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Guinea Pigs/guinea pig stuffed up nose


Hi Pat VanAllen, my guinea pig, cookie, has had a stuffed up nose for a few months now. He has a little bit of white runny stuff inside of his nose though. No crusty stuff around his nose. He still eats, popcorns, squeaks, and acts fine in general. I'm just worried because things that I have saw on the internet say that this could be URI. could you please tell me what is wrong with him? I'm worried.

I would expect that if it were an infection he would not have had it for so long and continued to be otherwise well. The next logical consideration is an allergic reaction to something in his surroundings.

In spite of my many years in medicine I am very hesitant when it comes to getting too aggressive with treatment for animals. Most vets, given the information you've just given me, would jump to the conclusion that he has an upper respiratory infection and would prescribe antibiotics. I disagree.

Not every wheeze, sneeze or snotty nose is an infection. Guinea pigs in particular don't do well with antibiotics. That could be due to the fact that they typically don't show how ill they are until they've already gone too far. What often happens then is the medication does more harm than good.

The biggest and most important clinical sign of a guinea pig's health is the appetite. When they do not feel well they stop eating or drinking. With that in mind I truly feel you don't have a sick pig. A little bit of white runny stuff doesn't mean there's anything that's wrong.

You might try changing his bedding to see if he's reacting to that. If he's in the house with the heater on and it's very warm, which is much the case in the midwest this time of year, he may be reacting to that. When the heater is on the humidity drops and causes issues with humans as well.

Guinea pigs do best in colder areas. If that's not an option and assuming he's in the house you might just try relocating his cage where he's not near a heater vent. But the bottom line is I truly don't think you have anything to worry about, especially since it's gone on this long and he's shown no sign of illness.

I hope that puts you mind at ease a bit.  

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Pat VanAllen


As is sometimes the case, people in urgent need of information have a higher degree of expectation than those of us as experts are able to give. The experts on this site do their best to give the most accurate and responsible answers possible. We ask that you remember that it is not our intention nor place to criticize the professional advice given by your veterinarian, nor is it appropriate for us to comment on the correctness of a diagnosis made by a licensed physician. Our knowledge is experience based. Although many years of breeding and showing cavies gives me a wealth of experience it cannot change the fact that we as experts are not veterinarians and therefore may occasionally have to reject questions that appear to be asking us to criticize advice given by the licensed professional. Having raised and exhibited cavies for many years I have extensive experience in cavy care and husbandry. I currently have an active breeding program for pedigreed show animals but do not encourage backyard breeding for inexperienced owners. Although I don't encourage breeding for fun I'm always happy to answer any questions from an owner who is in sincere need of help. Pet owners wanting to breed should understand that even experienced breeders have litter losses. The mortality rate is high in cavies. The chance for losing both sow and pups is always present, even with experience. Although this is a site for experts to assist owners, there is no expert in any field who has all the answers. The wisest thing a good expert can know is their limitations. Not having an answer does not diminish one's ability or knowledge. It simply shows that we recognize our limitations and operate within them.


Raised and shown cavies for many years, having aquired my first cavies in the early 1970's as pets. My caviary currently handles 65 + animals in two different breeds and several varieties. Having been in the health care industry as a licensed nurse for 35 years I have hands on experience with care and needs in both humans and cavies. Member of American Rabbit Breeders Association and American Cavy Breeders Association.

Awarded Lifetime Membership in of one of the oldest cavy clubs in the United States, on whose Board I served as Sec/Treas for six years and currently serving as President. Also editor/publisher of the club's quarterly newsletter. We are strong supporters of our youth exhibitors, most of whom are 4H members who are working on cavy projects. Through these projects they become good responsible citizens. We deal with all aspects of showing, breeding, caring for and sharing experiences in the fancy. The cavy fancy is not a new one but in some areas is still relatively unknown. Our goal is to inspire interest in high quality, responsible breeding to improve the species, not just the reproduction of guinea pigs. Our job is to educate owners to help them make the right decisions and choices in the care of their cavies.

Graduate in nursing. Certified in emergency medicine.

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