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View Full Version : Lethargy Lethargic guinea pig - can they get ammonia poisoning?



chicagojo
11-24-14, 03:12 pm
Hi, I'm new here! My 'tween daughter has two female guinea pigs who are about 6 months old and she is pretty much 100% independent in taking care of them. She has been sick for a few days and has not been able to care for her guinea pigs as she usually does. I know she usually cleans their cage on Sundays but yesterday she was too sick to do it and this morning when I went in her room one of them seemed unusually lethargic (laying down inside the hut with her eyes half-closed). I noticed the cage smelled strongly of ammonia and there was also a ton of poop EVERYWHERE, not just in the litter pan area (they are pretty well litter trained). I don't really know how she normally cleans the cage but I did the best I could - took everything out, wiped down the base of the cage, put in a fresh liner, bedding, water, litter stuff. After that little Oreo perked up for a while and now seems less lethargic, but still not quite her usual self. She is usually much more hyper than her sister but she is just kind of hanging out in the hut being very mellow. I don't want to worry my daughter because she already isn't feeling well and since she's only had the guinea pigs for 6 months we haven't dealt with any illness yet or anything so I don't think she would know what to do anyway so I'm turning here. Is it possible that Oreo could have gotten sick from the cage getting too dirty? If so, what else can I do to help her feel better aside from having cleaned the cage? I might also be making a big deal out of nothing because admittedly I am not usually in her room that much during the day so for all I know Oreo is always chill all day and hyper at night but she has me a little worried so if anyone can offer advice or reassurance, I'd appreciate it!

Geranium
11-24-14, 04:38 pm
It's possible they could have a URI, it's their pee that breaks down into ammonia. Refer to guinealynx to see if they show similar symptoms: http://www.guinealynx.info/uri.html

Kelsie
11-24-14, 04:38 pm
Welcome to the forum. I'm so sorry that your first post had to be of a medical problem. It doesn't seem to me that Oreo would have gotten sick from a dirty cage unless it was horribly bad. That does not seem to be the case here. Have you checked her abdomen to make sure that she isn't bloated? Have you noticed her eating and drinking?

What is normal behavior for my pigs is they are very active in the morning and around 11:00 PM they go into their respective hideys and sleep until around 4:00 PM. My pigs are pretty much creatures of habit. So I can quickly tell if something is off with them.

I wish I had some good advice for you but all I can say is just monitor Oreo closely and don't wait too long if you feel a veterinarian visit is in order. Piggies go down hill very quickly.

I'll keep Oreo in my thoughts and hope she is back to happy little self by tonight.

chicagojo
11-24-14, 04:54 pm
It's possible they could have a URI, it's their pee that breaks down into ammonia. Refer to guinealynx to see if they show similar symptoms: http://www.guinealynx.info/uri.html


Thank you! So far she does not seem to have these symptoms and just gobbled down a carrot that I offered her but it is good to know what to look for! I will keep guinealynx bookmarked - it seems like a good resource.

chicagojo
11-24-14, 04:57 pm
Welcome to the forum. I'm so sorry that your first post had to be of a medical problem. It doesn't seem to me that Oreo would have gotten sick from a dirty cage unless it was horribly bad. That does not seem to be the case here. Have you checked her abdomen to make sure that she isn't bloated? Have you noticed her eating and drinking?

What is normal behavior for my pigs is they are very active in the morning and around 11:00 PM they go into their respective hideys and sleep until around 4:00 PM. My pigs are pretty much creatures of habit. So I can quickly tell if something is off with them.

I wish I had some good advice for you but all I can say is just monitor Oreo closely and don't wait too long if you feel a veterinarian visit is in order. Piggies go down hill very quickly.

I'll keep Oreo in my thoughts and hope she is back to happy little self by tonight.

Thank you so much! She does not seem to be bloated and I have definitely seen her eating hay earlier and a carrot just now so maybe I am just being paranoid. I did call a local small animal vet (discovered that luckily there is one less than a mile away!) and book an appt for tomorrow just in case she is seeming worse by then. Will continue to keep a close eye on her.

What is an ideal room temp for guinea pigs? We are having crazy weather fluctuations here and I wonder if my daughter's room is getting too cold for their comfort?

aqh88
11-24-14, 05:08 pm
They are generally comfortable in the temps humans are without having to put on a lot of clothes. Swinging temps though are bad for everyone's respiratory health.

Kelsie
11-24-14, 05:22 pm
They definitely do better in a room that is cooler rather than too warm. I keep the room my pigs are in at 67 degrees.

pinky
11-24-14, 05:42 pm
You might want to consider keeping the cage in a room of the house where there's a lot of activity. That way, more than one person can keep an eye on them and note any changes in behavior.

A cage that smells of ammonia could have a lot of bacteria which can lead to an infection. I think you're doing the right thing by taking her to the vet to be checked.