As many people are aware, guinea pigs are animals of prey and, as such, will hide illness quite well. Once the signs of a problem are visible to us, it has advanced to a stage where immediate, if not urgent, veterinarian help is necessary.
Recently we’ve heard of, and have been asked questions about, many different situations involving guinea pigs’ health. Things such as sounds of loud and frequent teeth grinding, crying out while trying to urinate, blood in the urine, partial loss of appetite, total loss of appetite, and several others. All of these situations require urgent medical help.
What sounds like the grinding of teeth may be congestion in the nasal cavity (also known as an upper respiratory infection). If not treated quickly, the condition can advance to pneumonia (often fatal). Or, the pig may be grinding its teeth as a result of a rear molar problem. Either way, immediate medical care is needed.
A guinea pig crying as it is peeing may be an indication of a bladder infection or, worse, bladder stones. Guinea pigs also can become “blocked” if there is a small stone in the bladder and it becomes dislodged; this is extremely painful for the guinea pig and dangerous. In both cases, immediate medical care is necessary.
Not eating at all, or only eating very small amounts, is also a sign of a potentially serious problem. Waiting to see if the pig will start to eat again is not the best approach. Again, immediate veterinarian care is required.
Because guinea pigs can be so vulnerable, the wait-and-see approach is not in their best interest. Those of us in the rescue are more than happy to offer advice based upon our experiences, however, we are not medical professionals. To ensure a speedy recovery for your pet, an appointment with a veterinarian should be made at the onset of a problem.
If you need to find a vet who treats guinea pigs, our earlier posting, Looking For A Few Good Guinea Pig Vets, offers a list of several exotic vets in Connecticut as well as links to vet finder lists on GuineaLynx and Seagull’s Guinea Pig Compendium.
(Today’s posting comes to us from Cindy Kuester, founder and president of The Critter Connection, Inc.)