Common Guinea Pig Illnesses: Signs, Causes, and Treatments

With proper care and maintenance, guinea pigs are pretty hardy for a cute and tiny hairball of a pet rodent. But since you got a full-time job and the kids aren’t exactly religious about looking after their pet guinea pig, some common guinea pig illnesses are bound to show every once in a while. It’s best to know these common guinea pig illnesses: what to expect, how to treat, and even how to prevent them from showing up. Because though small and docile, guinea pigs are living beings too who deserves to live a happy and healthy life, just like you do.

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Vitamin C Deficiency

Vitamin C deficiency per se is not an illness, but the effect of the lack of vitamin C creates several common guinea pig illnesses more than any other vitamin deficiency in a cavy. Guinea pigs are unique in their need for vitamin C – they need more of it than any other pet rodent. Intestine and other tissue problems, swollen joints, and skeletal muscle bleeding are few of the common guinea pig illnesses caused by vitamin C deficiency. Guinea pigs affected with these diseases appear lethargic because of the pain they feel in their muscles and joints. To prevent these common guinea pig illnesses from occurring, you must provide vitamin C supplement to your pet guinea pig and give it vitamin C rich veggies such as spinach.

Skin Problems

Another common guinea pig illnesses involved mites and fungi that could cause guinea pig skin problems. Because guinea pigs don’t take a bath like other pets do, they are more prone to contract mite infection that causes symptoms like hair loss and scratching. Fungi could infect your pet guinea pig’s skin too that causes your cavy to itch intensely. The constant scratching mattes and removes your pet cavy’s fur, which results to ugly patches and scratch wounds. Therefore, at the first sign of skin infection (i.e. scratching like crazy), take your cavy to the vet for parasite removal – don’t just grab any miticide powder as it may be harmful to your cavy.

Swollen Footpads

Pododermatitis or swollen footpads is also a pretty common disease among guinea pigs that lives on uncovered wire mesh or any hard surfaces. The constant foot pressure results to swelling of your poor guinea pig’s foot, which could affect its foot muscles and bones. It’s very painful for your cavy. To prevent pododermatitis, you must provide soft bedding material for your cavy like Timothy hay, shredded paper, or straw. Don’t let your guinea pig walk on hard surfaces like wire mesh or hard floor too often.

Guinea Pig Diarrhea

In the wild, guinea pigs eat mainly high fiber diet of grass and ground cover leaves. In captivity, some naive guinea pigs owners would feed large quantities of sugary fruits to their cavies, like grapes or cherrys, that results to common guinea pig illnesses like diarrhea and other intestinal problems. To prevent this from happening, obviously you have to limit feeding sugary fruits to your guinea pig. Instead, increase high calcium and high fiber diet like green veggies and hay.

Sticky Bottom

Since guinea pigs are low and they produce grease on their grease spot, they are prone to develop sticky bottom. The waxy build up of grease and fecal matter could be very dirty, which could put you off your innocent pet guinea pig. Worse, the waxy build up could also result to other common guinea pig illnesses like urinary tract infection and intestinal problems due to backed up feces. So, never allow sticky bottom to go unchecked. It’s very easy to take care of the problem with a gentle wash or a pharmaceutical solvent cleaner.

These are the pretty common guinea pig illnesses, which when left untreated could cause serious damage to your pet cavy. So don’t just pick up your guinea pig during play time; set aside some moment to inspect your guinea pigs health. You owe it to your cavy to make him or her happy and healthy.

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