Your new guinea pigs are very delicate creatures and are prone to all sorts of diseases and infections. Some of these health problems are unique to guinea pigs, while others can also affect humans. You're probably already familiar with pneumonia, but many people don't know that guinea pigs can also get this condition. Here are five things you need to know about guinea pigs and pneumonia.
What is pneumonia?
Pneumonia is a lung infection that causes swelling of the air sacs inside the lungs. These air sacs fill with either pus or another fluid, and this makes it hard for your guinea pigs to breathe.
What are the signs of pneumonia?
Guinea pigs are well-known for their ability to hide sicknesses, so you'll need to pay close attention to your pets to realize that something is wrong. You may notice that your guinea pig isn't eating or drinking and isn't running around and playing. As the condition worsens, your pet won't be able to hide their sickness, and you'll notice that they are sneezing, coughing, and having trouble breathing.
How do guinea pigs get pneumonia?
Pneumonia is caused by bacteria. A few different types of bacteria can be responsible, including adenoviruses, which are responsible for the common cold in humans. Guinea pigs can pick up these bacteria from other guinea pigs at pet stores, so your pets may have already been sick when you bought them. If you recently had a cold or another respiratory infection, you may have passed the bacteria to your pets.
Can pneumonia kill guinea pigs?
Pneumonia is a very serious condition. According to the Merck Vet Manual, pneumonia is the most common cause of death in guinea pigs. Death can occur suddenly, so if you think your guinea pig has pneumonia, you need to see an emergency vet right away. Prompt treatment could be the difference between life and death.
How do vets treat pneumonia?
Pneumonia is treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics are an effective treatment, but only if they're safe for your pets. Many types of antibiotics are deadly to guinea pigs, so make sure to see a vet that has experience in treating these delicate animals. Amoxicillin is commonly prescribed, but it's deadly, as are all other penicillin-based drugs.
Pneumonia doesn't just affect people; it can also affect guinea pigs. If you think your guinea pigs have pneumonia, make sure to see a professional vet, like those at North Lexington Veterinary Clinic, right away.