There are various types of guinea pig problems, some of which may be serious enough to require veterinary care. Gastrointestinal illness is common among pet guinea pigs, as is fur plucking. In some guinea pigs, self mutilation by picking at fur and skin can result in infection. This may occur from inactivity or boredom, inadequate diet or poor housing conditions. Guinea pig problems may also involve infestation of mites, which may be transmitted from one rodent to another.
Guinea pigs are common house pets, and although they tend to be hardy they are susceptible to certain ailments. One of the most common guinea pig problems is bloat and diarrhea. This may be due to bacterial infection or parasites. Whatever the cause, severe diarrhea in a guinea pig may lead to life-threatening dehydration. An oral hydration solution is necessary in such a case, and modification of diet may also be recommended.
When a guinea pig's diet is abruptly changed, the animal may stop eating altogether. Guinea pig problems related to anorexia may also be life threatening. This condition is not unusual in guinea pigs, and rapid weight loss may be fatal if intervention is not sought. A veterinarian may recommend blood tests to rule out the presence of disease.
It's not uncommon for guinea pig problems to involve dental issues. Guinea pigs with overgrown molars may suffer nutritional deficiencies due to the animal's reluctance to eat. In such a case, the veterinarian may find it necessary to trim the rodent's teeth. Veterinarians use special instruments to examine and trim the guinea pig's incisor teeth.
Pet owners who have older guinea pigs may notice a foul odor from the rectal area of the animal. This may be due to what is known as rectal impaction due to soft stools, a condition common in older rodents. Gentle cleansing may help remove fecal matter surrounding the rectal area. In some cases, however, the guinea pig may need to be treated by a veterinarian.
Respiratory diseases such as pneumonia are common in older guinea pigs, or animals with an existing medical condition. Bacterial pneumonia may be fatal if not treated promptly. When two or more guinea pigs are housed in one cage, the infection may spread rapidly among the rodents. It is essential to disinfect cages and feeding dishes regularly to prevent the spread of disease among pet guinea pigs.