Guinea Pig Diseases You Should Know About

Guinea Pig Diseases

It’s not a fun subject, but to protect your pet it is always good to know something about guinea pig diseases.


Cancer can affect the blood in the case of leukemia, or the mammary glands or reproductive tract of the female. But cancer is pretty rare for cavies (guinea pigs). They can occasionally get tumors but these are usually benign affecting the skin mostly. However, it is likely to be contracted by the elders. The tumors that involve respiratory lining and the skin are benign. The mammary glands, reproductive tract and the blood may also be affected by cancer.


If your cavy doesn’t get enough vitamin C in his diet he can get scurvy which can be deadly for cavies. Signs include stiff and swollen joints making moving around difficult for him. Ribs can be painful and swollen. His gums can suddenly bleed with no apparent cause. Bones and teeth can develop poorly. Vitamin C is supposed to be included in pellets you may be feeding him but other precautions include feeding him fruit and vegetables with the vitamin like apples, broccoli, celery, spinach and carrots just to name a few. If you should suspect such a problem take him to the vet for diagnosis and treatment.

Other vitamins required in the diet include D, A and E along with some minerals. Inadequate vitamins can lead to poor tooth development, metastatic calcification, difficult pregnancy and muscular dystrophy.


Guinea pigs are susceptible to bacterial pneumonia. There may possibly be no outward visible signs and the cavy just suddenly and unexpectedly dies. Or signs could include discharge from the nose or eyes, wheezing and tiredness. If you suspect a respiratory problem bring him to your vet for antibiotics.

Intestinal Infections

Next guinea pig diseases is intestinal infections. These infections can bring on sudden death without notice or it can be longer and less lethal. Bad bacteria can gain access to the intestines by contaminated food or water. There will be illness with diarrhea, tiredness and weight loss. An antibiotic approach is usually used by the vet.


Since they have stout compact bodies they can easily tolerate the cold. The heat is another story. Temperatures remaining above 90 degrees F can be fatal to them. Even though they don’t like wind if the temperature remains over 90 consider having a fan blow through their cage. They like the same temperature range humans like so if you are comfortable so is your cavy which is between 65 – 75 degrees F.

Head Tilt

If their head is tilted it can be torticollis (stiff neck) same as humans can get. This usually lasts just a day. Or it can be middle ear infection, which if you remember affects our balance, so if he’s having trouble walking take him to a vet for treatment.

Read: Tips For How to Take Care of a Sick Guinea Pig

Malocclusion of the Premolar Teeth or Slobbers is a common guinea pig diseases. Guinea pig – that is over the age of 3 years – contracts this disease when the upper premolar and the lower premolar teeth meet inappropriately while it chews. As time goes by, the problem results in the teeth wearing abnormally from the disease. Guinea pig then sustains entrapment and also injury to its tongue and this becomes continuous. The animal tries it utmost to eat and is unfortunate when chewing and swallowing its food. Drooling is the result of the disease. Guinea pig weight loss becomes dramatic. When one suspects this condition in their pet, a veterinarian has to be consulted immediately. The Guinea pig’s mouth will be examined and this will confirm a diagnosis. To correct this problem it will involve anesthesia and trimming or/and filing of the teeth. The procedure is difficult because of the small mouth of the guinea pig. Before and after the procedure, the guinea pig will have to be force fed and antibiotics are necessary. Unfortunately, a permanent solution cannot be found to solve this problem, but periodic filing and trimming is necessary.

The Scorbutis and Scurvy – lack of vitamin C – Disease. Guinea Pig cannot produce its own vitamin C and because of this an adequate amount must be supplied apart from food servings. A lack of vitamin C results in scurvy, and this is characterized when the ribs and joints pain, the development of the teeth and bone is poor, unwilling to move, and bleeding from the gums. Vitamin C is included in formulated diets to prevent this disease. Guinea pig being exposed to dampness, heat and light will result in the reduction of vitamin C in their blood. Even though your guinea pig is fed reliable diets, it could still lead to scurvy, because the content of vitamin C is either lost or is reduced. You should contact a veterinarian once this disease is suspected so that a vitamin C program can be prescribed and the disease cured.

Thinning of the hair or hair loss is known to be a common guinea pig diseases of the female sex contract. During each pregnancy these sexes lose their hair and it is frequently seen among the juveniles. Another result of hair loss is caused by barbering, and this “bad habit” starts when they chew the coats of those guinea pigs whose social order is lower. As a result, younger guinea pigs can lose great amounts of hair. Another reason for hair loss can also be caused by another disease. Guinea pig can contract parasite infestation and also fungal disease.

Heat Stroke or Heat Stress is another guinea pig diseases is susceptible to. This is contractible especially to those guinea pigs that are heavily furred or/and overweight. Temperatures that exceed 85 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity anywhere above 70%, not enough ventilation and shade, stress and over crowding are additional factors. The signs of heat stroke before death include weakness, panting, refuse to move around, slobbering convulsions and delirium. Heat stroke in guinea pigs can be treatable, if the sign are recognized very early. Guinea pigs that are heat-stressed should be bathed or sprayed with cool water. Once this is achieved, a veterinarian is to be immediately contacted. Provide enough shade for guinea pigs if you house them outdoors and provide enough ventilation if your guinea pig is housed indoors. Having a device spraying a continuous mist of water within the guinea pig’s enclosure will help lower the air temperature.

Read: Baby Guinea Pig Care – Beginner’s Basic Guide

Cervical Lymphadentis or Lumps is a guinea pig diseases contract beneath the lower jaw and the upper neck. This is usually the cause when foods such as hay hurt the lining of the mouth or when the skin over the Lymphadentis nodes is penetrated by shallow wounds. A veterinarian can determine the culture of the pus with antibiotic testing and then determine which antibiotic will be suitable for the injection to cure the disease a guinea pig is vulnerable to.

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