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Guinea Pigs/new adult guinea pig:


One day ago i adopted an adult guinea from a breeder. She wasnt getting along with her siblings. I am using flannel bedding and timothy hay in her hut. When we took her out for floor time today afyer an hour she had watery eyes and sneezed once. She seems very agitated. Her teeth were chattering and making a scared noise. I thought it could be from playing an app that made guinea pig noises. This evening when i picked her up her eyes were blinking more than usual and again she was very tense. Should i be worried? Is it someting in my home or hers making her sick so fast?

Adams spray and dip
Adams spray and dip  
I doubt you're doing anything to cause her to sneeze. Guinea pigs sneeze now and then just as we humans do. It doesn't mean illness. I suspect she is stressed from her new environment and surroundings.  I would recommend you just leave her alone for about 5 days and let her adjust to her new home.

Teeth chattering is a sign of aggression and an impending fight if there's another pig with her. It also means a serious bite if you reach for her. This could also mean she's irritated from an infestation of mites or lice.

Ask the breeder you got her from if she's been treated for mites and lice and if so, when. Often times breeders with large caviaries neglect this and they spread quickly throughout the herd. The good news is that it's an easy fix and should be done anyway.

The mites are microscopic so you will not be able to see them. Lice can be seen with the naked eye but if you don't know what you're looking for you may not recognize them. They are very tiny, like pieces of thread. If your pig has black hair anywhere you can see them more easily on the dark hair. They move very slowly and you might see what you think might be lint, but if you are very still you'll see them move. When you run your finger backwards through the hair they will move away from the light.

An animal that has been left untreated will be miserable enough that they get very aggressive. The good news is that both lice and mites are species specific and will not get on you, your dog, your cat or anything other than another guinea pig.

Get some Adams dip or spray at your pet store. I prefer the dip as it soaks the hair and skin completely making it more effective. Short haired pigs do okay with the spray but you have to really soak them.

Mix the dip in your bathroom sink using warm water.  Just follow the instructions on the label. You want about three inches of water. Sit the pig in the water and pour it over the entire body, making sure to protect the eyes and ears.

The trick to success is do NOT use a towel or hair dryer on the pig. Put her in a box with a towel on the bottom and let her drip dry. This is very important. Keep her out of a draft while she's drying. The dip actually has a nice fragrance and is made of Pyrethrums which is not an insecticide so is safe on guinea pigs.

I've attached a picture so you'll know what you're looking for. I've tried other brands but none work as well as Adams. You use very little at a time so it's not expensive.  She should be treated every three months.  In a big caviary they should be treated every six weeks. We don't really know where these things come from, they just show up. It's like fleas and dogs. It's up to the owner to keep them at bay.

Hopefully this will change her attitude and she'll be the pet you're hoping for.  

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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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