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Most Common Guinea Pig Illnesses
Posted on : 11/13/2014 05:11:04 PM

There are several common illnesses that an owner might encounter during their journey to raise a guinea pig. Many guinea pig owners don’t realize just how fragile their pets are. In fact, guinea pigs are more prone to diseases than other small pets or rodents.

The last thing you want is to neglect a present health problem that can result in something more serious in the future, or even possibly death. Here are the most common health problems to look out for:

Regular sneezing

If your pig has been continuously sneezing, it’s a sure sign that something is wrong. First, check to see if they’re allergic to the bedding by switching out the bedding material. Timothy hay would be a good bet.

If that doesn’t fix the problem, observe them to see if they are constantly scratching around the area of their nose. If you notice any rubbing, then it’s time to take them to the vet to get it checked out.

Constant Coughing

It’s expected for your guinea pig to cough every now and then. It’s actually sort of an adorable thing to see. But if you notice regular coughing, it could be a sign of something more serious.

Heavy breathing and wheezing can often follow the coughs. And, if that’s the case, it may likely be a respiratory infection. The earlier you treat this, the better. If you wait too long to get them checked out, the congestion in their lungs can potentially become something more lethal, such as pneumonia.

Excessive Scratching

This generally means that your guinea pig has some kind of parasite, most likely lice. In order to tell, brush their hair and look for anything unusual on the skin. Lice is visible to the human eye, so look for small brown specks while brushing their hair. If you don’t notice any lice and they’re still itching, bring them to the vet.

If your pig has lice, tell you vet and they’ll give you medicated lice shampoo to use. Don’t immediately put your pet back in the cage after washing them. Lice will usually stay in guinea pig cages, including the bedding. Clean and disinfect it before putting them back in.

Milky-White or Pinkish-Red Urine

Yes, it’s quite normal for their urine to have a slight milky color. But if you start seeing the urine become overly white, then this means that there is an excess of calcium in your pet’s diet. Figure out what you’re feeding them and adjust accordingly while monitoring urine from day to day.

If you notice pink or red urine, it means that there is blood in their urine and can often be associated with bladder stones. Unfortunately there is nothing you can do on your part at this stage. Bring them to the vet as soon as you can.


Because of the size of the little critter, diarrhea is a much more serious condition for them than it is for humans. In fact, they can die within hours from dehydration if it continues.

This may just mean that you have been providing your pig with too much fiber, such as vegetables or fruits. The balance of hay, fruits, vegetables and pellets is essential for a complete guinea pig diet.

If diarrhea occurs, just increase their intake of Timothy hay, as it promotes healthy digestion. You can already grab lactobacillus acidophilus capsules from your local pharmacy store as well.

Extreme Hair Loss

If your pet is losing massive amounts of hair around the body, this could be because of ringworms. If this happens, you need to go to a vet and wait for instructions on how to proceed.

Watery Eyes

This may be caused by a number of different things irritating the eye, such as dust. If this is the case, a vet will be able to walk you through the directions on how to wash out the irritants without hurting your pig.

If you inspect the eye and notice an unusual bump, it could be a cyst that’s irritating their eye. This needs to be removed by a vet as soon as possible.

Stiffness in the Joints

This is a sure sign of a lack of vitamin C in your pet’s diet. This could cause serious discomfort for your pig because it hurts them to move around. When purchasing guinea pig pellets, make sure to look at the back of the label to see that vitamin C is present. Remember, they can’t naturally produce vitamin C, which means we have to provide them with some.


A seizure is a serious health problem no matter what animal. If this happens, you need to be very observant. If your guinea pig is seizing with the head up in the air without any tilting of the head, then it’s just mites. A few years ago, my Skinny pig had mites and seizures. After going to the vet, I was told that mites can sometimes get into their nervous system and cause seizures. Bring them to the vet and they’ll be okay.

However, if the pig is tilting his head side to side and curling his body, this is something more serious type of seizure and needs to be taken care of by your vet immediately.
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