It may be sad to think about, but, like humans, guinea pigs can break their tiny legs.
If they break their leg, you have to take them to a guinea pig certified veterinarian. Do not try to treat it by yourself. Your guinea pig will require medication and a shunt.
Common Ways Guinea Pigs Can Break Their Legs
There are several ways that guinea pigs can break their leg. One way is for them to be mishandled and mistreated.
This can either come from the hands of a cruel breeder who doesn’t care about there guinea pigs, or it could also come from a small child who doesn’t understand how strong they are compared to the guinea pig.
Another way they can break their leg is from running away from a predator or a perceived danger. If they are in their cage, guinea pigs quickly fleeing can get their feet stuck in the wires on the walls of their enclosure, wrapped around cords, or could trip on an item on their cage floor.
One other reason a guinea pig could break their leg is that they did not receive the proper nutrition in their early life. Guinea pigs need a lot of calcium when they are runts.
The need for calcium is why many guinea pig guides tell you to feed them Alfalfa instead of hay until they are mature adults. Alfalfa has a lot of calcium, which will help them form their bones into the correct structures and strengthen them.
If a guinea pig did not receive the right amount of calcium in their diets when they were young, this could lead to improper bone formation, weakened bones, weakened teeth, and a bad immune system.
So, your furry little friend is more likely to be injured when doing regular activities. These types of guinea pigs need more care throughout their life and should not be exposed to scary or shocking situations often.
How to Know If Your Guinea Pigs Leg Is Broken
First, you should know that a guinea pig can experience two types of fractures or breaks. One is a simple break. With this break, there is only one area or spot that the leg breaks into two.
This type of brake usually does not rip through the skin and cause bleeding.
The other type of break is called a compound break. This type of break is a more severe break and does break through the skin and cause bleeding. In addition to a bone break, a compound break can also develop a hematoma, which is when the blood swells in a specific area near a wound.
A compound break will also cause the bone to stick out of a guinea pig’s skin, forming an open wound. This can also lead to infection if it goes untreated.
One obvious way to know if a guinea pig has broken their leg is to see blood and bone protruding out of their fur. When you see this, you’ll know that you have to rush your guinea pig to the veterinarian right away.
Another obvious way to know if a guinea pig’s leg is broken is to watch the way they walk. If they break their leg, there will be a noticeable limp to the point where they can barely stand on it, or they won’t be able to use it at all.
If this happens for one day and then the next day they are back to normal, that probably means that they accidentally strained their foot, just like humans do.
But if they continue to walk with a limp for several days and don’t want you touching the leg that is causing them to limp, then that is a surefire sign that your guinea pig has broken their leg.
What to Do If the Leg Is Broken
If your guinea pig’s leg is broken, you should take it to the veterinarian right away. You will have to look for a veterinarian specializing in guinea pigs because it is not a standard animal that vets learn about. You will most likely have to find an exotic veterinarian.
When’s the veterinarian examined your guinea pig; they will probably take X-rays of the leg. Once that is done, they can assess if the leg can be healed correctly.
If it can be healed, it will either be put into a splint or have to perform surgery on the guinea pig to add pins into their broken leg to make sure it sets correctly.
What Not To Do
Please do not ignore your guinea pig when it starts to limp. If the limp lasts for a few days, you have to take it to the vet. If the wound is ignored, it will either heal incorrectly and cause a life lifetime of pain, or not heal at all and cause an infection or damage to the muscle.
Do not try to heal the leg without a veterinarian’s supervision. Only the vet knows how to correctly put a splint on a guinea pig so it bone can set.
Will I Need to Euthanize My Guinea Pig?
No, guinea pigs are not like horses. If they break their leg and are unable to heal, you will not have to euthanize them. However, they cannot continue to have an unhealed broken leg for the rest of their life. Many veterinarians who specialize in guinea pigs will suggest that you permit them to amputate the guinea pig’s leg. This may sound drastic, but an unhealed leg can cause further breaks and fractures down the road, and the bone particles could splinter off into their bloodstream and cause even more damage or even death.
- Malnutrition, defensive running, or being mishandled are all ways that guinea pigs can break their leg
- There are two kinds of breaks – a simple break and a compound break
- If the bone rips through the skin, it will be an open wound and must be treated quickly.
- Limps lasting several days is also a sign of a leg break or fracture.
- To know for sure if the leg is broken, the vet will give the guinea pigs an x-ray.
- If the vet believes a leg cannot be healed, the leg must be amputated.