CARE GUIDE :: HEALTH TIPS
Learn the Secrets to Good Guinea Health!
1 :: FEED THE RIGHT FOOD
"There is no greater service you can do your guinea pigs than to provide them a proper diet."
-- Guinea Pig Nutrition
Find out what foods will keep your guinea pigs healthy. Use the Diet page as a guide.
2 :: PROVIDE CLEAN & SPACIOUS HOUSING
Large cages are the best choice for housing guinea pigs. A larger cage will require less frequent cleaning and provide space for play, toys and exercise. Cleaning regularly will prevent odors and promote good health. Check over the cleaning tips.
3 :: LINE UP A GOOD VET
While guinea pigs can live a long healthy life, it is always wise to provide regular veterinary care. Vets qualified to care for your guinea pig are called "exotics veterinarians". Experienced guinea pig owners can't stress enough how important it is to find a good vet who knows your animal before you are in the middle of an emergency. Check advice on How to Find a Veterinarian if you are unsure how to choose a competent vet. A wellness check will familiarize the vet with your guinea pig and give you a chance to ask questions. The vet can check for parasites, show you how to trim the nails, make sure the teeth are in good shape, and the guinea pig is in good health.
Warning: Any penicillin-based drugs (like amoxicillin) are toxic to pigs. Make sure your pig is not prescribed these drugs. If you are not sure - ask. Check the DANGEROUS MEDICATIONS list for other drugs to avoid. Baytril (an excellent broad spectrum antibiotic) should not be given to baby pigs since it can interfere with growth.
Don't be afraid to call your vet if you have any questions. Most illnesses, when caught early, can be cured fairly easily with a course of antibiotics safe for guinea pigs. Guinea pig can hide signs in the early stages of an illness, so once the signs become apparent, they may have been ill for one or two weeks.
4 :: WEIGH YOUR GUINEA PIG WEEKLY
The easiest way to monitor your pig's health is to weigh it once a week. A kitchen scale works great. Keep a chart! Often the first sign of illness is weight loss. A chart will enable you to spot gradual weight loss and get medical help early, when many illnesses are most effectively treated. Nurgle's guinea pig is happy to cooperate.
You can download a record page from this site if you'd like to keep all the weigh information in one place. And consider ordering a Cavy Health Record Book with health and care advice; weight and treatment sheets; and more.
Wonder how much your guinea pig should weigh? See also: Weight.
5 :: KNOW THE SIGNS OF ILLNESS
Signs Which Warrant A Trip To The Vet ASAP:
If your guinea pig shows any of these signs, it should see a vet immediately:
Refusal to eat or drink
Rough or puffed up coat
Dull and/or receding eyes
Lethargy, hunched posture
Blood in urine
Hair loss, excessive scratching
Loss of balance
Be An Observant Owner
Know your pet. Unusual behavior (like sitting with it's face in a corner, and being slow to respond to you) could also be reason for alarm. When a guinea pig is ill, it can go downhill very quickly. Prompt, competent veterinary care is crucial to saving the life of a sick guinea pig. The Emergency Medical Guide will provide you with more detailed information.