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Guinea Pig’s Mystery Illness

What should be done when a guinea pig has a mysterious illness?

By Karen Rosenthal, DVM, DABVP
Posted: July 27, 2010, 5 a.m. EDT

Q: My one guinea pig (I have two) is sick. I know he's sick, but I don't know what it is. His eyes are basically swelled shut, he really doesn't feel like eating, and he doesn't care if we pet him anymore, because he usually runs away. What should I do?

A: Guinea pigs act a lot like many other small mammals in that when they are sick, they try very hard to hide their illness. If the illness progresses and they get sicker, there is a point where they can no longer hide how sick they are feeling.

Because your guinea pig is showing very clear signs of not feeling well, we have to believe that your guinea pig is very sick. When guinea pigs shut their eyes and do not eat, they are very sick.

Another problem we commonly encounter with small mammals is that many different illnesses cause the same signs of sickness in the patient. That means liver disease, kidney disease, heart disease, infection and even dental diseases can look the same.

What does this mean to you and your guinea pig? Your guinea pig needs to see a veterinarian as soon as possible, because it is showing signs of illness, so your guinea pig is very sick. Plus, since the signs that your guinea pig are showing are common in sick guinea pigs, only your veterinarian can give you some idea of what may be wrong with your guinea pig by using physical examination findings.

One other reason to visit your veterinarian as soon as possible is that your other guinea pig could be at risk if this is an infectious disease.

See all of Dr. Rosenthal's Critter Q&A articles>>

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