Its sunday night at 11pm your just off to bed and check your piggie, oh dear something does not look right, he has been on the lawn today and seemed fine at tea time ? Now he is quiet,hunched up and has not touched tea.
What would you do ????
Its upsetting isnt it, the unexpected, so its vital you get to know your healthy Guinea Pig so you can spot the signs of a poorly piggie !!! Make sure you find a good small animal vet who has good knowledge of Guinea Pigs, dont leave it till 11pm on a Sunday to get out the yellow pages !! Buy yourself a good text book to help you out and get informed :) see our links. Make sure you have a stocked first aid kit - see our first aid for Guinea Pigs page for information.
Recognising the signs
As guinea pigs are prey animals, they often continue to act as 'normal' even when they are unwell, as in the wild they would be picked off by a predator if they showed signs of weakness. Unfortunately this can make it hard for us as guinea-pig owners to notice when a piggy may be unwell.
However, there are some early warning signs that can help:
1. Sitting 'puffed up' in the corner - often the guinea is huddled up into a ball, hair slightly on end (head in corner is a classic sign of a poorly pig!) 2. Dull or weepy eyes 3. Dribbling, wet under the chin 4. Change in poohs - Diarrhoea ,loose, smelly 5. Weight loss - which is why it's so important to weigh your guineas and keep a note regularly, as they can lose significant weight without appearing much smaller under all that hair! 6. Any change in or loss of appetite; eating less, drinking more or less 7. Change in behaviour - i.e not coming forward for food, less active than usual, tender to pick up 8. Change in coat / skin - hairloss, bald patches, scratches, any lumps or bumps 9. Swelling or ballooning of stomach area,abdominal distention.
You know your guinea pig best and if they're not acting normally it could be cause for concern. Observe, monitor and seek veterinary attention if necessary as early diagnosis could save your guinea's life.
Please do not delay seeking veterinary treatment for an acutely poorly Guinea Pig they deteriorate quickly !!!
Basic emergency treatment advice till you get to see your vet !!!!! This is what we do for our own Guinea Pigs
1:Keep your Guinea Pig warm - Heat pad or if you dont have one a hot water bottle with towels / fleece wrapped around.You dont need boiling water just tap hot,but you must supervise your Guinea Pig with a hot water bottle.
2:Ensure your Guinea Pig has regular fluids,if your Guinea Pig cant drink then syringe feed them regular cool water.Min 10ml hour.Guinea Pigs can dehydrate quickly so fluids are veryimportant.If your Guinea Pig is struggling with taking water, you really need to see a Vet !! Vets can give sub cut fluids directly into the Guinea Pigs skin. If the Guinea Pig is showing any signs of abdominal distention and pain it could be "Bloat" you urgently need to see the vet.
3:Offer their favourite veg - as also contains water - if not eating then again you can syringe feed powdered emergency food such as Science Recovery.If you dont have a sachet then just crush some of your pellet food with warm water.Mix to a syringable consistency and give to your Guinea Pig every hour as much as they will take.You are looking at 60ml over 24hr period. If the Guinea Pig is showing any signs of abdominal distention and pain it could be "Bloat" you urgently need to see the vet,do not give food until this has been confirmed.
4:If they poop save it to show the vet also keep a note of:
Fluids / Food given and Guinea Pigs weight at start of illness.
Luna Chadwick - Age 6
The rescue recommends: If you can recommend a good Guinea Pig Vet please let us know !
The Willow Veterinary Clinic -Tunstall / Endon - Stoke on Trent
Clive Curry, Victoria Poole and Charlie Green are the practice vets, they offer their own 24hr on call service and are just fantastic with Guinea Pigs, offering excellent surgical and diagnostic facilities.They also offer Guinea Pig dental treatment.
Clive is an "Exotic vet " specialising in animals like Guinea Pigs.He is also a specialist opthalmic ( eyes) vet
The Willow Vet Clinic looks after all our own, and rescue Guinea Pigs.
Please visit their web site for practice information, opening times etc - see our webs link page
Practice number :01782 503166 - Tunstall
Practice number :01782 826738 - Endon
The Cat and Rabbit Clinic - Northampton
This practice is highly recommended run by Simon & Kim Maddock.This practice has a nationwide following ! and Guinea Pig owners travel for Simons expert care.He specialises in Guinea Pig and Rabbit dental problems and also offers an excellent Guinea Pig dental service. Simon offers awake dental checks as well as a full range of diagnostic services.