Guinea Pigs! Questions and Answers

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

I have just added this page because I have been getting questions from you Guinea Pig lovers out in internet land. I figured if one person has a question others probably have similar questions. I am not a veteranarian but i do have quite a bit of experience with Guinea Pigs.

If you have a question please go to the bottom of the page and send me an email. I will try and respond a quickly as possible.

Yes, I admit this page has gotten messy. Bear with me now and I hope to get a more user friendly format soon.


QUESTION

Your web site was very informative thanks. I do have a question that I couldnt find the answer to on your site. I have a female 4 y.0 piggy that looks so much like your OTTO. She's been alone for about 3 years, Her mate died ;-(

Anyway, she's had several resperatory infections that I've been successful in curing for her by giving her bird antibiotics from the pet store. Over the past few months she's developed a wheeze and its continual. I dont know what it is from.. she has no other side effects. I dont know exactly how long piggys live so Im not sure if its from her age or not. I watch the bedding that I put in her cage because she is very sensitive to the ceder chips. I have pellets available and water at all times. It is summer and she is in air conditioning.. I moved her from a very warm spot to an area that is a consistant temperature, not directly in the sun, not directly in an air conditioned room. Im thinking that she's getting old and had developed a condition?? But I dont know for sure. My husband smokes, and I was thinking also that maybe she's developed Asthma from the second hand smoke.. even though she's not directly explosed to the smoke.. but its in the house. Any info would be greatly appreciated. I just want to make sure that she's not suffering... thanks

ANSWER

Im glad you liked my site! I hope i can help with your piggies problem.

Guinea Pigs seem to have a weak pulminary tract (lungs). It would be a good thing if your pig didnt get any second hand smoke. If there was some way this could be avoided it would be best.

Second you shouldnt use cedar chips because that lovely smell is actually a natural pesticide given off by the tree for protection. This is very bad for a guinea pig (or any animal) . This is why you can put cedar blocks in your closit to keep out moths. I use pine chips which can be purchased at K-mart (ya i know lol) but you can get a bail size for only $5. This is really inexpensive. Also allow a few minutes after changing the cage so the dust can settle! Pet stores here also sell recycled newspaper and corncob chips that work well but seem to be expensive.

Third, if piggie is in a small cage or an aquarium mold can grow and amonia can build up from the urine. If she is in a small cage it is important to change often, and it is good to let them run around every day outside the cage(builds up the lungs). Put towels down for safety.

Fourth, piggie can be allergic to their food! Believe it or not Otto was allergic to alfalfa. He would wheeze and have runny eyes. We would give him childrens decongestant with a syringe and it seemed to help. (be careful about dosage if you do this! It only takes a little!) We found out because i am allergic to alfalfa too and i was having a bad week and we removed the alfalfa to help. Ottos symptoms stopped too!

Fifth, air conditioning isnt a problem. In fact it seems to help prevent heat stroke as they get older (over 4 years). Some of my pigs are house broken and when they hear the AC come on they run over to the vent to get in the cold air lol. But, if piggie has a resperatory problem drafts should be avoided. In fact drafts in general are bad news.

Sixth, orange (red) haired guinea pigs are susseptable to tumors. Often times these can be close to the lungs and can cause breathing difficulty. Our pig Sam had to be put to sleep for this reason.

Be careful about giving antibiotics to piggie. Some can kill them. I would recommend using the decongestant first for a few days and see if things dont clear up. Make sure there is lots of water. Guinea pigs seem to get sick, and get well, very quickly.

Guinea pigs typically live 4 to 6 years. I have heard some living over 8! My pigs are fed extremly healthy and get lots of excersize but its rare that one makes it past 6 :-(

Guinea pigs are herd animals and prefer to be with lots of friends, so if you only have one piggie make sure you give her lots of attention. This will help her health and longevity.


QUESTION

do you answer stuff like this? because i need to know when my guinea pig is mature she's only seven weeks i think. today though i think she's 8 weeks

ANSWER

When guinea pigs are young you will notice that their ears stick up and adult guinea pigs ears flap down. That is typically the best way to tell how old they are when they are young, but you already know how old yours is so...

Guinea pigs reach sexual maturity at about 8 weeks which means they can contribute to or have babies! Guinea pigs are fully grown at about 8 months which is why if you want a female to have babies she should mate before then or her hips will "fuse" in a narrow position and it will be very dangerous for her to have babies after this.


QUESTION

Thanks, but now i have anther prob. it seems my sisters guinea pig has not really crusty stuff but not not crusty stuff could she be in heat she's an agouti 8 weeks of age .HELP!!! ps im not a first timer just ive never had female g pigs thanx!!!!

ANSWER

You didnt say where the crusty stuff was. If it is on her bottom it could be an over active sebatious gland. It is kinda round and it is located about where you would expect a tail to be if guinea pigs had external tails. This is not a problem and can be washed with a warm washcloth and just a very little bit of soap. Be sure to rinse and dry! It is typically males who get this though.

IF the crustyness is around the anal area it might be that piggie is sitting in wet chips. Changing the cage more often (no cedar chips!) and/or a bigger house whould help.

If the crusty stuff is around the eyes or nose piggie probably has a cold or allergies. Make sure piggie is eating because that is the major danger of them getting sick. IF they stop eating their stomach shuts down because it works like a fermentation tank. Allergies are sometimes harder to figure out. Some pigs are allergic to wood chips and i had one piggie that was alergic to alfalfa! His own food. We might never have found it out except i was having a bad allergy week myself and we took it out of his box and he got better too.


QUESTION

Hi. I can't find an answer on the web to this question, maybe you can help. My guinea pig, who I have had for 1 1/2 years chirped loudly, like a bird the other day. Like a bird! Have you heard of this? thanks in advance.

ANSWER

A guinea pig chirp like you are describing can be equated to a human scream. My guess is something new to the area might have scared her.

I have two guinea pigs that get along ok, but one is very dominant over the other. When there is a bit of competition for food one lunges a bit and pretends to bite the other. The attacked piggie will chirp loudly and move away.

If you have two piggies and you are noticing chirps often from their house you should monitor them closely to make sure they are not fighting and hurting each other. Often a larger house solves the problem.


QUESTION

My guinea pig might be pregnant and I am afraid there will be problems.

ANSWER

As for pregnant guinea pigs typically the only problem is if the female gets pregnant AFTER 8 months (or full grown). Their hips fuse into a narrow position and the babies cant get through the birth canal. If you suspect this you should consult a vet because it is likely that the mother and babies will die (sorry).

If your female is under 8 months old there should be no problems. I have had many females give birth and there has never been a complication, and Taffy actually had a litter of 7!! Just make sure that starting about day 65 you keep the cage extra clean for the arrival. If you havent witnessed a guinea pig birth before it is a very messy affair. It is usually best to let the mother do everything because she knows what to do.

After about an hour things will be all finished and there will be what looks like quite a bit of blood on the chips but it really isnt much. The babies will dry off in about an hour or so and can safely be picked up. However, do not hold them too long and if mom starts squeeking put the baby back immediatly.

As for what to expect about piggie baby development check out the information page and click on babies.


QUESTION

How do you determine the sex of a guinea pig? The people at the pet store can't tell me if the pig i want is a boy or a girl.

ANSWER

This is a little difficult without a picture but here goes...

The female will have a "Y" shape bald spot in the anus area and will appear to have only one hole in the in the area.

The male will have an anus and a circular area just forward of it. If you press down on the area just above (near the stomach) the penis will come out. If the guinea pig is older a rather large double sack, the scrotum, is very obvious.


QUESTION

hi, i just wanted to know how can i tell if my guinea oig is pregnant? everytime i touch my females belly she jerks? is she pregnant or sick? help!!!!!!!

ANSWER

It is difficult in the beginning to tell if a guinea pig is pregnant. The term of pregnancy is about 70 days and you piggie will show signs of increased girth in the back end the last 30 days.

Don't worry guinea pig babies are lots of fun and require no work on your part except for providing a larger cage and more food. The mother will take care of everything and most guinea pig fathers seem to really enjoy having a litter.

Guinea pigs will jerk when their stomachs are touched for the same reason you might...they are tickleish! Some piggies are sensitive on their rumps as well.


QUESTION

THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR THE INFO WE JUST BOUGHT OUR FIRST GUINEA PIG AND THE PET STORE COULD NOT TELL US IF IT IS A GIRL OR A BOY AND I READ SOMEWHERE THAT IF THEY ARE NOT PULLED APART AFTER THEY'VE BEEN WEANED THE GIRLS CAN GET PREGNANT AND WELL, THE ONE WE PICKED UP IS ON ABOUT A MONTH AND A HALF OLD SO , IS THERE A POSSIBILITY THAT IT COULD BE ?

ANSWER

Yes it is possible that piggie could be pregnant. You might say that Guinea Pigs are like rabbits in that regard. Guinea pigs have no defenses, except to run, so quick breeding is a survival technique. You say your piggie is about 6-7 weeks old so the chance of her being pregnant is much slimmer than say if she was 8 or more weeks old.

The good news is guinea pig babies are really fun and the only effort on your part is to provide a larger cage and more food for all the hungry mouths. Check out the babies section on the information page of my site for more info.


QUESTION

My guinea pig has hazy white spots on her eyes. Does this mean she is going blind?

ANSWER

A white hazy spot on the eye is likely a type of cateract or a dulling (or death) of the healthy eye tissue. It is likely that your piggie is experiencing impared vision or blindness. Sorry. The good news is if piggie dosent have to worry about preditors (i hope not!) all she has to worry about is finding food and a guinea pigs nose is very good at that! Keep an eye on her and make sure she is having no troubles finding food and water. Always talk to her as you approach so she knows its you and is in no danger.

One thing i found out about a few months ago is guinea pigs can be diabetic and its much more common than you would think. Our boy Ravenhawk might be diabetic as he is constantly drinking water. I believe diabedes (sp?) can cause blindness in humans so if your piggie was/is an excessive drinker that might be the cause.


QUESTION

When ever we pick up our guinea pigs they seem to be very nervous and shake a lot. Is this normal what different types of fruit should they eat? I have a white one, is it okay to give him a bath as she is getting dirty.

thankyou i look forward for hearing from you soon

ANSWER

My guinea pig Hunnybear shakes when you pick her up. I have found the more i pick her up the more comfortable she is and will eventually stop shaking. If i lst a few days go by and dont pick her up she shakes again. Often covering their heads will make them feel safe, or you can try having some of their favorite food with you when you hold her.

As far as food goes all guinea pigs are different. I had Emma who would eat almost anything including breaded fish, carpet and remote controls to Otto who would only eat carrots, romaine lettuce and pellets. The best thing is to experiment with a small portion of fruit. Make sure it is of quality, but sometimes guinea pigs like the part that you dont like such as apple cores and corn husks. My pigs enjoy romaine lettuce, grass (hand picked), green peppers, corn on the cob (with the husk), apple cores, carrots. I have listed several others under the food section on the information page. http://www.oocities.com/scottofish/information.html

IF your guinea pig is getting dirty you need a bigger cage and to clean it more often. Guinea pigs are naturally very clean animals but if they have to sit in a dirty house they will get stinky. Unless your piggie has long hair in which you should make sure the rump and bottom area is cut short. If piggie needs a jump start in getting clean the link above has information on bathing. Be VERY careful to dry piggie carefully and fully. They will catch cold, or worse, if left wet.



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