My First Guinea Pig Health Checklist That Helped When Our Pig Seemed Sick
As we recently experienced last weekend, Guinea pigs can be durable or easily succumb to disease. How you treat their environment and their alerts of illness will dictate their durability.
Last weekend, we came home from a 2 day trip to find Daisy a bit under the weather. The care giver said she saw nothing unusual. However, Daisy’s breath was foul Health Checklist for the family and she looked like she had brown discharge in her mouth. Knowing what to do is always welcome. Long ago we compiled a list of the most obvious causes of illness and tried to discover what was wrong. See if you can diagnose Daisy’s problem. She Had No Sneezing, or Discharge of the Nose
Sometimes, your pig may actually develop a sneeze, and the occasional sneeze is not serious. However, if it continues, then it can be a sign of a cold or allergies to bedding. Daisy had no discharge of her nose, nor any sneezing. Her nose was normal, and she used it to sniff as always. If your pet has any sort of discharge around the nose or is rubbing his nose, you need to get it checked out. We did not find anything here.
Again, an occasional cough, or little gag like sound can be very normal. Daisy does this often, but Mia never. There seemed to be no change here. Constant coughing can be serious. If your guinea pig is coughing and is accompanied by wheezing, or labored breathing, clean the environment first. If it persists, check with the vet, as your little friend may have an airway or respiratory infection. That did not fit here.
Labored Breathing, or Wheezing of Any Sort
This can be very serious, and is most often a sign of a respiratory infection. Treatment occurs much like a human, with early recognition and even occasional change of environment. Bedding that is not straw or shaved paper, our favorite, can have a dander that actually makes recovery slower. Additionally medicine is sometimes needed to treat these serious issues. Daisy had no labored breathing or trouble with wheezing. In fact, she seemed very curious why we were examining her so much, and looking at her face so closely.
Excessive scratching is normally a sign of parasites or a fungal infection. Change the bedding, consider using a fungicide on the cage and clean your pet with a brush, shampoo and a good drying down. Daisy had no excessive scratching that we could see.
Milky-White Urine, Pink Urine or Sludge-y Bladder or Diarrhea
Normally, your animal may have a slightly milky color to her urine. I rarely can see it, but if the consistency becomes more than normal thickness this can be a suggestion of chemical imbalance in your friend. You may need to place your pig on a vitamin for a period of time, and a check up is in order.
Any discoloration that is pink or red is a serious problem and you need to immediately consult with a vet. Typically redness in urine indicates bleeding. Additionally if their stool is soft, your little friend may become dehydrated. Guinea Pigs have similar body functions and controls to humans. Diarrhea may not be serious or even require a vet visit unless it persists. Since they are proficient little poop machines, you should see a change fairly quickly from loose to firm. Otherwise consider a visit.
Fortunately Daisy had none of these symptoms either.
We covered a lot, so what is this Daisy?
After our initial assessment, we decided that there were a number of good signs. First, in review, she had no nasal or facial issues. Her intestinal process was okay. She was not laboring when breathing and seemed a little mopey but overall still active. There was no concern about her cage, as the care giver in our absence admitted that she was not asked to clean the cage and so she did not.
Undaunted, we decided to pull her out of the cage, and put her in a paper covered area of ½ hour and see if her condition revealed itself. In the mean time, we cleaned her cage as it had been 3 days anyway.