia.,
Don’t ignore the droppings.
It is not far from the truth to say that healthy guinea pigs eat constantly, so any changes in eating patterns or frequency should always be cause for concern. Sometimes, not eating or eating less than usual may be the only observable sign of a serious condition.Guinea pigs cannot go more than a few hours without eating before causing potential damage. If your pet has not eaten at all (or very little) in the past 16-20 hours, seek immediate veterinary attention.
Make sure your guinea pig is also drinking water as normal.;
, If your guinea pig is normally active and friendly, but has begun acting agitated, anxious, or afraid, assume that there is a medical problem involved. You know your pet’s personality and normal activities better than anyone, so use your judgment in determining things out of the ordinary, then involve the vet as warranted.While the list could be endless, and will be particular to your guinea pig, common signs of trouble can include: avoiding favorite foods; hiding all the time; lethargy; a change in posture or walking style; or any other change from established behavior patterns.
, With some pets, a wait-and-see approach is sensible when it comes to deciding whether to seek medical assistance. Because guinea pigs can go from seemingly healthy to critically ill in a matter of hours, however, it is essential to quickly identify and act upon any possible signs of sickness or injury. The potential embarrassment of taking a healthy guinea pig to the vet’s office is nothing compared to the pain you will feel if you wait too long to seek treatment for an illness that could have easily been addressed.
Guinea pigs, for instance, are more susceptible to having adverse reactions to certain antibiotics than many other pets. This means that you need to seek out an exotic pets veterinarian with ample experience with guinea pigs, and that you need to keep a close eye on your pet’s behavior even after antibiotic treatment has begun., Your vigilance in watching for potential signs of illness needs to be matched by your vigilance in ensuring healthy conditions for your guinea pig. This combination of prevention and close observation offers your best bet for enjoying years of health and happiness with your pet.
Provide your guinea pig with an appropriate, consistent diet (mainly hay and leafy vegetables — see How to Care for Guinea Pigs for details) and ample fresh water. Keep its bedding and enclosure clean, and offer it a low-stress living environment and regular exercise.Guinea pigs often do better in pairs or groups than alone, but always quarantine a new arrival for two to three weeks before introducing it to the group., Because healthy guinea pigs eat so consistently, they also tend to keep a fairly consistent weight. Unexplained, rapid weight gain or (especially) loss is always a cause for concern.A weight fluctuation of one ounce (up or down) in a week is not cause for concern on its own.
A weekly fluctuation of two ounces should raise your alert to any other signs of illness.
A gain or drop of three ounces in a week is a “red alert” — contact your veterinarian.
If the fluctuation is four ounces or more, seek immediate veterinary attention.
, Healthy guinea pigs should not normally have bald patches or skin that appears raw, cracked, or inflamed. Examine your pet daily for changes in hair coverage or skin condition.Infestation by mites or lice is unfortunately not uncommon for guinea pigs. Watch for signs of hair loss and itching, as well as skin inflammation, especially near your pet’s rear end.
Ringworm (a skin infection) also often affects guinea pigs. Watch for bald patches that often appear first on or near the head, and which reveal red, flaky skin.
Any evidence of unusual hair loss or skin irritation / inflammation warrants a call to the vet.
, The older your guinea pig gets, the more likely it is to develop tumors. Often these are benign in nature, but they can also be a sign of cancer or another serious illness. Regularly look and feel (gently) for any new bumps or protrusions, and contact the vet if you find any.Between one-sixth and one-third of all guinea pigs over age five will develop some sort of tumor. Benign tumors can often be removed or ignored, while little can be done for most cancers.
, Changes in the condition or appearance of a guinea pig’s eyes are often an indication of infection. Conjunctivitis (pink eye), for instance, which is a bacterial eye infection, tends to cause redness and inflammation on the eyelid and surrounding the eye, and can cause oozing or dripping of fluid from the eye.While ear infections are less common than eye infections in guinea pigs, check the ears for pus or other discharge. Also, if your guinea pig appears to be going deaf, is constantly scratching its ears, is walking with a tilt or imbalance, or is walking in circles or rolling, you may be dealing with an ear infection.
, Guinea pig teeth grow constantly, and are meant to be kept worn down to the proper length by the roughage they eat. Due to heredity, improper diet, or another cause, some guinea pigs will end up with teeth that are too long and/or misaligned, which is known as malocclusion. Malocclusion in turn can make eating difficult or even impossible, leading to a host of problems, or cause bleeding and possibly infections.If your guinea pig starts eating less than normal, starts drooling far more than usual (sometimes called “the slobbers”), or is bleeding from the mouth, have it checked for malocclusion. Most cases can be treated by filing or cutting down the teeth.
, Pneumonia is the most common cause of death in pet guinea pigs, and is usually caused by a bacterial infection. Treatment can be a challenge due to guinea pigs’ intolerance for certain antibiotics, but early detection is the best way to increase the likelihood of recovery.Watch for unusual oozing or discharge from the nose; sneezing; difficulty breathing or wheezing; fever; weight loss; loss of appetite; change in attitude (depression); inflamed, crusty, or dull and sunken eyes; or lethargy. Generally speaking, pneumonia should be ruled out any time your guinea pig displays common signs of illness.
, Your guinea pig’s waste can tell you a good deal about its overall health. A lack of frequent urine or stool production is an immediate cause for concern, as is evidence of blood in either. Alternatively, excessive urination or diarrhea also often indicate a problem and should be addressed without delay.While cleaning your guinea pig’s living space, familiarize yourself with the typical output and appearance of its waste. Healthy guinea pigs are well-oiled machines when it comes to eating food and producing waste, so take deviations from the norm at either end as evidence of a possible illness.