Today, guinea pigs are popular pets, and it is easy to find information concerning their care. Unfortunately, there is not a great deal of information concerning health concerns that are common to guinea pigs. For this reason, many people don’t realize that there actually are health concerns that they need to be aware of.
Guinea pigs commonly suffer from diarrhea, abscesses, scurvy, and respiratory infections. Female guinea pigs may develop ovarian cysts, if they have not been spayed. Some bedding can cause a corneal ulcer in the eye, and pneumonia is also a risk. Guinea pigs are also subject to genetic diseases, including congenital eye disorders and digestive problems, as well as waltzing disease, palsy, and tremors.
Some health problems require the services of a veterinarian, but many can be treated at home. Some health problems can be avoided completely. For example, scurvy can be avoided by making sure that your guinea pig has an adequate amount of vitamin C on a daily basis. Many infections and abscesses can be avoided by making sure that your guinea pig remains free of parasites, including lice, mites, and fungus. Ovarian cysts can be avoided by spaying your female guinea pig.
Corneal ulcers are indicated when the guinea pig blinks more than usual, and his eyes run. You may also notice an opaque film over his eyes. This is usually caused by a small foreign object in the eye, such as a small piece of straw or hay. For this, the eye simply needs to be washed out, so that the foreign object is removed.
If your guinea pig is sneezing a great deal, he probably needs to see a veterinarian, as a cold can quickly turn to pneumonia. There may come a point when you need to take your guinea pigs temperature. For this, an ear thermometer is recommended, although if you don’t have one, a rectal thermometer must be used. Normal temperature for a guinea pig is between 101 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit. If your guinea pig is running fever, he needs to see a veterinarian as soon as possible.
The biggest concern you have is the fact that as a prey animal, your guinea pig will work hard at hiding pain and other signs of illness. This is his natural instinct, and it means that you must be absolutely diligent in keeping your eyes open for potential health problems. The best thing that you can do for your guinea pig is to have him examined by a veterinarian that treats guinea pigs twice each year. This will help to catch any serious health problems early, which will often result in successful treatment.