Posted: November 27, 2008, 3:00 a.m. EDT
Q: I have a 3- to 4-year-old guinea pig. The other night, she was yelping a lot; I didn’t know why. Then, yesterday afternoon, I noticed her shaking. I think she's either having a stroke or maybe getting seizures. She shakes and rolls on the ground, and she makes a weird sound too. She can’t walk either. What causes a guinea pig to have a seizure or a stroke? Does this sound like something entirely different to you?
A: Yes, guinea pigs can have strokes and seizures. Strokes are not common, but seizures are seen in guinea pigs for various reasons. My suggestion would be to bring her to your veterinarian for a diagnosis. We may not be able to treat a stroke; it is difficult, just like it is in people. But causes of seizures can be treated, or at least controlled, with medication.
Some of the diseases that might cause seizures are metabolic diseases, heart disease or neurologic disease. Finally, although you didn’t mention it, severe skin parasite infections have been known to cause guinea pigs to go into what looks like a seizure. This is curable and easily treatable.