The Big Guinea Pig Health Check

Experienced guinea pig keepers often recognize at first glance if something is wrong with one of their pigs. For beginners, on the other hand, it’s not that easy. Even in a healthy state, the animals behave mostly calmly and are – at least for the untrained eye – very difficult to identify as sick.

Is Guinea Pig Really Healthy? In any case, you should check all your pigs daily for signs of illness. This article makes the daily guinea pig health check easier. But be careful: illnesses can make themselves felt through various symptoms. If the behavior of your guinea pig seems unusual to you, please consult a veterinarian in case of doubt – even if the pig looks outwardly healthy.

Checklist: This Is How You Recognize a Healthy Guinea Pig

Weight: As soon as the guinea pig is fully grown, its weight should always be within the same range. Fluctuations of ten grams are not a cause for alarm. In the case of continuous increase or decrease, however, the veterinarian should be consulted

Teeth: Guinea pig teeth should be grown evenly and not crooked, otherwise the tooth abrasion does not work and the animals get into problems. Also, watch out for changes in the cheek area: Inflamed teeth can result in a jaw abscess. In the case of swellings, the following applies: Go to the vet!

Nose: The guinea pig’s nose should always be dry and clean.

Coat: A healthy guinea pig has a smooth and shiny coat. Small adhesions or matting can be removed with a damp cloth or small scissors (never cut close to the skin!). Dull, brittle, or flaky fur, on the other hand, is a clear sign of the pig’s discomfort.

Ears: The eavesdroppers should definitely be clean. Redness, swelling, or dirty ears are a reason to visit the vet – there you can also be shown how to clean guinea pig ears.

Eyes: The eyes are clear, do not water, and are free from incrustations. If a piglet squeezes one eye permanently or if the eye is reddened, you should watch it closely and go to the vet if symptoms persist (1 to 3 days).

You Should Pay Attention to This During the Daily Guinea Pig Health Check

Take each guinea pig out of the enclosure every day and check its health. Pay attention to the eyes, ears, nose, and teeth. The coat can also be checked on this occasion. Palpation of the pig is also important: this way you will notice tumors or abscesses as early as possible. External sexual characteristics and the anus should also be checked.

Typical Signs of Disease in Guinea Pigs

  • Screams and wailing sounds of the animals
  • Gasping for air (immediately to the vet, if necessary also emergency service! Risk of suffocation!)
  • Blood in the urine, increasing urination
    Refusal to feed
  • Visible injury or inflammation
  • Hair loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Tears or sticky eyes
  • Constant flatulence

It’s Time to Visit the Vet: So You are Well Prepared

A good vet will ask you questions about the condition of your guinea pig, the conditions in which it is kept, and its medical history. Anyone who answers these questions in advance is well prepared for a visit to the vet.

Important Questions for the Vet and the Guinea Pig Health Check:

  • Where does the guinea pig come from (pet shop, breeder, animal welfare)?
  • How long has it been living with you? What is his medical history?
  • How old, big, and heavy is the animal?
  • Has it increased or decreased noticeably lately?
  • What are you feeding? Has there been a change in a feed recently?
  • How is the enclosure designed and how often is it cleaned?
  • How long has the guinea pig been sick / since when has it been behaving strangely?
  • What is his position in the group (e.g. high, low, is it avoided or marginalized by others)?
  • Have the living conditions recently changed (e.g. new animals in the group, death of a partner animal, changes in the enclosure, relocation)?

If you check your guinea pigs regularly and keep an eye on changes, nothing stands in the way of a long guinea pig life. In the event of illness, every minute often counts – so check daily whether all animals are awake and appear to be fed.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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