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Guinea Pig FAQ, Version 1.2.2
Section - 10. My guinea pig has <...> symptoms. Is this serious?

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     First of all, if there's any doubt about the nature of the
     disease, take your guinea pig to a veterinarian right away!  See
     the previous section for techniques for finding a good guinea pig
     vet.  Sometimes a simple medical procedure can clear up a problem
     that would otherwise be fatal.  That said, here are some common
     symptoms with what illnesses they may indicate.

     Note: This is NOT intended as a replacement for a visit to a
     reputable veterinarian!  The maintainer of this FAQ takes no
     responsibility for any misdiagnoses that might result from
     reading this section.

          Some sneezing is completely normal, just as with humans.
          However, if your guinea pig is sneezing all the time, or is
          sneezing a lot in combination with other symptoms, he or she
          may have a bacterial infection or other illness (see next).

     Sniffling, wheezing, constant sneezing, runny nose:
          Your guinea pig probably has a bacterial infection or other
          illness.  Separate him (or her) from any other guinea pigs
          you might have immediately so they don't catch the disease.
          If it doesn't clear up on its own in a day or two, take him
          to a vet because he may need to be given antibiotics before
          he will get better.  Make sure your vet never prescribes
          Amoxicillin, because it's deadly to guinea pigs and some
          vets don't realize this.  If the vet prescribes any sort of
          antibiotic, you should give the guinea pig a supplement of
          lactobacillus acidophilus (you can find this in health food
          stores) or live culture yoghurt, so that the antibiotic
          doesn't kill the good bacteria in the stomach that enable
          digestion.  Also, make sure he has plenty of water and that
          the room is kept at a constant comfortable temperature,
          neither too warm nor too cold.

     Blood in urine:
          This is a symptom that could indicate any of a number of
          diseases, some of which are extremely serious.  Take him/her
          to a good vet right away!

          If you have recently fed your guinea pig a new type of
          vegetable, or an unusually large quantity of fresh
          vegetables, that may be the cause.  Try not feeding that new
          vegetable (or not feeding so many vegetables) for a day or
          so to see if the problem clears up.  Whether or not his/her
          vegetable consumption has changed, if a day passes and your
          guinea pig still has diarrhea, take him or her to a vet
          right away!  It doesn't take long for a small animal to
          dehydrate and die, so diarrhea is a very serious problem.

          If your guinea pig has been on an antibiotic, the problem
          may be enteritis, which just means that the antibiotic is
          killing off the digestive bacteria in the stomach.  See
          sniffling section above.

          As with sneezing, some scratching is completely normal.
          Guinea pigs spend most of their time grooming themselves.
          However, if the places being scratched are becoming raw or
          sore, or losing their hair, the scratching is probably
          excessive.  Your guinea pig may have some kind of parasite,
          such as mites, or fungus, such as ringworm.  Take him (or
          her) to a good vet, who should be able to run tests and find
          out what is bothering him.

          If your guinea pig is kept on a softwood bedding, like pine
          or cedar, he may also be scratching because he is allergic
          to the bedding.  Try changing to a non-allergenic bedding
          like the ones on Debbie's list (see the bedding section) and
          see if this helps.

     Trouble walking (stiff joints or stumbling):
          This could indicate a vitamin C deficiency.  Give plenty of
          the high vitamin C vegetables listed in the feeding section
          (even if you have to go out to the supermarket and buy them)
          and see a vet right away.  Your guinea pig may need to get a
          C shot.

     Loss of appetite:
          See a veterinarian immediately.  Being small animals, guinea
          pigs usually eat pretty much constantly and metabolize food
          very fast, so if an illness or other condition is preventing
          them from eating they could die overnight.

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Top Document: Guinea Pig FAQ, Version 1.2.2
Previous Document: 9. What are the pros and cons of neutering?
Next Document: 11. Do I need to trim my guinea pig's toenails? How?

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:12 PM