First Aid for Guinea pigs

first-aid-for-guinea-pigsAre you prepared for anything that may happen to your beloved pets? Will you have the right things on hand for emergencies, cuts, scrapes and sicknesses. In this list is everything you need to kit together for first aid for guinea pigs!

While vets are always the best option, sometimes it can be handy to have a few items on hand just in case something goes wrong. There are also a few conditions like lice or mites that can be treated by you without the unnecessary vet bills, plus a few odd items that can be of use in the case of an emergency.


Basic care items

Emergency care Items

Critical care is an essential in every guinea pig owners medical kit. It contains all the essential nutrients to boost a sick guinea pig and has been known to save lives. It is used for guinea pigs who can’t or won’t eat;  as guinea pigs need to eat all the time, it is hugely important that they get fluids down them as soon as possible. If they don’t eat within 24 hours they can start to shut down and die.

first-aid-for-guinea-pigs-1Ivermec is the most highly recommended treatment for mites or lice.  If you look through your guinea pig’s coat you can sometimes see lice running around as yellow or black dots. Mites unfortunately cannot be seen but the symptoms are easy to spot- excessive itching and hair loss. Sometimes sores if your guinea pig has been itching hard enough 🙁

It can be brought over the counter at a vets clinic or online.

If your guinea pig needs to be kept warm, a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel or a heating pad can be a lifesaver!

Never stick anything down a guinea pigs ear, one drop of oil inside the ear should clean it out and you can gently use a cotton tip to clean around the outside of the ear.

first-aid-for-guinea-pigs-2Guinea pigs are notorious for getting hay poke which irritates their eyes. Watch out for weepy discharge and irritation of the eyelids and eyes. This is when an eyedropper and some eye wash can be very handy for soothing the eye until you can see the vet.

Sometimes guinea pigs can develop skin allergies which can be caused by shavings, or irritating washing powder in their fleece bedding. This is when skin care creams can become very handy!

Often, first aid kits tend to fill themselves up over time as you become more knowledgeable and gain experience. Trips to the vet may reward you with antibiotics, ointments and anti-bacterial and anti-fungal creams to add to your collection and the instructions with when and how to use them. Make sure you check the expiry date and throw out anything that gets past it.

Visiting your vet

first-aid-kit

Not all vets know about the dangerous list of substances that some medications contain. Bring this list in with you on your first visit and make sure that your vet knows and understands not to use or prescribe anything with the items on this list…

Amoxicillin

Ampicillin

Ampicillin

Bacitracin

Cefadroxil

Cephalexin

Cephalosporins

Cephazolin

Chlortetracycline

Chlortetracycline

Clindamycin

Clindamycin

Dihydrostreptomycin

Erythromycin

Erythromycin

Lincomycin

Lincomycin

Oxytetracycline

Penicillin

Streptomycin

Tetracycline

Tylosin

Vancomycin




first-aid-for-guinea-pigs-3When choosing a vet, make sure you find one that specializes in exotic animals. While guinea pigs may not seem like an exotic pet, many dog/cat vets often don’t see guinea pigs on a regular basis and don’t know how to treat them properly. It is important to establish a relationship with your vet so that you will both know exactly what to do if something goes wrong.

First aid for guinea pigs is just as important as for cats and dogs, don’t wait until it’s too late!

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8 thoughts on “First Aid for Guinea pigs

  • October 26, 2016 at 6:31 am
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    Hi Emma
    I’ve found that so many people don’t comb their Guinea Pigs. Talking about the long haired variety in particular of course.
    Have you reviewed and compared which brushes are best? I’d love to see a comparative rating.
    I must admit I’ve never thought of weighing my Guinea Pig. I just kind of eyeball its progress. But that is a helpful tip.
    Thanks

    Reply
    • October 26, 2016 at 6:58 am
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      Hi Keith

      Yes, weight loss is one of the first signs that something is wrong, sometimes the only sign! Unfortunately it isn’t enough just to look at them so I would weight your guinea pig every week to be certain.

      Yep it is amazing how many people don’t groom their guinea pigs properly! I feel guilty if I miss out one day! Have you thought about getting your one a friend? 🙂

      Reply
  • October 26, 2016 at 6:35 am
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    Hi there,

    Excellent go to list for first aid for guinea pigs. I have been thinking about getting one for my kids. They would love to have one of these as their new furry friend.

    I am going to bookmark this page so that I can refer to it in time if need. Also thanks for the heads up on information to provide for our vet. This will be helpful.

    What are some emergencies that I must take our guinea pig to the vet for without trying to remedy it at home?

    -Jonathan

    Reply
    • October 26, 2016 at 6:56 am
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      Hi Jonathan!

      This is great! I hope these new furry animals will give your children as much pleasure as they have done for me 🙂 My first piece of advise to you is to to get two, not one so that they won’t get depressed and lonely! You will need to make sure that they get checked up on to make sure that they don’t have any lumps…

      Abscesses which will require draining at the vet

      Sores around the mouth need to be tested for the right treatment to be given

      Anything abnormal like

      -being lethargic

      -not eating

      -weight loss (weigh your guineas every week)

      -sores on mouth or nose

      -head tilt

      -limping

      -impaction of the genitals

      It is always a good idea to check your piggies over every day to make sure they are healthy and not hiding anything. Guinea pigs usually hide their illnesses until it is too late because in the wild a predator might spot them and target a poorly pig.

      Reply
  • October 27, 2016 at 12:16 pm
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    This information isn’t only helpful for guinea pig owners, but also for the vets. At the clinic where I work, we see mostly dogs and cats and whenever a guinea pig comes in, we have to scour the books for treatment options. That list of antibiotics will help us to be better prepared. Thank you.

    Reply
    • October 27, 2016 at 6:45 pm
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      Fantastic! I’m so glad that I could help you out 🙂

      Reply
  • November 4, 2016 at 12:15 am
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    I found this article so helpful! I know my guinea pigs used to always get hay poke. But we never took them to the vet, we usually let them ride it out. But we were new to the whole guinea pig experience and didn’t realize it was a serious condition. Wish I knew about rinsing their eyes out for relief. Though I am glad I never had to deal with lice. We did have one guinea pig who refused food for a long time, she didn’t like taking puree through the “shot” device the vet recommended. Any other suggestions for feeding sick guinea pigs who do not want to eat?

    Reply
    • November 4, 2016 at 1:05 am
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      Food refusal is a serious symptom because guinea pigs need to eat almost constantly everyday to wear their teeth down. If the vet has ruled out dental problems and all the other possible causes, it is anorexia which is loss of appetite due to either stress, reaction to medications or a change of environment.

      All that I can recommend is to keep a packet of critical care at home for emergencies like this. After a couple of weeks of taking this, she should start to gain some appetite. Bearing in mind that if a guinea pig is not eating then she will need her teeth clipped by the vet every few days as teeth grow constantly.

      Reply

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