Life-threatening guinea pig health problems & advice

Like any pet, guinea pigs can have health problems that require urgent veterinary attention. As part of National Pet Month, which promotes responsible pet ownership, the clinical team at Cat & Rabbit Clinic have put together a list of emergency conditions and lifesaving advice for guinea pig owners.

This is not a comprehensive list; it is better to err on the side of caution and phone our Northampton veterinary surgery for advice if you notice anything of concern with your guinea pig. Any non-descript symptoms such as lethargy, depression, and a decrease in appetite should always be acted on.

Call us if you need us on 01604 478888.

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Life-threatening guinea pig health problems


Gut Stasis

Gut stasis in guinea pigs is a very serious, life-threatening condition caused by other stressful or painful conditions. Common factors include a sudden change in diet or a lack of fibre, an obstruction in the gut, dental disease, traumatic injury, dehydration, boredom, or loneliness. The gut comes to a standstill and the normal passage of food through the gut does not occur.


Symptoms of gut statis include not eating, passing less or no droppings, a bloated or painful abdomen and not wanting to move. This list is not exhaustive, so you should phone our veterinary surgery straight away if you have any concerns on 01604 478888. Treatment can include medication to help the gut to move again (unless there is an obstruction in the gut), often pain relief too, alongside fluid therapy and syringe feeding. While this can help to get the gut moving again, any underlying health problems that contributed to the gut stasis will need to be addressed.


Respiratory problems

If you notice your guinea pig has breathing problems, you should phone our Northampton surgery immediately. They might be breathing more quickly or more laboriously than usual, possibly alongside a discharge from their nose, sneezing, a loss of appetite, and lethargy (amongst other symptoms). Our Vets will carry out a clinical examination and may do further diagnostic tests. There are several things that can cause respiratory problems in guinea pigs including pneumonia, which can be fatal, so early diagnosis and treatment are vital.


Trauma

Like any pet, guinea pigs can suffer from injuries due to trauma. The cause of trauma can be unknown, or due to falling, being dropped by accident when handled, fighting with other guinea pigs, or attacks from larger pets. If you witness any trauma occurring, or you see any signs of injury such as wounds or lameness, you will need prompt guinea pig health care from our Vets – contact us.


Birth

If you have a female guinea pig that you know to be pregnant, or think may be pregnant, it is advisable to monitor her carefully throughout the pregnancy - especially when she is close to giving birth. This is particularly true if she is over seven months of age and has not given birth previously; her pubic symphysis will have fused and so the birth canal will be too narrow for a natural birth. Therefore, a C-section will be needed to ensure the safety of your guinea pig and her pups. There are other potential complications with giving birth so it would be prudent to have a conversation with one of our Vets in advance about what to look out for.


As we mentioned earlier, this is not an exhaustive list of guinea pig health problems and like any pet, acute illnesses can occur at any time - poisoning from plants or food is definitely one to watch out for. The best advice that Cat & Rabbit Clinic's clinical team can give guinea pig owners, is to stay vigilant and if you notice anything unusual or concerning, call us.


Call us on 01604 478888.

Life-threatening guinea pig health problems & advice