Guinea Pig Health Care: 5 Most Common Health Issues
Guinea Pig Health and Care: 5 Most Common Issues
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guinea pig health care

Having a fluffly cavie can be a wonderful experience, and it can bring you so much joy., but Guinea Pig health care is the number one concern for new owners.

But even though they are adorable fluffy little creatures, Guinea Pigs are sensitive and can easily get sick. You need to be able to recognize the most common afflictions, and also, you need to act fast.

5 Most Common Afflictions

Dental Disease

This is one of the most common issues in guinea pigs. Mostly, the issue is genetic, and it can be inherited or caused due to a lack of vitamin C, injury, or imbalances of certain minerals in the diet. It’s very important to know that the teeth of guinea pigs don’t remain the same size, they grow continuously throughout the animal’s life. If the teeth or jaws do not make proper contact, it will be difficult for your piggy to chew. Drooling, dropping food or weight loss are a few symptoms that can alarm you need to visit the exotic vet.

Scurvy (Vitamin C Deficit)

Another thing you need to know about your pigs is that they cannot produce their vitamin C, nor can they store them for a long time. If their diet doesn’t contain enough vitamin C, their bodies’ supply of vitamin C disappears quickly. This can cause scurvy. Cavies need a minimum of 10 mg of vitamin C per kilogram of body weight daily, slightly more in the case of pregnancy. Do not feed them multivitamins though, as they can do more harm than good.

Pneumonia

Pneumonia is a very serious condition that can lead to a guinea pig’s death if not attended to.  The disease is usually caused by a bacterial infection (most often Bordetella bronchiseptica, but other bacteria such as Streptococcus pneumoniae or Streptococcus zooepidemicus may also be the cause).

Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria can attack your pig and the worst is he won’t even seem sick. If you have more piggies, you should know it is highly contagious -one guinea pig can infect another by direct contact or by sneezing or coughing.

Another bacteria, Bordetella bronchiseptica is usually localized in the nose or throat.  This infection can be transmitted from one guinea pig to another when droplets are sprayed into the air by sneezing or coughing. If you notice wheezing or coughing, visit the vet immeidtaely.

Ringworm

Ringworm is a fungal skin infection that can cause a lot of issues if left untreated. Be careful, as it is contagious to people and animals directly or through other contaminated objects. The first sign of ringworm is the presence of bald, scaly patches, usually starting on the face (nose, around the eyes, and ears) and head. You will notice a flaky, crusty, or red skin, and the disease may also spread to the back. Affected areas can become inflamed and more severely infected

Alopecia (Hair Loss)

Hair loss can be caused by genetic problems or problems in metabolism (the body’s breakdown of food into energy). It can also be caused by the interaction between more pigs ina herd – .animals housed in groups may chew or tear their own or each other’s hair because of social conflicts or dominance of older animals over younger group members. This type of hair chewing is referred to as barbering and it doesn’t lways happen in herds, lonely piggies can have it too (bored guinea pigs housed alone).

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Lack of appetite

The disease can spread and lead to complications in no time, so keep an eye on your fur baby, and also research on their most common diseases,

Lack of appetite may be the symptom of various diseases, most likely indicating dental issues. However, if you notice other signs, like your piggy becoming lethargic, sitting in a corner, you should see the vet asap. If the piggy does not receive any food, after 16-20 hours, the liver can start deteriorating.

Also, be prepared because you might need to syringe feed your fur baby.To stimulate the piggy’s appetite, and provide your guinea pig health care he needs, you will syringe feed it at least 3-4 times a day. This can literally save your pet’s life. You can also use artificial feeding as a part of the healing process.

This way, your piggy can receive the necessary calories, nutrients, vitamins and minerals that help the weak organism to gain strength, fight and recover faster.

Take note: Artificial feeding alone, without proper treatment, does not guarantee your piggy will heal It is very important that your pet is consulted and treated by the veterinarian.

Advice for the summer

Guinea pigs health care is particular during the summer because they are very sensitive to high temperatures.

They feel most comfortable at 22 to 24 degrees Celsius, but if the temperature is over 30 degrees, then the problem starts to appear.

Along with excessive temperature, increased humidity (over 70%), poor ventilation, overcrowding, direct exposure to sunlight can all be causes of hyperthermia or heat shock. This is an extremely dangerous situation to have, so it must be recognized and action needs to be taken immediately.

Symptoms include: panting, abundant salivation, weakness, the piggy is lying on its stomach, does not move, can be convulsing.

What to do: If your piggy is in the sun, immediately move it in the shade. Cover the piggy in a cloth moistened in cold water. Wet your hands and massage its body with a cloth.As soon as your piggy stabilizes, take it to your veterinarian. During summer, make sure the cage is placed in the shade, in a cool and well-ventilated room.

Cold and fresh water should always be available.

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