Guinea pigs are well known for hiding any signs that they're not feeling well, which makes it hard for you to know when your pig has a serious medical problem. By the time you notice a seemingly minor symptom like squinting or crusty discharge on their eyelids, your pig could already be at death's door. Here's what you need to know about upper respiratory infections in guinea pigs.
What are the signs of an upper respiratory infection?
At first, your pig won't show any signs of this infection. In the wild, guinea pigs are prey animals, so they need to hide all signs of sickness to avoid attracting a predator's attention. Your pet guinea pigs are safe from predators, but they still have this instinct, and will pretend to be healthy for as long as they can. Once they start feeling really sick, they'll show cold-like symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, or sniffling. You may also notice that they are squinting or have developed crust in the corners of their eyes.
What causes this infection?
Upper respiratory infections are caused by bacteria that get into your pig's lungs. This can happen if you don't clean their cage often enough, which allows bacteria from their feces and urine to build up. They can also catch the infection from another guinea pig.
How soon do you need to get to the vet?
if you suspect your guinea pig has an upper respiratory infection, you need to take your pet to a vet's office, like Denville Animal Hospital, immediately. if your regular vet is closed for the night or for the weekend, you need to go to an emergency vet clinic. This is important because your pig's health can deteriorate very quickly, and if you wait for your regular vet to be available, it may be too late.
How will thevet treat it?
Upper respiratory infections are treated with antibiotics; these are given in the form of either eye drops or pills. Guinea pigs are very delicate animals and can be seriously harmed or even killed by some antibiotics, so to be safe, take your pig to an emergency vet with experience treating these animals. If you can't find an emergency vet that knows a lot about guinea pigs, make sure that your pig isn't prescribed an antibiotic that will hurt them, such asstreptomycin or dihydrostreptomycin, two common antibiotics that can be fatal to guinea pigs.
Upper respiratory infections can kill your guinea pig, so if you notice any of the symptoms, see an emergency vet right away.