Guinea pigs are adorable little creatures. But no matter how adorable these little creatures are, if you are not careful and picky with their food and not strict with their health, then they could get sick and experience health problems in the future. Sometimes, you just can’t avoid some of the common health issues of the guinea pigs.
For that reason, I have listed the common health issues associated with this little critter.
1. Incisor or Cheek Teeth Issues
Incisors that grow very long can be spotted easily, but it takes a professional eye to look into a guinea pig’s mouth and identify problems with the the cheek teeth. When these teeth don’t wear the right way, sharp edges may form, which cause ulcers and possibly trap the tongue. When this happens, a cavy tends to drool, shed weight, and later produce small, hard fecal droppings.
Then again, these teeth can be filled, but the guinea pig will have to be anesthetized. Also, other guinea pigs may require filings every four to six weeks, plus some other procedures like tooth extraction, in order to recover. If that is the case, make sure your guinea pig has lots of vitamin C, Timothy hay, and a reasonable amount of pellets to keep his teeth healthy.
2. Cervical Abscess
If a guinea pig has cervical abscess, he will experience discharges from the neck or jaws. Normally, people look at this as a simple infection that does not need immediate attention. But the truth is, when this infection in the root of the teeth will not vanish with antibiotic treatments, surgery is recommended. In the process, the infected tooth will be removed or other parts causing the issue will be taken care of. Unfortunately, this is very difficult to resolve and the process of treating it may last for months.
3. Congested Nose as well as Difficulty in Breathing
If a guinea pig experiences a thick discharge from the nostrils and have watery eyes, he might have a congested nose. As a result, he might tend to sneeze every now and then, as well as have difficulties in breathing. However, this issue can be a problem associated with malocclusion of the teeth. This is actually an infection brought about by a bacteria called Bordetella or “kennel cough.”
Bordetella may trigger very serious illnesses like pneumonia. If not treated within 2 days from the time the signs shown, a guinea pig may die. So be sure to have your pet checked by a vet immediately whenever you notice any of these signs.
4. Flaky Skin and Hair Loss
Yes, guinea pigs may groom themselves and their companions. Even if it is normal, it may still lead to having patches of hair loss in their bodies, which are called “barbering.”
Still, there are other reasons why there is hair loss. That include mites and lice, irritation caused by urine scalding, ringworm, and some other conditions.
Don’t worry. Some of these problems are treatable. Nevertheless, you should know that ringworm and mites can cause rashes in people, so always have a vet perform the necessary tests to find out what is wrong with your pet and avoid hurting yourself.
5. Matted Hair
Since guinea pigs groom themselves using their incisor teeth, it is common for them to have matter hair. Well, if their incisor teeth are normal, they could experience matted hair when they have back pain or are experiencing discomforts, which make them hesitant to groom themselves. Also, this can happen if their litter boxes are left uncleaned or if they are obese.
6. Skin Growths and Tumors
In some instances, guinea pigs may experience swollen lumps on the skin, which may rupture and produce a grayish or white substance. These lumps are often called hair cysts. But there are abscesses that are similar to tumors.
According to studies, both male and female guinea pigs may be at risk for mammary tumors, which are abnormal growths that show up in the hind legs. Don’t fret, though. They can be removed when detected early.
7. Bladder Infection
It is normal for guinea pigs to acquire bladder infections. This is especially true if you leave their litter boxes uncleaned every day. If they have bladder infection, their urine will smell awful. They will also urinate a lot more. And when left untreated, it may become bladder stones, which may call for an expensive surgery. Therefore, you have to keep them clean all the time.
8. Ovarian Cysts
Ovarian cysts usually show up in forms of hair loss in the edges of the strands or small amounts of blood coming from the vulva. Though these lumps can be alleviated through hormone therapies, spaying might just help. Sad to say, the problem can no longer be prevented with spaying once the disease shows up.
Guinea pigs may become overweight when given unlimited pellets. They also tend to gain weight when they don’t have enough room to move around and play. Hence, be sure that you spend at least half an hour per day, playing with them or taking them out of the cages to walk. If your cavy is obese, encourage him to explore and exercise in any room. That way, you can reduce the risk of heart problems, back pain, and other complications associated with being overweight.
These health issues can be prevented if the guinea pig is in a clean environment like a guinea pig cage and is fed with health foods. Always remember to keep an eye on your guinea pigs to avoid further development of any of these health issues.