Common guinea pig illnesses can strike even with our watchful care. Prevention of course is important, but it is no guarantee that health problems will not take place. This is why it is important for us to stay vigilant so we can spot the signs and symptoms of these diseases early on.
There's nothing more distressing for a pet owner than to see his pet ill. With cavies, due to their small size, these disease can progress really quickly. Guinea pigs are usually very active, so if you see something that's off in their behavior, don't just brush it off. It may be an early warning of an impending illness.
Common signs of illness include slower movements or generally less activity. You may also notice that your pet is eating less or drinking less. An unusual discharge in any part of the body should be looked into. Diarrhea is not common, but should be taken seriously when you see it in your pet.
Here are the common guinea pig illnesses and the symptoms you may observe in your cavy:
1. Parasitic and fungal skin infections
Signs that you can observe is a guinea pig that seems to scratch itself a lot. When you check the cavy's fur, you will see scratch woulds and scaling. Parasites and fungal infections can spread quickly. Be sure to check all your guinea pigs if you suspect that one of them is infected.
2. Urinary tract infection
Urinary tract infections are common in guinea pigs and their anatomy contributes to this problem. Guinea pigs are quite "low slung", especially the older ones. This puts them in contact with the floor litter and makes them more susceptible to urinary infection. Aside from this, their diet may also put them at risk for these types of infections. Having too much calcium in their diet, or perhaps eating too much dry food and not taking sufficient water can also be blamed.
3. Vitamin C deficiency
Because guinea pigs do not produce their own vitamin C, they need to supply themselves with it from the food that they eat. A deficiency in this vitamin interferes with energy absorption, which can result to malnutrition, hair loss, susceptibility to respiratory infections and so on.
4. Respiratory infection
Guinea pigs are prone to allergy from dust, pollen and even to the type of bedding material that you use. Aside from this, a common bacteria called Bordatella present in our environment can also cause respiratory infection in guinea pigs.
5. Old age
When your cavy has reached old age, debility is something that you cannot entirely avoid. Your cavy will be more sluggish and slow in its movements. One way to avoid complications is to make sure your cavy is healthy and fit in its youth.