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        A Medical and Care Guide for Guinea Pigs

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    Common Mistakes
    Finding a Vet
    GL's Vet List
    What the Vet will Do
    Rural Emergency Guide
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    Hand Feeding
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HELP

Home > Medical Guide > HELP
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Become Familiar With These Signs Of Illness

Guinea pigs very seldom get over an illness without help and can decline VERY QUICKLY. Do not hesitate to seek competent veterinary care if you suspect your pig is ill. Check the Emergency Medical Guide for more information. Read advice on the seriousness of Anorexia and tips for Hand Feeding should your cavy stop eating.

Do not hesitate to seek competent veterinary care if you suspect your pig is ill.


What To Do For Your Sick Guinea Pig
See a vet immediately if your cavy shows any of these signs (a more complete list on the Emergency Medical Guide):
  • Not eating
  • Labored breathing
  • Crusty eyes, sneezing
  • Dull and/or receding eyes
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • Blood in urine
  • Limping
  • Hair loss, excessive scratching
  • Loss of balance
When a cavy is ill, it can go downhill very quickly. Prompt, competent veterinary care is crucial to saving the life of a sick cavy.

Do not delay getting veterinary treatment for your pet.
  • Find a vet familiar with the treatment of guinea pigs. Finding a Vet
  • Read the article on what to expect at the vet's office. What The Vet Will Do
    Before you see the vet, read over Charybdis list of Common Mistakes in Treating Sick Cavies
  • Check the Dangerous Meds list. DANGEROUS MEDICATIONS
    Make sure your guinea pig is not prescribed any of these antibiotics (which include all penicillins). Antibiotics like bactrim and chloramphenicol are safe. Baytril, another powerful antibiotic, is best given to animals over 6 months of age as it may interfere with bone growth but is sometimes used as a last resort.
Has your pet stopped eating? After seeing a vet, getting a diagnosis and antibiotics (if appropriate), you must hand feed your pet until it is well enough to eat on its own. See "Hand Feeding" for advice.

Was your pet prescribed antibiotics? You should see improvement soon. Ask the vet how quickly the medication should take effect. Some guinea pigs will do poorly on a particular antibiotic. Be sure to read the article on "What You Need To Know About Antibiotics " for additional valuable information. Ideally the vet will culture the bacteria to determine what is most effective but often there is no time. Call the vet if there is no improvement or you have any questions. If your cavy stops eating, you must hand feed your pet and call the vet to change to a different antibiotic.

Be an observant owner. Unusual behavior (like sitting with it's face in a corner, and being slow to respond to you) could also be reason for alarm.
Help! My new guinea pig is not eating!
Not eating (anorexia) is a life threatening medical condition. It is vital that you diagnose the problem and get treatment for your cavy immediately.

New pig owners may find that the pet they just brought home is not eating. A bacterial infection is the most common cause of anorexia in a new guinea pig. A vet can diagnose and treat a bacterial infection and prescribe a cavy safe antibiotic.

Help! My older pig is not eating!
Not eating (anorexia) is a life threatening medical condition. It is vital that you diagnose the problem and get treatment for your cavy.

An older guinea pig can have a bacterial infection (treatment described above) or other condition that prevents him from eating. Some cavies develop tooth problems that interfere with eating. Read the article on Malocclusion and Pinta's warning signs of malocclusion. A tooth abscess, elongated roots, or mouth injury can also prevent your pet from eating.

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