The guinea pig health check
Want to watch this page? Check out this youtube-video:
A regular health check is essential to signal problems in time. Guinea pigs are prey animals, they won’t show easily if they have health problems. That makes it extra important to signal problems in time. What should you check every week?
Most guinea pigs weigh 1 to 1,5 kilograms. When you weigh your animals every week and write down the weight, you will see clearly if he loses or gains weight gradually. You can use a kitchen weighing scale with a box for this.
Guinea pigs are built a bit chubby. That’s ok! The amount of fat may indicate if an animal is too heavy. You can feel this for instance in the arm pits. Most healthy guinea pigs are pear-shaped.
Guinea pig ears are clean and free of ear wax, flakes or wounds. You can remove this with a cloth and some oil if the ears are very dry.
Very dirty ears
The eyes need to be clean and the guinea pigs should look alert. Crusts or discharge may indicate a problem. Older animal may become blind, then the eyes gradually become white. Sudden changes may be caused by eye damages.
The molars of a guinea pig are not visible, but they keep on growing, just like the front teeth. By chewing a lot on hay and other fibrous food the teeth remain short and healthy. The front teeth should not be too long with a straight cutting surface. Crooked or long front teeth are an indication of teeth problems, which may be fatal.
Healthy front teeth
Too long molars are a life-treatening suitation
A guinea pig nose should be dry and clean. The respiration should not be heard. If you do, the guinea pig could have a cold.
A healthy coat is shiny and free of bold spots, wounds and irregularities. Tiny animals in the coat are often lice, which are not directly harmful and can be treated with special spray. Many wounds and a lot of scratching is often caused by scabies. Crusts without wounds and itches on the head are often caused by fungus. If you don’t know what to do, always contact a specialist to help you.
Long-haired guinea pigs need a regular haircut to prevent tangles. This can be done with most sharp scissors.
The bottom of a guinea pig should be clean and free of odours. They have a gland on their tailbone, which is more developed in males than in females.
A blocked anal sack in a male needs to be cleaned
Nails and feet
The feet should be clean, no swollen and free of wounds. Make sure that the cage is extra clean and soft when your guinea pigs do have a wound. This reduces the risk of bumble feet, which is a very painful inflammation that is difficult to cure.
The nails should be short to prevent irritations or difficulties when they walk. You can cut nails with a special nail trimmer for animals.
Bumblefoot: very painful!
Very long nails
Always visit a specialized vet if you have doubts about the health of your guinea pigs.