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Guinea Pigs/Possible heat stroke


We live in a trailer and while we have a in the main room, my daughter's room can get a little bit in the afternoon. My daughter went in to play with our of and he wasn't able to walk. She brought him to me and I could see he was lethargic and breathing very quickly. I Googled to see if they could get heat stroke and what to do. He had a number of the symptoms and I took the back legs not moving to be an indication of the  weakness that they mentioned. We sprayed him with water. And fed dhim lettuce and even gave him some water in a syringe. He's eating well and is even moving his legs a bit. Have we averted a crisis or do I need to watch for anything? (BTW, We will be putting his cage in the living room with the ac)

Yes, you averted a crisis. Although guinea pigs can take cold they do not do well with heat. When overheated they can quickly die. If taken outside and left in the hot sun they die within 15 min. The kidneys shut down and they suffer heat related brain damage very quickly.

If that happens again fill a bowl or the bathroom sink with cool, not cold, water. Put him in the water up to his neck. Take him out dripping wet and sit him on a towel. Sadly, depending on how quickly their bodies shut down, sometimes all the measures you take do not work.

Should your air conditioning go out you can put some water in your sink and allow him to swim for a minute or two. Then return him to his cage while still wet. Keep his body wet to prevent the overheating.

I'm glad to hear he's eating and drinking. That's the best indicator of his well being. When they are sick they refuse water and food. When you're having a hot day try to give him lots of wet lettuce to help him stay hydrated.

I'm glad everything went well for you. It would have been a real crisis for your daughter had he not survived.  

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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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