GUINEA PIG WEEKLY HEALTH CHECKLIST
Guinea pigs are
prey animals and are very good at hiding illness or health problems
they may have. It is important to give your guinea pigs regular
health checks as simple illnesses or injuries can quickly develop
into critical medical emergencies. As a guide it is a good idea to
check your guinea pigs weekly either during a cuddle session or even
when you are cleaning out their cages.
The following is
a basic guide on what you should look and feel for when carrying out
your guinea pig’s health check.
Check your guinea pig’s weight – Mature pigs should weigh similar
each week. Immature pigs should be slightly heavier than the
previous week or at least similar.
Your guinea pig should be fit and active. Any changes in usual
behaviour can be a sign of illness.
Look at the eyes for any discolouration or crustiness/discharge.
Check nostrils for any discharge. Has your guinea pig been
Look around the mouth for sores. Check front teeth to see if wear
and growth of both upper and lower teeth are evenly aligned. Check
for any drooling/smelly breathe (can indicate teeth problems).
Listen to your guinea pigs breathing for any raspy/odd noises.
Check nails to see if they need trimming. (This should be done at
least once a month).
Examine under your guinea pig’s feet to see if they are dry,
inflamed or have any cuts or scabs.
Check your guinea pigs bottom to make sure it is reasonably dry and
there is no diarrhea or smell. Inspect droppings to make sure they
are normal. Check male guinea pigs genitals for any foreign objects
that may be protruding such as hay or sawdust, and remove these.
Does your pig have any scabs or lumps on their body? Check by
stroking your guinea pig from head to rear, then neck to chest
looking and feeling for any scabs and lumps. Check around the eyes
and nose and behind/under the ears.
guinea pigs skin and hair for any bald patches, coat
thinning/dullness, hair loss, dandruff, mites, objects stuck to the
hair shafts, sores, cuts or wounds. To do this use your index
finger and starting at the pig’s rump, draw your finger through its
coat towards its head so you can see down the hair shafts to the
your piggy a good brush or comb and check if there is any looseness
of coat or more than average hair loss. Piggies generally love this
attention and it gives you very good social contact with them.
Contact a vet immediately if your guinea pig shows signs of the
Bleeding that won’t stop
Makes a ‘raspy’ or odd noise when breathing, has laboured breathing
Seems to be in obvious pain and discomfort
Has gone off food and/or won’t eat or drink
Written by Rachel Findlay (ACS Brisbane Shelter Volunteer and Foster
Photos by Bonnie Wright (Border Small Animal Rescue)