There are many different diseases that can affect guinea pigs. 

Some of these diseases are genetic, while others develop over time. If you own one of these adorable animals, it is important that you learn about the diseases that affect them. This information will allow you to better care for your pet overall.

Common Signs of Illness Among Guinea Pigs

First you will need to learn about some of the more common signs that your guinea pig is sick. This will make it easier to decide if a trip to the veterinarian is needed.

  • Diarrhea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lethargic behavior
  • Sudden hair loss
  • Decreased urination
  • Labored breathing

If you notice your guinea pig displaying any signs of illness, you should get them to the vet right away. The sooner you wait to do this, the more serious the problem will become.

Common Guinea Pig Diseases

1. Diarrhea

Guinea pigs sometimes get diarrhea if they eat something that doesn’t agree with them. This can also be an indication of a more serious health problem. Digestive issues are not uncommon at all with these animals.

It is important that you take note of any change with your pig’s droppings. If you notice runny stool, you should stop giving them any fruits or vegetables. These foods are the most common culprits when it comes to diarrhea in guinea pigs.

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2. Respiratory Infections

It is also possible that your guinea pig could develop a respiratory infection at some point. This type of infection can become serious if it not treated quickly. In some cases this is a sign of a potentially serious underlying condition.

If you notice your pig breathing abnormally, sneezing or coughing, they might have a respiratory infection. You may also notice them making a crackling or wheezing sound when they take in air. The best way to avoid these infections is to not keep your pig outside in the colder months.

3. Mites

Mites can have a very negative impact on the overall health of your guinea pig. These parasites can cause a very serious infection with these animals. It is pretty common for guinea pigs to pick up mites when they are kept outdoors.

If your pig has mites, you will most likely notice them scratching at themselves frequently. This can cause the skin to break and lead to a secondary infection. Mites burrow into the skin and feed off their host.

One of the most common signs of a mite infestation in guinea pigs is hair loss. Your pig’s hair will most likely start coming off in large amounts. Fortunately, there are quite a few effective treatments that your veterinarian can prescribe.

guinea pig is sick

4. Urinary Issues

If you have a female guinea pig, you’ll want to be on the lookout for signs of urinary issues, such as cystitis. The most common symptom of these problems is reduced urination; you might even notice that your pig isn’t urinating at all.

Sometimes problems with a guinea pig’s urinary system can cause blood to appear in their urine. These issues can be very serious for your pet, so you’ll want to address them right away. Your veterinarian should be able to come up with a treatment that works well.

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5. Scurvy

It’s actually not uncommon for guinea pigs to get scurvy. These animals do not make their own vitamin C, which is one of the reasons why a balanced diet is so important. Make sure that you provide them with plenty of fruits and vegetables that are loaded with this vitamin.

A vitamin C deficiency can present in many ways with guinea pigs, including disorientation, sudden weight loss, and even diarrhea.

6. Bumblefoot

Bumblefoot is a condition that presents as sores on the soles of a guinea pig’s feet. This condition can be completely debilitating for these animals if it progresses far enough. Also known as pododermatitis, it can lead to severe bacterial infections.

The best way to keep your guinea pig from getting bumblefoot it is to keep it at a healthy weight. These animals are far more likely to develop this condition if they are significantly overweight. This means keeping them on a healthy, balanced diet, and plenty of regular exercise.

7. Tumors

While not all tumors are malignant or cancerous, they should always be taken seriously when initially discovered. If you see a strange lump on your pig, you should get it looked at by your vet right away. The sooner you do this, the more likely your furry friend is to remain healthy for years to come.

Your veterinarian will most likely want to cut the mass of tissue off your pig. Doing a biopsy is not standard practice with these animals like it is for humans. This is the safest course of action to take.

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guinea pig medicines

Ways to Prevent Disease with Your Guinea Pig

There are some basic ways that you can help prevent disease with your guinea pig, including:

  • Keep it on a healthy diet with high quality pellets as well as fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Make sure your pig gets plenty of exercise on a daily basis.
  • Take it into the vet for regular checkups.
  • Closely examine your pig for signs of illness each day.
  • Do not wait to take them to the vet if you notice something is wrong.

Conclusion

  • Some of the most common signs of illness in guinea pigs include diarrhea, sudden hair loss, lethargic behavior, weight loss, and reduced urination.
  • Diarrhea is often a reaction to something your guinea pig ate, but it can be a sign of a bigger problem.
  • Make sure that you take note of any changes in your pig’s stool, as it could indicate a health issue.
  • Respiratory infections are fairly common in guinea pigs, and they can be fatal.
  • If your pig seems to be having problems breathing normally, get them to your vet right away.
  • Mites are parasites that burrow into the skin of an animal, and they can do a lot of damage.
  • Common signs of a mite infestation in guinea pigs include frequent scratching and hair loss.
  • Bumblefoot is a common guinea pig condition that causes sores to form on the soles of their feet. It is important to get it treated quickly so it doesn’t result in a bacterial infection. 
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