Common Guinea Pig Illnesses and How to Handle Them
Guinea pigs are great family pets that are simple to take care of, but they are also susceptible to many common diseases, that can be fatal if untreated. It is important to watch for signs before the illness gets out of hand. Every case is different, so make sure to first and foremost consult your local vet.
Respiratory Problems- The majority of respiratory problems in guinea pigs are caused by small particles of dust for the air they spend their time around getting in their nose, throat, and lungs. Some warning signs include trouble breathing, lack of movement/activity, coughing, wheezing, and sneezing.
Diarrhea- This is often caused by their diet, whether it be mold on food, or something unusual to their diet. To see a list of foods guinea pigs should and should not eat, click here. Mild diarrhea can be treated with a hay and water only diet for 4-5 days, but most cases need a vet trip.
Eye Discharge- In order to help them clean their faces, guinea pigs sometimes excrete a milky white liquid from their eyes. An excess of these excretions can be a warning sign for things such as upper respiratory infections, dehydration, cataracts, and diabetes. If these excretions are happening often, they warrant a trip to the vet.
Lice and Mites- Do not treat these with anti-flea medications. They contain ingredients that are usually poisonous to guinea pigs. If you spot barely visible dots on your guinea pig, and if they are itching often, take them to the vet. They will most likely tell you to keep them isolated from other guinea pigs, and treat them with a special shampoo or spray they will give you.
Urinary Tract Infections- Due to the shortness of their legs, guinea pigs are likely to pick up bacteria from wet beddings and droppings. Some signs of this are blood in urine and squeaking while urinating. These signs need a trip to the vet most of the time.