Common Diseases in Guinea Pigs

Beautiful Guinea Pig

Sometimes, even with proper care, guinea pigs can still acquire infections or develop diseases; this is their natural tendency. The most common infections and body problems guinea pigs experience are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Dental Disease
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Ear infections
  • Vitamin C Deficiency (Scurvy)
  • Appetite Loss
  • Hardening of the Organs (Metastatic Calcification)
  • Pneumonia
  • Reproductive disorder
  • Skin disorder


Dietary negligence will negatively affect your guinea pig’s digestive system. The improper diet causes the good gastrointestinal bacteria (flora) to turn bad and cause digestive problems.

If this happens, your guinea pig will lose their appetite, experience weight loss, become dehydrated, and may even die suddenly without giving any signs of illness. Common symptoms include:

  • Dehydration
  • Fever
  • Low body temperature
  • Rough Fur
  • Dull eyes
  • Loose stools
  • Fecal Staining around the anal area
  • Pain when the abdomen is touched

Treating diarrhea entails increasing the fiber content in the diet for your guinea pigs by adding more hay in their hutch. Make sure they eat plenty of it so as to balance the bacterial imbalance in their gastrointestinal tract.

Ensure your guinea pig drinks sufficient water, but if they refuse to, immediately take them to their veterinarian, and they will guide you through the treatment. Make sure your pet’s enclosure is clean and remove the remaining food and change the water regularly.

Guinea Pig Wandering

Dental Disease

If their teeth have abnormalities, guinea pigs won’t be able to chew, which affects their appetite. Teeth care is necessary since guinea pigs grow theirs their entire life. It is important that when you take them for their regular check-ups, you ask their veterinarian to check your guinea pig’s oral health.

Dental diseases can be inherited. Malocclusion, the improper alignment of their teeth, can either be inherited or because of vitamin-c deficiency. Drooling may be a symptom of any dental disease. They may also be sudden weight loss and bleeding in the mouth area. Sinus infection is caused by abscesses in the roots of their tooth.

Whatever it may be, for as long as you notice that there is something wrong with their mouth, consult their veterinarian to have it treated immediately.

Eye and Ear Infection

Eye and ear infections are usually bacterial causes. Make sure your pet’s hutch is clean and sanitized regularly to avoid any kind of bacterial infection. Eye infection in guinea pigs is called Conjunctivitis (pink eye), and you can tell by the watery and reddish eyes.

Guinea pigs infected with respiratory disease are more likely to contract eye and/or ear infections. An ear infection is a very rare occurrence, but if this happens, your guinea pig may lose its ability to hear. Your pet likely won’t display symptoms of an ear infection, but be warry about pneumonia.

NEVER self-medicate your guinea pigs; they are sensitive to antibiotics. Always take them to their veterinarian to treat any kind of disease or infection.

Beautiful Guinea Pigs

Vitamin C Deficiency

Guinea Pigs don’t have the ability to produce Vitamin C on their own, hence why we provide supplements. Vitamin C is essential for living organisms to ensure healthy skin, joints, and blood vessels.

Symptoms of Vitamin C Deficiency

  • Swollen Joints
  • Weak
  • Lack energy
  • Rough hair
  • Lose their appetite
  • Lose their weight
  • Diarrhea
  • Bleeding of joints

Vitamin C enriched food for your Guinea Pigs are,

  • Green (bell) peppers
  • Oranges
  • Strawberries
  • Broccoli
  • Parsley
  • Red cabbage
  • Turnip greens
  • Kale

Don’t give them any multivitamin supplements. Guinea pigs need at least 10 mg/kg of vitamin C a day, whereas the gravid Guinea Pigs need 30 mg/kg daily.

Loss of Appetite

Guinea pigs usually refuse to eat when they are ill or recovering from surgery or when they are not able to chew properly because of Ketosis. Ketosis is a condition where your pet’s body produces too much by-product during digestion.

For female Guinea Pigs, Ketosis is also called Pregnancy Toxemiasince this condition may occur to the pregnant guinea pigs during the last 2twoweeks of pregnancy or during the first week after birth.

The Symptoms of ketosis are,

  • Obesity
  • Large litter size
  • Loss of appetite during the late stages of pregnancy
  • Insufficient exercise
  • Environmental stress
  • Underdeveloped blood vessels in the uterus (an inherited condition)

Surviving Ketosis is a near-impossible challenge. Guinea pigs’ bodies aren’t strong enough to survive the surgery, and there is a high chance that the fetus may die inside the uterus.

A constant, sudden change of their feeding routine, the way you feed them, and the way you give them water will result in your guinea pig refusing to intake anything at all.

Take appetite changes seriously – loss of appetite is the first symptom of any kind of infection or disease in your pet. If they are not eating properly for more than two days, take them to their veterinarian immediately.

Hardening of the Organs (Metastatic Calcification)

Metastatic Calcification is a metabolic disorder. High calcium levels in their body cause their body tissues to harden and may cause sudden death. This usually happens in male guinea pigs that age more than a year.

An improper diet that contains high calcium, phosphorus, or Vitamin D, will result in this condition. Treatment will be suggested when you take them to their veterinarian (usually suggest a balanced diet and pellets.

The most common symptoms are:

  • Weight loss
  • Muscle or joint stiffness
  • Increased urination
Guinea Pigs Playing


Pneumonia is caused by a bacterial infection that results in lung inflammation and death.

  • Oozing or discharge from the nose
  • Sneezing
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite

You have to seek a veterinarian to treat your guinea pigs if they are infected. The treatment is a long process. Throughout that duration, make sure to constantly clean their enclosure and quarantining them from the other guinea pigs.

Reproductive Disorders

Reproductive disorders are common in guinea pigs; this affects the ovaries and the mammary glands. The reproductive disorders are:

  • Ovarian cysts – Affects both or one of the ovaries in female guinea pigs. The symptoms include loss of appetite, hair loss in the abdomen region, and loss of energy. If untreated, the cysts may spread and burst.
  • Bordetella bacteria – Spreads through sexual contact and affects their genitalia.
  • Dystocia a female guinea pig infected with this will have difficulty giving birth. The tough fibrous cartilage that joins the two pubic bones stiffens, and the female guinea has difficulty in giving birth naturally. Cesarean is very dangerous for the guinea pigs; the mother may die.

Skin Disorders

Because of various factors, guinea pigs are prone to skin disorders that result in hair loss and may also cause them to acquire:

  • Fur Mites – causes itching and hair loss. A few mites may go deeper inside the skin and makes things complicated. In this case, the only symptom that shows is hair loss. Seek a veterinarian. Leave untreated, and your pet may die.
  • Lice – keep their hutch and your pet clean to avoid lice. An infected guinea pig is plagued with itching, hair loss, and inflammation of the skin.
  • Ringworm – ringworms are contagious to guinea pigs since the hair loss makes their skin vulnerable to becoming scaly, flaxy, and crusted. This disease can spread throughout their body and severely affect the skin. Consult their veterinarian so that they can examine the hair samples of your pet and administer treatment accordingly.