If It's Sick...


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Sickness - the Symptons

Even a guinea pig under good care can catch an illness - especially older guinea pigs. Basically, a guinea pig that is five years old is the same as a sixty-year-old man, and a seven-year-old guinea pig is an eighty-year-old man.

The most relyable symptons are thinness and lack of appetite and energy. A sick guinea pig would lie down in the corner looking miserable, wouldn't eat and wouldn't communicate with the other guinea pigs. It would also show no interest for anything that is going on around it. Try to take the animal to the vet as soon as these symptons show.

If the vet visit is in a couple of days, you need to keep the guinea pig in the best condition possible. If it doesn't eat, feed it with baby food out of a hypordemic needle (without the needle of course!) every two or three hours, keep it warm. The baby food should not contain sugar or salt.


Possible Causes of Illnesses


If the guinea pig is thin, although you notice it trying to eat something every now and then, chances are something is wrong with its mouth. This can be an endless list: it can have a sore throat, it can have tooth problems, it can have a problem with its tongue. The most common problem are teeth that have grown to long and need to be cut by a vet. In this case the guinea pig is not able to eat and spits a lot of saliva out.

If your guinea pig has hurt itself, you must disinfect the wound with peroxide or iodine, better with special powder bought at the pet store for such purposes.

Whatever you do, you must feed the guinea pig baby food against its will. Place the tip of the needle-less hypordemic needle in its mouth, past the razor teeth, into the throat. You must make about eight sessions during which you feed it about three full hypordemic needles. In one of the sessions you must include powdered vitamin C.


Preventing Illness


- The cage should be kept in a warm, dry place with lots of light, but out of direct sunlight or draught. It is best for the cage to be on a table rather than on the floor.

- The cage should not contain sharp objects.

- The cage's filling should not be entirely of newspaper, since ink is often poisonous for the guinea pigs.

- All fruit and vegetables must be washed carefully and dried before being fed; there must always be hay in the cage, but feeding hay must be separated from the bedding hay.

- During the cold half of the year (end of autumn, winter, beginning of spring) it is best for the guinea pigs to have a house in the cage. If not available, it can be replaced with lots of straw.

- The guinea pigs' diet must not contain any poisonous or harmful plants. You can find a list of them on the Feeding page.

- All adult guinea pigs (especially those older than four years) must be fed vitamins. Liquid vitamins are added to the drinking water. It must be changed at least once a day even if it's not finished, to avoid nasty chemical reactions. The most needed vitamin for guinea pigs is the vitamin C.


Copyright(c) 2003 Ekaterina Romanova. All Rights Reserved.