Health

Be prepared: at some time, you are going to need a vet. If you do not think a guinea pig should receive proper veterinary care, then you should not own a guinea pig.

Next to you, your vet is your guinea pig's best friend. It is important to have a vet that specializes in exotics, and has guinea pig experience.


Finding a vet (this is a "quick version" of the "How to Find a Good Guinea Pig Vet" article located at CavyInfo International):

It would be beneficial to find an experienced guinea pig vet before your guinea pig ever gets sick. Murphy’s Law dictates that you will find yourself with a guinea pig emergency late on a Saturday night, without the slightest idea how to handle it. Also, some vets are more qualified to treat cavies than others. The administration of the wrong type of antibiotic can be fatal.

Take some time now to go through your telephone directory and look for vets that treat cavies/guinea pigs. They are usually listed as treating exotics, "pocket pets" (I term I do not like, as it has come to be synonymous with 'disposable pet'), "small animals" and sometimes even list "guinea pigs". Call the office, and ask a few simple questions: "How many cavies do you treat? Have you done surgery? What kind? What is your success rate?"

It is unlikely that you will get to speak with the vet, but a receptionist can be just as informative (and a valuable friend if you have an emergency). If you feel comfortable with what you learn, ask if they also offer emergency treatment (if it should ever be necessary), and you may also wish to discuss rates.

The next step would be to actually visit the vet for a checkup or consultation. Don’t wait until you need the vet to discover that they are not really what you want; if you have done your homework and are comfortable with everything else, the fee for an office visit is a good investment in peace of mind.

When you meet the vet, let them give your guinea pig a check up (or if it needs the nails trimmed, or some other minor treatment) and explain that you wanted to meet them so that you would be ready for the day when you need them.

Next to you, your vet is your guinea pig’s best friend, and it is the vet that will be able to save your pet’s life in an emergency, not this web site. I have found that the best vets are kind, understanding animal lovers; they are always open to suggestions, and they appreciate a pet owner’s observant input.

You will find other health topic areas on this site, such as the Emergency Info page, and in months to come CavyInfo International will be adding areas to explain and discuss various heath topics.

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Normal Behaviors:

If your piggie exhibits any of the following behaviors:

  • Jumping in air and running about
  • (Male) Rubbing backside on floor while making purring sound
  • Eating droppings
  • Wheeps, peeps, oinks and boinks...

This is completely normal behavior!

Jumping and running about like a little bucking bronco is commonly called "Popcorning", and is an expression of piggie joy.

A male rubbing his backside on the ground while purring is "marking his territory", or at least showing his amorous intent.

Eating droppings is something all piggies do, but rarely do you see them do it. The re-ingestion of certain cecal pellets (droppings that are retained in the cecum for a short time) provide the means for a healthy digestive tract by providing B-complex vitamins and the "good bacteria" that are in the intestines.

Wheeps and other sounds are common vocal expressions a guinea pig makes. Some piggies are more vocal than others, so don't be alarmed if your piggie talks a little or a lot. You can hear some common piggie sounds on the Piggie Sounds Page.


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