Good Guinea Pig Health

Protection from and treatment of, illness and injury. Access to a guinea pig competent vet, find one before you need one!

Your vet's phone number is an important part of your first aid kit

Your vet’s phone number is an important part of your first aid kit

Some tips on keeping your guinea pig healthy.

  • Know where your nearest guinea pig competent vet is, (vet as opposed to just the surgery, one good vet does not a good surgery make). See “Questions To Ask Your Vet”.
  • Visit your vet when you suspect guinea is unwell/acting differently/”not right”. Wasting time seeing other sources first could mean a longer course of treatment when you do see a vet and most medicines in the UK can only be dispensed by a vet or will need a prescription from them. Seek help from other sources AFTER the vet visit where necessary but inform your vet of what has been advised and anything else you have done. Vets are the only people that can do x rays ( and most have top of the range equipment), perform operations and have access to adrenalin etc should anything go wrong.
  • Always take guineas’ friend with them when visiting the vet, this includes when one guinea goes in for an operation. Take this into consideration when purchasing a travelling box.
  • If using a front opening travelling box use Vetbed or fleece as the bedding, not quite such an issue with top opening boxes but be aware that hay makes a mess (from a vet’s point of view), provide a small towel for guineas to hide under if needed.
  • Do not bath guinea immediately before a vet appointment, particularly if you think there is a skin problem, bathing can wash away symptoms.
  • Use a guinea pig friendly bedding. Guinea pigs are in constant close contact with their bedding, quality is key. Shavings and other wood based beddings are not acceptable in a time where there is a wide range of beddings. See The Hay Experts for guinea pig friendly bedding.
  • Clean hutches/pens/cages thoroughly twice weekly and disinfect them. Cleaning out is not so much of a chore when done frequently. Use a disinfectant such as Conficlean2 available from The Hay Experts.
  • Know your guinea pigs and what is “normal” for them. What are their routines at feeding times? Do they “hang back” or are they at the front of the pen with their front paws on the grids/door? Weigh them fortnightly to monitor their weight and spot possible early signs of illness. Take into consideration whether weight loss is due to age. Know what your guineas poops look like. Poops are a very good indicator of what might be happening inside the body.
  • Consider your guinea pig’s emotional well being. Are they happy? Do they have all they need, for example, a  compatible companion? Are you providing enough hay, on the floor for foraging as well as for eating? Emotional issues will often present as a physical problem too. See Gorgeous Guineas article on Bach’s Rescue Remedy for times of stress such as a death or new companion being introduced.
  • Know whether your guinea pig is a good drinker or not. A change in drinking habits may indicate a problem somewhere and it is worth mentioning this to your vet. Provide fresh water at room temperature, daily.
  • Keep a first aid kit. Must haves are: contact details of a good, guinea pig competent vet, a product containing Simethicone (such as Infacol, UK) and a Syringe feeding kit containg: syringe food, and 1ml syringes, such as Oxbow Critical Care (a favourite here) or Supreme Recovery. See Gorgeous Guineas’ article. Do not get Vetark Critical Care formula which does not have the fibre content of the others and is confusing as it has the same name as the Oxbow product. There are various other items that you may wish to purchase such as Kwench from Gorgeous Guineas and/or their Aloe Vera gel but these can be dispatched quickly by Gorgeous and your guinea should be able to wait  a couple days.
  • Feed a Calcium:Phosphorus balanced diet. The key word is “balance”. See Ratewatchers’ Diet for more specific feeding advice. Feed food at room temperature not straight from the fridge, this can cause stomach upsets.
  • Hay is the main part of a guinea pig’s diet and should make up 75-80% of it so feeding good hay is essential to ensure they eat enough. For a variety of hays (and other guinea pig friendly products) see The Hay Experts website.

April 10, 2013   Posted in: Bedding, Behaviour, FaceBook/You Tube, Health, Husbandry, Inside The Hutch, ratewatchers