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Caring for Common Guinea Pig Diseases Naturally

Vet Talks 4 min read
Photo of three guinea pigs in different colors to illustrate a blog that talks about different guinea pig diseases.

Knowing the most common guinea pig diseases and their typical signs can help you be proactive with your little chomper. After all, caring for these adorable rodents requires lots of love and attention to any behavioral changes. Don’t let their size fool you!

Typical Signs of Guinea Pig Diseases

The guinea pig is a docile small exotic animal that is extremely affectionate but tends to be shy in some situations. They have learned from their ancestors, known prey in their natural habitat, to hide the signs that something is wrong. But these are a few behavioral changes that you should have in mind:

  • Appetite change 
  • Excessive licking 
  • Antisocial behavior with other bonded guinea pigs in the household
  • Prostration or lethargy
  • Lack of interest in surroundings
  • Weight loss 

They have learned from their ancestors to hide the signs that something is wrong.

If you notice any of these symptoms, don’t hesitate to seek a specialized veterinarian consultation. Once you have a confirmed diagnosis, natural supplements can help offer extra support. 

In the meantime, understand some of the most common conditions that can affect your guinea pig:

1. Urinary Stones in Guinea Pigs

Be cautious about your little piggy’s alfalfa hay intake! That’s because this ingredient is really high in calcium, one of the main causes of urinary stones in guinea pigs. Genetic predisposition also has an effect on your little one’s urinary health, seeing as urinary stones commonly affect female animals. Older piggies are also more prone to urinary stones.

Supplements for Guinea Pig Urinary Health

Stones can be painful, and surgical removal might be the only treatment option depending on the size. NHV Tripsy can offer extra kidney, bladder, and urinary tract support. You can add 0.5 mL of this herbal formula to your piggie’s food twice daily to help address urinary infections and aid in eliminating struvite stones and preventing struvite and oxalate calculi.

2. Guinea Pig Skin Issues Caused by Mites

Small rodents dealing with mites may present symptoms like itchiness, hair loss, prostration, and sometimes secondary bacterial skin infection. One of the two types of mites that can affect guinea pigs (Trixacarus caviae) requires immediate treatment as it can cause extreme clinical signs.

If your guinea pig is debilitated, the veterinarian may recommend hospitalization for supportive care. These natural topical and oral formulas can be helpful when used in combination with the vet-prescribed treatment:

Mite Support for Guinea Pigs

  • NHV Alge-Ex is an oral supplement that can be added to your guinea pig’s food to help with mite infection symptoms such as itching, scratching, and eye rubbing. 
  • NHV Ouch Away Spray is a topical glycerin-based spray that may help calm irritated skin. This natural formula also has ingredients that can help fight infections, wounds, or hair loss, in case of skin injury caused by excessive scratching. 

3. Dental Issues in Guinea Pigs

Photo of a person feeding a guinea pig a small green leaf to talk about guinea pig diseases.

Guinea pigs are prone to an oral condition called dental malocclusion. This happens when the upper and lower teeth don’t align, leading to a “bad bite.” This can cause the sharpy points of the top incisors teeth to hurt your furkiddo’s tongue. The pain can make it difficult for the rodent to drink, eat, chew, and/or swallow.

Dental issues can occur in guinea pigs due to a combination of these factors: 

  • Unbalanced diet 
  • Genetics
  • Trauma

The correct diagnosis of dental diseases in any pocket pet needs to be performed by a veterinarian. The treatment should include diet modification because soft diets low in crude fiber are usually the root cause. However, complementary care for general oral health with natural supplements can be a great path. 

Supplements Can Help Address Dental Issues

NHV Mouth Drops was vet-formulated to be applied directly to your pet’s teeth and gums to help promote overall oral health. This herbal blend helps combat bacterial infections of the mouth, guard against tooth decay and plaque, and promote freshness to the mouth.

If your little furriend is struggling to eat due to pain and inflammation, NHV Turmeric can help. This superfood has anti-inflammatory properties and can help address discomfort caused by buccal ulcers.

4. Guinea Pig Tummy Issues Caused Bacteria

Stressful situations, an abrupt change in diet, or the overuse of antibiotics can help develop enterotoxemia in your guinea piggie. Enterotoxemia is caused by the peak of bacteria growth in the gastrointestinal tract of your little one, especially Clostridium difficile

Natural Gut Support for All Pets

NHV TumFlora was vet-formulated to help promote healthy intestinal flora and for overall gut support. Some of the ingredients in this blend can help reduce inflammation and fight infections because of their antibacterial properties.

5. Ringworm Can Also Affect Your Piggie

Dermatophytosis is a fungal infection that affects your guinea pig’s fur, skin, and nails. This condition is also known as ringworm due to the circular shape of the skin lesions that it can cause. This uncomfortable skin issue can also lead to hair loss, skin redness, or inflammation.

Although this condition is not among the most common guinea pig diseases, the fungus responsible for the infection can also be transmitted to humans. So extra caution is needed when caring for a furkiddo with ringworm.

Ringworm Support for Guinea Pigs

NHV Felimm may support a guinea pig with dermatophytosis for its fungal-fighting properties. Felimm can be used in combination with NHV All Clear Ointment, a topical formula that may help heal inflamed, red, or itchy skin while also addressing fungal infections.

This species is popularized as a pet because guinea pigs adapt to small spaces and are great companions for people of all ages. We hope you can now see that these small animals need specific care, a healthy routine, and proactive support. Watching out for behavioral changes and maintaining a routine of visiting the vet can go a long way in preventing guinea pig disease. If you need any help, we are also always here for you and your little chomper!

Dr. Barbara Benitez DVM, MS

Dr. Barbara Benitez DVM, MS

Dr. Barbara is a veterinarian from Brazil with a specialty in pet nutrition. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Veterinary Medicine in 2006 from the University of Uberaba. In 2010, Dr. Barbara received her Master’s of Science in Pet Nutrition from the Federal University of Minas Gerais. She has over 15 years of experience in research and development in the pet food industry. When Barbara isn’t helping pet parents, you can find her spending time with her family, including her senior dog, Caze.

Published: March 8, 2023

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