View Full Version : Symptoms of heat stroke?

06-08-08, 12:26 am
Can someone please tell me the symptoms of a piggie with heat stroke? I did a search, but I couldn't find anything- I probably wasn't doing something right cause I know it's probably here somewhere! My boys are fine now, but it gets pretty hot here and their air conditioner isn't working right and I just want to know what to watch out for! And if I notice any symptoms, I'd take them to the vet right away, of course, but is there anything I can do in the meantime?

06-11-08, 12:50 pm
Rapid breathing, eating less or not at all, drinking more, drooling, trying to find a cool spot to get to or acting restless. More severe signs are being limp, unresponsive or hot to the touch.

Temperatures over 80F can cause heat stress or heat stroke. If you notice a pig with signs of heat issues, immediately put them into a bath of cool, NOT cold water and try to get their temperature down slowly. Do not put ice in the water as it will lower the temperature too rapidly and you will find your pig going into shock. Also you would call a vet immediately for emergency treatment.

Sorry you didn't get a reply earlier but I just now saw your thread.

06-11-08, 04:06 pm
If your air conditioner isn't working right you could also put ice packs wraped in towels in the cage with them.

06-11-08, 09:08 pm
Thanks, Ly...that's exactly what I wanted to know! I was hoping for an answer from you!

Wheek Weak
06-13-08, 10:06 am
I agree, Ly's great for good help!

We also have a not-so-great air conditioner in the piggys' room. It's not the air conditioners fault, it's just that it gets so hot in that room that the AC can't keep up with it.

When our pigs show signs of heat stress such as: not eating as much as usual, digging under the fleece to find a cool spot, or just looking uncomfortable...we put frozen water bottles in the cages with them, turn on the AC, and dip them in lukewarm water to cool them off a little. We don't dry them with a blow dryer...we just towel them off and leave their hair a bit damp to help keep them cool.

You want to be careful about any wind/air/breeze blowing directly on them (for instance...from a fan, open window, or AC). You don't want a URI to occur while trying to prevent heat stress/stroke.

06-13-08, 11:10 am
There are lots of old threads on how to keep pigs cool if you want to do a search.

06-15-08, 01:55 am
I lost a guinea pig to heat stroke once - it is a very heartbreaking thing to have to watch. This is the most useful page I have found for the issue: The Peter Gurney Guinea Pig Pages - Heat Stroke (http://www.oginet.com/pgurney/heatstroke.htm). The Peter Gurney webpage has lots of helpful info on guinea pig health issues. Basically what I learned is this: if your guinea pig is listless, breathing rapidly, and hot to the touch, it is very important that you cool him off immediately; there is no time to visit a vet, although giving the vet a call would probably be good (when it happened to my pig sadly it was Sunday and the vet was closed, and our small town didn't have an emergency vet clinic). You can do this by laying him on a cool surface and giving him a sponge bath, wrapping him in cool washcloths, or lightly spraying him with water, and I've read turning a fan on him can also help. By the time your pig is showing these signs of actual heat stroke he is in a very critical condition and taking these steps may or may not work. If it's not too late eventually he will start making efforts to get back on his feet. When he succeeds the danger is mostly past, but it is still important to keep him cool (so I've read). As Ly mentioned, it is very important that you don't at any point in this make him TOO cold as it will just worsen the situation. Unfortunately for my sweet Charlie it was too late.

I should also mention that I have also had a piggie die of an insect bite (I think it was a spider, possibly a black widow since we'd seen them around our house). At first I confused his symptoms with heat stroke because he was also listless and panting. I did all the steps - put him in a cool dark room, turned a fan on him, gave him a sponge bath, even cut his hair since it due for a trim - except after a while he also started having spasms which got increasingly worse and more frequent until at last he passed away. This was even more unbearable than the piggie with heat stroke, but at the time I didn't know the difference. Later I found out that insect bites can cause paralysis and spasms. (This was again on a Sunday so I couldn't take him to the vet). I just wanted to point out that the two look a lot alike so you don't end up treating your pig for the wrong thing like I did.

Hope this helps!

06-15-08, 05:30 pm
Gurney was a breeder and his methods are old school. He didn't trust in modern medicine.

Guinea Lynx :: A Medical and Care Guide for Your Guinea Pig (http://www.guinealynx.info/) is a better website reference.

06-15-08, 09:51 pm
Jitterbug-thanks for the info and so very sorry about your sweet Charlie. I can't even imagine how awful that must have been! And that's really awful about the spider bite death, too, considering I worry about that all the time cause you never know where a spider might pop up!

06-16-08, 11:56 am
Didn't know that about Gurney. Lynx does look like a much better site; however I didn't see anything on there about heat stroke, which is unfortunate since it's such a danger to heat-sensitive piggies. After a quick browse, I couldn't really find any other authoritative pages on piggy health and heat stroke specifically, but I did remember a couple other tips I've read that might help: dipping the pig's feet in cool water, and getting the pig to drink lots of water as soon as possible, either as soon as possible or by force-feeding with a syringe. I'm not a vet so I don't know how or if the force-feeding would work, but when I was treating Charlie, I would hold his water-bottle to his lips and occassionally he would drink, and it seemed to help (though not enough in the end, sadly).

06-16-08, 12:22 pm
It's not on the main site itself that I've found but there are threads on the gl forums about heat stroke.