Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Signs of Illness in Guinea Pigs

For a while now, the humans have been a little worried about me. "Does Lola seem different to you?" I'd hear one human say to the other. They noticed how my fur would get puffed out, and I wouldn't run to eat my pellets with the same level of enthusiasm I usually do. They then weighed me, and noticed that I had lost a significant amount of weight (about 80 grams). Once they saw that, they called the vet immediately and took me in as soon as possible.

If you keep poking and prodding me, I'm going to nibble on your little drum on a tube!
Even though your guinea pig may complain about it (and trust me, I had a thing or two to say about the vet poking her fingers into my belly!), you should take your guinea pig in to the vet's office, both for regular checkups and whenever you suspect there is a problem. Our old cage-mate Annie died from a bladder stone, so our humans were really worried that my behavior could suggest I had stones as well.

Fortunately, the vet did an X-ray on me, and didn't find any stones, only some gas. The vet sent us home with some antibiotics, painkillers, and anti-bloat medicine, suspecting that I might have some sort of infection, or possibly some pain from arthritis. They also sent me home with a dip stick to test my urine to test for a possible UTI. Now, I'm hearing the humans talk to each other about how much better I seem. I'm back to running to the food bowl immediately when I hear the sound of pellets!

The moral of this story is that you should familiarize yourself with the symptoms of guinea pig illness, and be willing to take us to the vet (despite how expensive it can be). Here is Guinea Lynx's list of illness symptoms and possible causes:
  • Refusal to eat or drink (anorexia) -- URI, Malocclusion, other 
  • Weight Loss -- Malocclusion, other 
  • Labored breathing, wheezing -- URI, Circulatory Problems, other 
  • Crusty eyes, sneezing -- URI, other 
  • Rough or puffed-up coat -- URI, other 
  • Swollen abdomen -- BLOAT, other 
  • Dull and/or receding eyes -- URI, other 
  • Lethargy, hunched posture -- URI, other 
  • Drooling -- Malocclusion, other 
  • Watery diarrhea -- Diarrhea, other 
  • No feces -- Anorexia (not eating), Bloat, other 
  • Unable to urinate -- Bladder Stones, other 
  • Blood in urine -- UTI, Bladder Stones, Pyometra, other 
  • Bleeding from rectal area -- UTI, Bladder Stones, Pyometra, Retained Placenta, other 
  • Limping, hopping, severe injury -- Injury, Vitamin or Mineral Deficiency, Arthritis, other 
  • Hair loss, excessive scratching -- Mange Mites, Fungal Infection, other 
  • Loss of balance -- Ear Infection, Injury, Poisoning, other 
  • Head tilt -- Ear Infection, wry neck, other 
  • Delivery problems -- Dystocia, Retained Placenta, other
Read this list carefully so you'll know what to look for the next time your guinea pig is feeling sick!


  1. Glad that you're feeling better! Our vet checkup is on the 21st!

    1. Me too. Being sick isn't fun!

      I hope your vet checkup goes well.