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Common Guinea Pig Health Problems

You’re preparing to bring a curiously charming guinea pig into your family, and you’ve been taking a crash course in guinea pig care. You’re especially interested in learning what a healthy guinea pig looks like so you can better identify a sick pet. Your Livonia veterinarian can provide you with some valuable tips while he gives your new pet a complete physical exam.

 

Picture of Health

Your healthy guinea pig’s coat will look uniform and full, and his eyes and nose won’t have any unusual discharges that can indicate an illness. He’ll scurry around his enclosure, scarfing up his high-quality kibbles, and urinating and defecating accordingly. In other words, he’s the poster child for healthy guinea pigs.

 

Dental Maladies

Guinea pigs’ teeth grow like crazy, and they need to wear down those little choppers by continually eating tasty timothy hay. If your pig only has access to dry, crunchy food, his teeth will grow out of control, causing considerable pain and discomfort to your little rodent.

 

Vitamin C Shortage

Because guinea pigs don’t make their own Vitamin C, you’ll need to provide this nutrient in the form of green, leafy veggies. Add a few pieces of kiwi or citrus fruit for good measure. If your guinea pig doesn’t get enough Vitamin C, he can develop diarrhea and become weak and disinterested in eating. His joints might become swollen, and he’ll seem to be in pain when he moves around his enclosure. A vitamin C deficiency can also result in internal bleeding into his intestines and other tissues.

 

Malicious Mites

Guinea pigs are prone to mite infestations, which can cause severe itchiness, scratching, and hair loss. Guinea pigs sometimes drive themselves crazy with the itching and scratching, affecting their ability to get enough good sleep. Good thing your vet can treat this maddening malady, but don’t forget to clean your guinea pig’s enclosure at the same time.

 

Compromised Footpads

Guinea pigs who live on hard, grass-free surfaces, or on plain wire mesh floors, don’t have any natural cushioning to protect their sensitive footpads. As a result, your guinea pig can develop ulcerated, swollen, and very painful footpads. Avoid this preventable condition by providing a grassy hay, shredded paper, or straw floor covering.

With regular physical exams, and prompt attention to troublesome symptoms, your Livonia vet can help your guinea pig live a healthy life with your family.

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