I'll be honest with you all, my husband has been battling cancer for the past three years. Many, many trips to Houston for surgeries and check-ups have been hard on the ol' budget. Our son wants a pet so badly, but if I start racking up big vet bills my husband will kill me. I couldn't never sit idly by and not take a sick animal to the vet, though. Should I be so worried, or are piggies generally healthy if proper care is given?
I won't lie, occasionally a piggy will develope an "expensive" problem but I think that's very rare.
Good diagnostic abilities and proper treatment are one of the main reasons you want a cavy-savvy vet. It saves you money in the long run.
Many posters on this forum rescue a lot of pigs, and many of these pigs have health issues due to poor care before they went into rescue, or even ended up in rescue because of their serious health problems.
I've had several pigs over the years, and by and large I've been very lucky. My current pigs, Wishes and Wendell, are a bit over two years old. They go to the vet once a year for well-pig checkups, and other than that, Wishes has been to the vet once for an abscess that he got from a bite from Wendell.
Just like with humans, it seems older pigs experience more health issues, like kidney stones and impaction, but there are also many senior pigs on this board who are lucky to be in great health and have not had to have many vet visits.
Really, I think it depends on the pig. If you adopt young, healthy pigs and give them good care, I don't think you should *expect* too many vet visits, but it's important to have funds available in case something does go wrong.
Two of my pigs have never been sick, and when the others have been sick the board has always helped me sort of narrow what it could be so I don't run any extraneous tests. Plus finding a cavy savvy vet is the biggest money saver of all.
- Let Sleeping Pigs Lie
Ringworm can be passed around from pets to people, though.
Some members have mentioned having an allergic reaction (red, itchy bumps) from handling a guinea pig with mites. Wearing long sleeves can help.
Timothy hay can also cause allergic reactions for some people. Bluegrass is a great alternative.
Guinea pigs are prey animals, and tend to hide any signs of illness until it becomes serious. Proper care will certainly help to prevent many things.
My vet charges more for an exotics examination than she does for our dog's checkups. Some vets will insist on using anesthesia for a blood draw, which can increase your bill. X-rays are a common diagnostic tool and can be expensive.
Do you live near a guinea pig rescue? Sometimes fostering a pair of guinea pigs can be a good way to find out if they are the right pet for your family.
I hope your husband stays strong for his cancer battle, and my best to you and your family.
I don't feel they're ill any more than any other pets, but captive, well cared for guinea pigs survive considerably past their "expected" lifespan in the wild (which would be 1 maybe 2 years). It's not unusual then that they develop minor issues over the years. One of my guinea pigs developed an expensive medical issue (bladder stones) and the other has hardly been sick. In the two years he's lived with me he's had a goopey eye that required a round of $10 antibiotic drops. That's it and he's 6+!
In the long run proper care at home typically will save you in vet bills. Learning how to do things like treat with ivermectin at home correctly and safely will also save, weighing regularly helps identify problems before they become severe and expensive. Guinea pigs are eligible for VPI pet insurance but we recommend putting the same amount of money in an interest bearing savings account instead. The insurance requires you to pay up front and be reimbursed so you may as well have the money and interest yourself right? It is important to be honest with yourself though (and you don't have to post about it).
Lice and mites are the most minor things you can even imagine. They give us humans the heevey-jeevies but are definitely NOT contagious in any way and are easy an inexpensive to treat. 99% of cases are readily treated at home for <$30.
I just located two sisters at a shelter that were brought in by a parent whose kids wouldn't care for them. They are real cuties, but we're not quite ready for them yet :(
Having said that, in total over their lifetime I've spent over $2600 on them, about 1/3 of that being on vet bills. This is also because they are very spoiled and I've ordered a lot of unneccessary stuff for them online, etc.
When I'm ready to order my hay and pellets (probably from KMSHayloft) what type of container should I store them in? If I get, say, 9 lbs of timothy hay, is it better to leave it in the bag or put it in an open storage container? Same for the pellets? Will the pellets stay fresh for a long time?
Sorry for all the questions. I just want to make sure I keep our piggies healthy!
(The easiest way to unpack it: open the top, peel off the tape holding the bag shut. Then seal the box up, flip it over and open it from the bottom. Then pull the bag so the hay stays in the box. Hay has a way of expanding once you've unpacked it.)
Pellets can be stored in any airtight container. You should keep it in an opaque bag or container because light can damage vitamin C. Pellets are good for up to a year, I believe.