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Guinea Pig Health Issues | Common Guinea Pig Health Issues

Guinea pig health issues are an important part of guinea pig maintenance. They are incredible pets to have and while petting, feeding and caring for guinea pigs is good, you need to be aware of the common illnesses they can get.

This will keep your guinea pig happier and healthier for longer.

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Guinea Pig Health Issues: 5 Critical Concerns

1. Ileus

If you see your guinea pig not interested in their food then it’s important you find out why. If you don’t see much stools then it is very worrying. Ileus happens when too much gas builds up in the stomach and intestines. This is discomforting and dangerous and if left untreated can be life-threatening.

2. Ectoparasites

Is your guinea pig losing their hair? Are they constantly scratching and itching? Then they may have mites. This is a very common illness amongst guinea pigs and can be very simply treated, however knowing that lice and eggs are living on your guinea pig and in your home is never pleasant. Contact your local vet for over the counter remedies.

3. Uterine and Ovarian Disease

Spaying female guinea pig is usually encouraged as it will help with overbreeding and overpopulating. However, there may be other more useful reasons to do it including to avoid Uterine and Ovarian Disease. These guinea pig health issues can cause cancer which can spread around the entire body.

4. Respiratory Diseases

Most guinea pigs are very sensitive to open cold drafts of air and can quickly develop infections or pneumonia if left in unsuitable conditions. Ensuring they are living in a well-insulated environment away from windows and doors will help keep them healthier for longer. Remember to wash hands after cuddling other animals as a disease can spread from animal to animal very easy.

5. Uroliths

This infection is linked to bladder stones causes pain and discomfort in guinea pigs of all ages. The simplest way to notice this infection is to look out for blood in the urine. Most trained vets can test for uroliths and other Guinea pig health issues.

6. General Illness Prevention

The best way to prevent your guinea pig from unnecessary trips to the veterinarian is to monitor them more closely and keep their environment as germ-free as possible. Change out litter frequently, replace bedding if there are any signs of mites or fleas and keep your hands clean when handling your guinea pig.

Prevention is always better than cure as veterinarian bills are sometimes very high and can be a difficult cost to manage. Hedgehog care and Guiniea Pig care have both similiar healthcare costs

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How Long Do Guinea Pigs Live

Besides thinking about Guinea pig health issues it's also important to understand how long do guinea pigs live.

Most people think that the average life span of a guinea pig is straight forward. But sometimes it can be difficult to tell. The answer depends on their environment, their exercise, their health and wellbeing, what food they eat and if they are disease-free.

What Is The Average Lifespan Of A Guinea Pig

The average life span of a guinea pig is around 5 – 7 years. The longest recorded guinea pig survived for nearly 15 years. While that doesn’t seem like long to us, imagine living for double your predicted life span! (150 years old)

The great thing is that how every long your guinea Is alive for you can create a safe and secure environment for them to feel comfortable and explore in. Here are some tips on how to keep your guinea pig happier and healthier for longer:

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How Old Is My Guinea Pig

Many pet owners that search for Guinea pig health issues also needs to know how old is my guinea pig.

Whether you’ve just picked up your new snuggle buddy or you’ve had them for a little while and have just forgotten how old they are figuring out how old is my guinea pig can sometimes be a bit tricky.

The problem is that unlike, cats and dogs, and some other rodents Guinea pigs are much shyer and don’t actively show signs of ageing like other animals do.

As they live for around 5 – 7 years then it can sometimes be a little difficult to see the sings of a young cavy or an older one.

Many people ask how old is my guinea pig, and there's not always a clear answer. However, we'll provide 5 practical tips below for you can use to figure out how old your guinea pig actually is.

How Old Is My Guinea Pig: 5 Practical Tips

1. Weight

Newborn Guinea Pigs weigh around 65 to 125 grams and are roughly around 3 to 4 inches long. This will depend on the genetics of their parents and also the size of the litter was born in. For younger Guinea Pigs as long as they are feeding and gaining weight then they will double in size in next to no time.

Although you won't be able to know exactly your Guinea Pigs age you can tell roughly if they are not gaining weight as fast and you see their actual skeletal size, they will be in the ‘teenage’ stage which is anything under 18 months old.

2. Nails

Baby Guinea Pigs have sharp pointy nails but this young nail stage doesn’t last for very long. Older guinea pigs will have straighter nails and this can be a tell-tell sign that your guinea pig is much older than you first anticipated. Older guinea pigs have thicker nails that are a little bit more crooked.

Also, the colouring of nails will be very different for younger and older Guinea Pigs’ Younger Guinea Pigs have whiter nails but as they grow and age they start to turn more yellow. This is a surefire sign that your Guinea Pig is probably closer to 4 or 5 then 2 or 3.

3. Muscle tone

Older Guinea Pigs lose muscle tone. This will mean older Guinea Pigs have saggy necks and bellies and more boner backs. Older Guinea Pigs may also through bouts of weight loss and appetite problems.

Not eating foods and having stool issues doesn’t necessarily mean you have an older Guinea Pig, but when used in conjunction with the other tips it is definitely a factor to show an older Guinea Pig.

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4. Size

Adults are using around 10 – 12 inches in size and weigh around 2 to 3 pounds. This is a broad spectrum but it is a good starting factor. Pop your Guinea Pig on a scale and see what they measure out as. Smaller and more petite Guinea Pig usually show youth. And longer and slightly heavier ones may lead to adulthood.

However in the same way the genetics and environment shape our lives you can very easily have a long, heavy Guinea Pig that’s in adolescents as they have parents who are on the bigger side.

Why Is My Guinea Pig Losing Hair?

Guinea Pigs can lose hair for a variety of reasons. As mentioned above hair loss could be attributed to Ectoparasites. However more common reason is something called barbering.

Barbering in Guinea Pigs are common and causes hair loss. This is when Guinea Pigs chew or tear away at their own hair due to conflicts with other Guinea Pigs, especially male Guinea Pigs. It can sometimes happen to female Guinea Pigs who are under some type of stress.

To figure out why is my guinea pig losing hair? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is it a one-off? Or is it happening all over?
  • Are there any bite marks?
  • Is there any inflammation of the skin (underneath the fur)
  • Have you recently introduced any new Guinea Pigs into the cage?

The best way to understand why is my guinea pig losing hair is by giving your Guinea Pig a thorough examination. Once you do this you can get a better evaluation of the reason for the weight loss.

For example, if you’ve just brought a new Guinea Pig and it’s the first time your Guinea Pig has been introduced then it’s probably a mild case of barbering and it will probably pass.

However, if you have an older Guinea Pig and the hair loss is happening all over their body without any marks or inflammation then it may be due to Ectoparasites.

This is more serious and you will need to see a VET as soon as possible.

Alternatively, your Guinea Pig could have mites and could be biting and scratching themselves as a way to cope. This can cause hair loss aswell

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Guinea Pig Mites

Guinea pig mites are usually very irritating and can cause mild to moderate irritation to your Guinea Pig. The 2 main types of guinea pig mites are static mites and sarcoptic mites

  • Static mites run up and down and in and out of your Guinea Pigs hair and in between the follicles.
  • Sarcoptic mites are different and burrow under the skin causing much more pain and leading to the condition sarcoptic mange.

Whether your Guinea Pig suffers from static mites or sarcoptic mites DO NOT use anti-flea treatment as it contains ingredients that are very poisonous to all guinea pigs.

Both types of guinea pig mites are treatable. A tell-tale sign that your Guinea Pig has Static mites, is seeing the dust on the surface of your Guinea Pigskin or on the hair. This should be difficult to blow away and makes it different from every dust or debris. This is actually the dust or skin from the mites themselves.

Sarcoptic mites are harder to notice but you may see large patches of hair loss and bald patches where your Guinea Pig as attempted to deal with the pain.

How To Get Rid Of Guinea Pig Mites

Both cases of mites need to treated with special shampoo. These shampoos are available to purchase at most vets. It's advisable to go direct to your vet to get the correct mite medication just to ensure you don't make any mistakes.

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Why Is My Guinea Pig Shaking?

Most people who ask why is my guinea pig shaking think the shaking is only due to heat loss. A lot of the time this is actually true.

1. They are just cold

The best temperature for a Guinea Pig is around the 65 degrees Fahrenheit mark. Gunies pigs are warm-blooded so need to keep warm for as long as possible especially in the colder winter nights.

2. He’s happy!

Often times people can get confused between a shivering Guinea Pig and one that is actually happy and content. Guinea Pigs who vibrate are usually very contented with you and the environment that they are in. A Guinea Pig that is happy will vibrate their body as a display of happiness like a cat would purr.

3. Something else?

If you have dealt with the temperature and your Guinea Pig is shaking even when they are not happy then you may need to take them to a vet and get them checked out. Sometimes they could have respiratory issues so it’s best to get hem looked over.

Guinea Pig Death Causes

The Most popular guinea pig death causes are ones that have built up over time. Guinea Pig is very good at hiding health problems and it can sometimes be a little too late by the time you realise there is a serious problem.

Try to give your Guinea Pig regular health checks by the vet and also do weekly checks at home by rubbing your fingers over their skin, checking the colour of eyes and looking for unusual bumps, tears or marks on their skin.

Most popular guinea pig death causes

No matter what Guinea pig health issues your Guinea Pig is going through it's always important to know the most popular guinea pig death causes.

1. Dental

If your Guinea Pig has something wrong with their teeth it will stop them eating and will cause them mild to moderate discomfort. While this is not life-threatening if left untreated it could cause death as your Guinea Pig will not be getting enough food.

A lack of vitamin C also contributes to bad dental health care so it’s important you have topped them up.

Look out for signs of “slobbers’ which are drool from the mouth. These are symptoms of a dental issue

2. Scurvy

This is quite common amongst Guinea Pigs. It happens as Guinea Pigs do not naturally produce vitamin c so they need to ingest it in other ways. If they don’t get enough vitamin c then you will see many problems occur including weakness, loss of appetite, weight loss, lack of energy etc.

Fresh fruit and vegetables are essential for vitamin c intake.

3. Pneumonia

This is the most popular cause of guinea pig death and is caused by a bacterial infection. Symptoms include issues breathing, discharge from the mouth, reddish eyes and depression.

4. Heart attack

This can happen with older Guinea Pigs and its very difficult to figure out the reasons behind it. Many owners say they are surprised as they're Guinea Pig look very active and normal only to find out that they have suffered a fatal stroke in the night

5.Infections / Cancers / Illnesses

Guinea Pigs can pick up infections from a variety of things including bad diet, incorrect medications, bad environment and bad hygiene. All of these contribute to guinea pig death causes.

The most important thing you can do is ensure that you have a safe and secure environment and keep your Guinea Pig topped up with good fresh fruits veg and hay.


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