Common problems with guinea pigs
Guinea pigs are susceptible to parasite infestations and fungal infections.
Suspicious symptoms include irritable behaviour when the skin is touched, hair loss, thick dandruff, a scaly line down the nose, red skin and open wounds.
You can prevent parasite and fungal problems by using the correct bedding.
Good hygiene is also important.
Bathing your guinea pigs regularly, three or four times a year, will also help. Choose a shampoo that is specially formulated for guinea pigs. It’s important to keep your guinea pigs warm after their baths; they should be kept inside until they are completely dry.
Wood Green staff can give you more advice about bathing your guinea pigs.
If you notice a skin problem, please consult your vet. You may need a special shampoo or bathing may not be advisable while the condition persists.
Guinea pigs’ nails grow very quickly and need to be clipped every month. If left unclipped, the nails curl on to the pad of the foot, making walking extremely uncomfortable; this in turn can give rise to back and joint problems.
Wood Green staff will be happy to show you how to clip your guinea pigs’ nails.
Problems can occur if grass seeds become lodged in the eye. Plants with sharp edges (such as thistles) can also cause damage.
Check your guinea pigs’ eyes every day: if the eyes look blue and cloudy or watery, or if an eye is closed, take your guinea pig to the vet. Grass seeds can be removed fairly easily and your pet should recover in a few days once treated.
A good diet with plenty of roughage should keep your guinea pigs’ teeth in shape.
Although guinea pigs are less prone than other species to dental problems, you should still check their teeth regularly. Symptoms such as weight loss and a tendency to play with food could be caused by overgrown teeth. Consult your vet if you suspect problems.