Guinea pigs that are fed well and kept clean rarely get ill. The most important thing that a guinea needs every day is Vitamin C.
A carrot a day keeps the vet away! A guinea pig that does not get enough vitamin C in its diet is more prone to infections, skin problems, and may even become lame. They may develop wasting disease and gradually fade away. A good diet, including some dry food that contains vitamin C is generally sufficient, but if you are not sure, particularly in the winter, you can add extra to the drinking water. Low sugar ribena or soluble vitamin C tablets are suitable for this purpose.
Help, my guinea pig is itchy and scabby!
The commonest condition that vets see is guinea pig mange. This is caused by a mite (invisible to the naked eye) that burrows under the skin and makes the guinea pig scratch his skin raw. The sooner this is treated the happier the guinea pig will be, and it is better to go straight to the vet who will give the guinea pig some special drops, either by mouth or injection, than try some shampoos first.
Help, my guinea pigs eye has gone a funny colour overnight!
The commonest eye problem is a corneal ulcer, a piece of hay may scratch the eye, or get stuck in the eye and damage the surface (cornea) causing the eye to go cloudy. Sometimes the piece of hay can be seen in the eye, it should be gently bathed out, and the guinea pig taken to the vet as he will need antibiotic eye drops to help the ulcer heal.
Any discharge or sneezing may suggest that your guinea pig has a cold. However, they can get hay stuck up their noses too! If they get a chest infection they can make a very loud rattly noise as they breathe, and they need to visit the vet as soon as possible.
Help, my guinea pig is off his food! The favourite hobby of guinea pigs is eating, and any guinea pig that does not want to eat should be taken very seriously. If a guinea pig does not eat, even for a day, then they are in danger of developing other complications, particularly in their liver.
Not eating may indicate a tooth problem, but may be because the guinea pig feels unwell for another reason. Please don't hesitate to take them to your vet for a check-up.