A Medical and Care Guide for Guinea Pigs


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Analgesics (Pain Medications) and Dosages

Appropriate pain medication is a vital part of treatment and recovery. Control of pain can be critical to the recovery process. This list was contributed by Serafina Cupido (see below for references). Read more about the signs of pain .


**None of these drugs should ever be used with steroidal drugs due to potential side effects, namely GI ulceration. If these are to be used long-term, certain GI protectants may (and should) be considered. Serious liver and kidney problems may potentially result from misuse or abuse of these drugs and should be used with caution in patients who may have these problems.

The drug name may be followed by common trade names, the dosage, route, time, followed by a number 1-3 corresponding to the references above. Some references will list multiple doses and also a few lack how often to give the drugs.

Acetylsalicylic acid (Aspirin)

Carprofen (Rimadyl)

Flunixin meglumine (Banamine)


Meloxicam (Metacam, Mobic)


**May be used for appetite stimulation, anti-anxiety, sedation, anti-seizure, muscle relaxation, etc. Not great pain control.

Diazepam (Valium)


**May cause sedation, and GI slowing with regular use. Other indications may also be present (e.g. butorphanol has anti-tussive/coughing effects and some anti-emetic/nausea effects).

Buprenorphine (Buprenex)

Butorphanol (Torbugesic, Torbutrol, Torb)

Morphine sulfate (Morphine) MAY CAUSE NAUSEA




**Should be used with caution. Very powerful anti-inflammatory medications, but overusage/improper usage can cause other medical conditions such as Cushing's Disease, diabetes, etc. In general, the dosages are started higher and tapered off slowly during a certain time period. They are sometimes very useful for animals with certain cancers, very severe skin problems (itchy skin), and some traumatic musculoskeletal conditions. Excessive thirst/urination, and increased appetite are common side effects. Muscle wasting/atrophy is seen at some doses and during long-term use. Dexamethasone is a common emergency and shock drug, but those doses are not mentioned here.

As mentioned above: DO NOT USE THESE DRUGS CONCURRENTLY WITH NSAID DRUGS. Most vets recommend at least 12-24 hours in between dosings if the choice has been made to switch from steroids to NSAIDS or vice-versa.



Serafina Cupido, a registered veterinary technician (known as Josephine on GL's support board), has contributed the above comprehensive list of pain medications for use on ill guinea pigs. Drug doses are derived from three of the better known and used veterinary formularies. As cited below, the references are:

  1. Exotic Animal Formulary (Second Edition, 2001) by Carpenter, Mashima, and Rupiper *(Fourth Edition now available 2013)
  2. Ferrets, Rabbits, and Rodents, Clinical Medicine and Surgery (First Edition, 1997) by Hilyer and Quesenberry *(Third Edition now available 2011)
  3. Veterinary Drug Handbook (Fourth Edition, 2002) by Plumb *(Seventh Edition now available 2011)
  4. Exotic Animal Formulary (Fourth Edition, 2013) by Carpenter - entry added by Lynx

"All drug doses are in mg/kg as is the standard in current veterinary practice and more practical with smaller animals that are commonly weighed in grams.

"Routes are given for administration, although veterinary personnel (ideally, your veterinarian) should be consulted for the best route of administration since many drugs have variable dosings and absorption based on how they are administered. Some drugs are best given via certain routes due to their chemical nature and potential irritation at the injection site (esp. flunixin meglumine AKA Banamine). Also not addressed are potential side effects and contraindications. If any animal is currently on medications or being treated for Cushings Disease, diabetes, heart disease, kidney, or liver disease, additional precautions and dosing information may certainly apply.

"This is meant to be a reference and guide for all veterinary personnel treating cavies and laypersons to confirm dosages on their pets. It is certainly not meant to replace proper veterinary care or supercede veterinary recommendations." Go Up

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