View Full Version : Sick Guinea Pig Prone to Illness

11-21-14, 02:14 am
I have two guinea pigs- one is 10 months old, the other is 7 months. The younger one has always been more reserved and is not naturally becoming less terrified of me like my other pig- she spends most of her time hiding from me. I don't know if that has anything to do with this topic, but I thought I'd throw it out just in case. She also doesn't eat/drink nearly as much as my other.

I'm starting to think I got a naturally sickly guinea pig. When I first adopted her (from PetSmart), she had pneumonia and spent several weeks at the vet. After that, she seemed relatively healthy, other than her differing personality and eating habits. Two months ago (exactly), she stopped eating and we took her to the vet. We took her home with some antibiotics and then she was fine. However, again, only two months later, she's developed a URI. I'm giving her the old antibiotics until we can afford to take her to a vet. That's three vet visits in 7 months. My other guinea pig, 10 months old, has only been to the vet once, and that was just for a checkup. She's never gotten sick before. I'm not doing anything different for the two pigs, so I'm wondering why one is so sickly all the time and the other has never gotten sick. Is it possible that she just naturally has a weak immune system? What should I do? Vet bills are seriously expensive, and I can't keep this up.

11-21-14, 08:00 am
Is she seeing an exotic vet, or the PetSmart vet? While the visits may be more expensive, I'd definitely take her to an exotic vet -- Banfield vets are generally pretty terrible, and have very little experience with exotics.

Your younger pig may never have gotten over her initial infection, and may need a different antibiotic, or a combination of antibiotics, or even nebulization. She needs a vet who'll think outside the box and try something different.

I also wouldn't give her the old antibiotics. If you give antibiotics that have lost some of their potency, or don't give a full course of antibiotics, the organism that's causing the illness can develop a tolerance to the AB, making it less effective, and eventually, of no use to that pig.

Edited to add: This is also a case where I'd recommend supplementing with extra vitamin C. Most pigs don't need it if they have good diets, but it does help some pigs. One of my sows had lost some weight, and some hair, and wasn't her usual perky self. The vet couldn't find anything wrong, but insisted that I give her 30 mg. of vitamin C daily. I've done this for about a year now, and she's totally back to normal -- gained 200 grams, looks and feels better, hair grew back, etc. It's the only change I made, so I can only attribute the improvement to the vitamin C.

11-21-14, 08:36 am
I've never taken her to PetSmart for care, always an exotic vet. I'm well aware of PetSmart's general incompetency in the care of their own animals. When I take her to the vet I'll mention your comment on the different antibiotic. And I really didn't know what to do about the antibiotics; the bottle is only two months old, but I didn't know if it'd be more helpful or harmful. I decided that weak antibiotics were better than none for the time being, but I'll try to get her to a vet for a fresh dose ASAP.

Forgot to comment on your Vitamin C recommendation: I have a bottle of the drops, but I don't use it much because I find it kind of difficult to use, as in figure out ho many drops per food. I used to just put it in her water, but I've long since discovered through research that that's no good. I usually give her tablets, but I'm out at the moment. I'll use the drops though, I didn't realize lack of Vitamin C could make that big of a difference.

11-21-14, 09:21 am
Actually giving the a weak antibiotic can be harmful. It can help build resistance to antibiotics. I hate to say it but, guinea pigs can be expensive pets when it comes to vet bills. A lot of times they are an impulse buy that you think will be cheap, but when they get sick it can be a slippery slope of illness. I spent over $5,000 in one year on one pig, and spent about the same on another pig I had less than 3 months. Those two pigs cost me about half a years salary for myself. But, it's part of pet ownership.

ETA: I did have a large vet fund that I had built up, so while it was a huge part of my yearling earnings it was not as big a financial hit as it sounds. Building a vet fund is extremely important.

11-21-14, 09:25 am
I've used the drops, and it's not an exact science. I spread the veggies around on the plate, and tried to drop them evenly around. I also put more drops than recommended because some of them were not likely to get into the pig.

11-21-14, 09:58 am
ClemmyOddieIndy, yeah, my mom actually bought me a guinea pig as an impulse buy cause they're adorable little creatures. We then got a second because I discovered that they're prone to lonliness. So far they've been the most expensive pets we've ever had. I feel really bad because, since I'm still in high school, I can't do much to get my own money for them (some people can handle part time jobs along with school, but that path isn't for me), so it all ends up coming out of the family fund. Sometimes I wonder if it'd be better if she'd never gotten them, but they provide so much love and memories, it's hard to imagine not having them. Ah...

bpatters, I don't know, I've just always been concerned that they'll somehow eat around the drops, and like you said, it just won't get into them. I'll try using a bit more than 8 drops.