Guinea pigs need their regular checkups just like us! There are a few important things to consider when checking your guinea pig. Because cavies are prey animals, in the wild they wouldn’t show if they were sick until it was too late, otherwise a predator would pick them out very quickly. This is why our piggies need to be checked regularly to see if they are trying to hide something.
☘Things that need to be done every week!☘
Weighing your guinea pig
Weight loss is sometimes the first indication that something is wrong. Fluctuations in weight aren’t a problem, but if you notice an unusual drop, you must weigh your piggie each day to check that it is not continual.
If the weight loss becomes serious, you must seek a vet for further advice and to find out what is wrong. Make sure you cover all the possible options. Dental problems can sometimes be a cause of weight loss as chewing can become painful or uncomfortable.
Just as weight loss is an issue, weight gain can be serious too. You know that saying, killing by kindness. Overeating means that guinea pigs aren’t getting enough nutrition in their diets. Lack of nutrition makes them hungry because their body is telling them to eat more to get enough nutrients to sustain them. This in turn, leads to weight gain.
Another cause of weight gain is usually lack of exercise while sitting on good diet of grass, veggies, pellets and hay. No matter how well the diet is, your piggie is going to put on weight if he or she is not getting sufficient exercise in its day. Obesity leads to diabetes and a whole host of other problems!
A guinea pigs eyes should be glossy and round- the sign of a healthy eye!
Milky white fluid is also a sign of a healthy eye because it is a natural substance that your piggie secretes to keep the eye clear so they don’t need to blink. Some cavies have visible droopy lower lids full of white fluid and some don’t.
What to look for: signs of irritation in the eye including puffed up lids, visible irritation like redness, swollen or protruded eyes. Hay or debris stuck in the eye should be removed with caution. If you suspect that something is gotten in its eye you should take your piggie to the vet and get it flushed out. Other times, eye problems can be a symptom of something else that needs to be diagnosed.
Some guinea pigs have naturally red or ruby eyes, this is not a problem!
A guinea pig’s teeth grow continuously, all the time! This is because they are chewing consistently on their hay, pellets and whatever else they can get. In order to keep their teeth down, guinea pigs must have something to chew on at all times- wooden branches and toys.
If you suspect that your guinea pigs teeth are too long or chipped, the vet can trim off the ends for you quite easily.
To check inside the mouth, press both fingers on each side of the jaw. Your guinea pigs mouth will be gently forced open and you can see whether there are any signs of infection (cheilitis) or chipped, broken or misaligned teeth. Note: you will not be able to see the molars at the back. Only a vet with a light and specialized equipment.
I’ve written a whole article on how to clean your guinea pigs grease gland but I’ll touch up on it briefly. You may not even have realized they even had a grease gland because its usually covered up with fur!
The grease gland is located on the base of the tail, as you can see by the picture. However, when you clip away the hair around it and take a look, you’ll see that its either clean, or covered in dried yellow/black grease. If it is clean then you are lucky to have a guinea pig with an nonactive gland, it will only need to be cleaned every now and again. However, if your piggie has an active grease gland- you will need to clean it every three weeks. Depending on how mucky it gets.
If you don’t clean it, it may become infected and will feel uncomfortable for your piggie. You will need 100% pure coconut oil, critter friendly shampoo, a wet cloth and some water. See instructions HERE.