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Guinea Pigs/Emergency!! My Guinea pig is sick!


My guinea pig is 18 months old, she's suffering from COLD for the past 2 days & has runny nose & watery eyes. She refuses to take water & doesn't eat properly, she has become less active on the second day.
Also, her hind legs are skinny & hairless due to vitamin C deficiency (which I found later), I'm giving her foods rich in it now.
There is no vet available in my place & I'm in need of your advice regarding any medication or home remedies for my pet.
I'm so worried, please help me!
Thanks in advance.

Vitamin C deficiency, also known as scurvy, is unusual in a pig that has been raised on guinea pig pellets. Rabbit food does not contain Vit C as they manufacture their own and do not require the supplement.

At this point a vet may not be able to make a difference. Unfortunately you can't always reverse the effects of scurvy, but that may not be what she is suffering from. The first sign of scurvy is often deformity of the bones. Guinea pigs do not get a common cold as we know it. They can however, get respiratory infections. Sadly once they start refusing food and water they have often turned the point of no return.

Make sure she is kept away from drafts. Keep fresh water in front of her. If she won't drink the water offer wet lettuce to help keep her hydrated. If she has a respiratory infection she needs an antibiotic. They cannot tolerate any form of penicillin. The typical treatment is a sulfa based medication such as Baytrim or Bactrim.

It is a common misconception that oranges contain large amounts of Vit C. It does not. Parsley and Kale are the top contenders when it comes to the amount of Vit C they actually contain per oz.  Guinea pigs love both and will eat it without encouragement.

I wish I had something more positive to offer, but it sounds as though she is already very ill and there is a good chance she may not pull through it. I apologize for not getting back to you sooner. I had a family emergency that kept me away from my computer.  

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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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