Posted on: 25 March 2015Share
If you love your guinea pigs, it's important to be on the alert for any sign that they might be ill. What many pet owners don't realize is that by the time a guinea pig shows visible signs of illness, they're already gravely ill. In their native habitat, sick guinea pigs are easy targets for predators, so they've evolved to hide any symptoms of illness until they get too sick to do so anymore.
If you delay treatment once you realize your guinea pig is ill, it may be too late. If you see any of these symptoms, take your guinea pig to the vet right away:
Loss of Appetite
One of the biggest and most obvious signs of illness in guinea pigs is a refusal to eat or drink. If you suspect that your guinea pig may be ill, monitor the food bowl and measure the level in the water bottle. If you don't notice any change, then your guinea pig is not eating and may be ill.
Many guinea pig owners have several guinea pigs living in the same area. If you suspect that one of them is sick, you should remove them from the cage or hutch and put them in an isolated area. Not only does this enable you to monitor that particular guinea pig's food and water intake, it also lessens the chance that the illness will spread to your other pets.
As a guinea pig owner, you probably already know that these animals are typically active and usually friendly. A sick guinea pig will appear tired, will move less, and may seem to hunch over – a defense mechanism that a sick guinea pig uses to make itself less noticeable to predators.
When you try to pick up or play with a sick guinea pig, it might bite or scratch, even if it's normally friendly and affectionate. These changes in your guinea pig's behavior are signs that something is very wrong.
Does your guinea pig look like its normal self, or is something different? Significant hair loss on a guinea pig is a symptom that signals a need for urgent medical attention. Sudden weight loss or weight gain are also causes for concern. Remember that because guinea pigs are so small, a few ounces of weight can make a substantial difference.
Many illnesses common to guinea pigs can be treated and cured with antibiotics, if you get to the veterinarian on time. However, because guinea pigs are so good at hiding their symptoms until they're extremely sick, many pet owners simply don't get treatment quickly enough. Be on the alert for these signs and symptoms so that you can keep your guinea pig healthy.
To learn more, contact a company like Animal Emergency Clinic.