Pneumonia infection is the leading cause of death in guinea pigs. Pet guinea pigs are safer as compared to the wild ones but still not completely secure. You need to know about the infection in detail so that you can keep your pet from catching any such bacteria. We have mentioned everything you would ever need to know about pneumonia infection to protect your pet.
Respiratory Disease (Pneumonia) in Guinea Pigs
Pneumonia or Streptococcus in guinea pigs is caused by pathogenic bacteria called streptococci pneumonia. These agents are highly responsible for the development of pneumonia symptoms in them. In the initial days, guinea pigs suffering from pneumonia infection do not show any external or physical signs. They appear to be healthy initially, and then the sudden onset of infection symptoms starts appearing.
You will notice that the infected guinea pig would suddenly stop eating and seems to be stressed that speeds up its journey to death. What’s even more dangerous is that this infection in guinea pigs is infectious to others. So, if a guinea pig is suffering from pneumonia, it can also infect other pigs by sneezing, coughing, or direct contact.
However, there are antibiotics available that can keep one guinea pig from affecting the other. But it is possible only in the case of early diagnosis of the infection. As mentioned above, they do not show symptoms initially, so it is quite tricky to control the disease.
What causes respiratory problems in guinea pigs?
Respiratory infection in the guinea pig is among the most significant diseases, the causing agents of which are bacteria-like streptococci pneumonia and Bordetella. If a guinea pig harbors any of these bacteria, it gets diagnosed with pneumonia and maybe an asymptomatic carrier of the infection. These bacteria then infect other guinea pigs in various ways and, finally, cause the disease as soon as it arises.
Young guinea pigs are highly prone to be affected by this infection. The factors that might boost the growth of infectious bacteria in the animal body include other diseases, stress, and pregnancy. The bacteria can spread by airborne particles, direct contact, and contaminated hands or objects. Even there are cases where the infected pig needs to be hospitalized for extra support and care.
Symptoms of pneumonia infection in guinea pigs.
As mentioned above, during the initial days of the virus, guinea pigs do not show any signs and are the healthy carrier of the disease. After some time, the symptoms are visible, and when they are, it feels like a sudden outburst of a disease. Note down the signs below:
- Sneezing or coughing
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Respiratory distress
- Depressed behavior
- Reddish eyes
- Inflammation of the inner ear and the lining of the lungs. Abdomen, heart or uterus
- Joint inflammation
- Discharge from mouth or nose
- Weight loss due to loss of appetite
How do you know if your guinea pig has pneumonia?
As there are very fewer symptoms in the initial days of the infection, it isn’t easy to diagnose it. However, it can be done by observing the physical symptoms of your pet guinea. There would be a change in the appetite and activeness of the guinea pig that you need to consider and not ignore. If you see any such symptoms, make no delay in taking it to your veterinarian.
As the signs of the infection are mostly internal, he would need to conduct a few laboratory tests to confirm the diagnosis. This might need taking samples of blood, urine, and mucous discharge to ensure if there are any infectious bacteria present in these body fluids. Your job is to make the guinea pig to the veterinarian as soon as you note a dull or depressed appearance. The rest is his job.
How to look after an infected guinea pig?
Pneumonia is a severe disease, and it is even tough to look after an infected guinea pig. You can’t just let the pet heal itself. You, too, have some responsibilities to perform. Know that the infection can be deadly if left untreated. So, here are a few points on how you can take care of your pet guinea pig.
- Visit a vet
As soon as you feel your pet isn’t as active as before, or is depressed, or doesn’t eat much, consider visiting a vet. Also, don’t jump to any vet. If you know a veterinarian since long and have visited him multiple times, go for him. If this is your first time to a vet clinic, try looking for a reputed one.
- Isolate your guinea pig
As pneumonia is a contagious infection, you need to isolate the guinea pig to keep it from infecting other pigs in the cage. Know that it needs to be separated but not left lonely. Make it feel you’re there whenever it needs you.
- Be particular with medication.
A vet prescribes certain medications for the infected guinea pigs. Get all the medications and antibiotics prescribed by him and be particular to feed them to the pet. Also, avoid providing your pet with painkillers unless the vet supervises so.
- Get antibiotics
Even if not mentioned in the prescription, get antibiotics for your pet. Syringe-feed the medicines as the guinea pig might refuse to have it mixed with its food.
If your pet refuses to eat at all (one of the symptoms), hand-feed it using a syringe, it is essential to keep the pet full.
- Weigh it daily
Weigh your pet daily to check if it’s recovering or not. An increase in weight is a sign of improvement in its health.
Q. Can guinea pigs survive respiratory infections?
Respiratory infection in guinea pigs can be fatal if not treated at the right time. It’s a fast-moving infection so if you notice any related symptoms, visit your vet asap. Guinea pigs can survive the infection when they get treatment at the right. In some cases it has been noted, that even after surviving the infection guinea pig’s health gradually decreases which results in death ultimately.
Q. Can guinea pigs give you pneumonia?
There has been a case where humans were infected by guinea pig pet having Chlamydia caviae, a bacteria causing pneumonia in guinea pigs. Pet owners should practice good hygiene especially those who have a weak immune system.
Prevention of pneumonia in guinea pigs can be done by maintaining their hygiene. Clean their cage regularly, keep them inside, and provide sufficient amount of vitamin C in their diet. Know that pneumonia infection in guinea pigs is a severe disease, and you need to look after the infected one properly. Take care and keep it happy!