Guinea pigs are among first-time pet parents’ favorites, especially when there are small kids at home.
They are adorable, intelligent, tiny with cute little noises, and easy to adapt to in most conditions.
But like other rodents, they also have a survival instinct for concealing their diseases, and wheezing could be just a symptom.
Thus you must recognize and treat them early because guinea pigs are fragile creatures.
If not treated early, wheezing can become a life-threatening issue for your pet.
If you are a guinea pig pet parent, read this article carefully.
Causes Why Your Guinea Pig Is Wheezing
Generally, when they get an infection from other animals like dogs, it will make them wheeze.
The wheezing is often caused by bacteria transmitted by other animals, mainly Bordetella bronchiseptica.
Therefore you must minimize your guinea pig’s interaction with other animals.
If wheezing is persistent, it is advisable to take your guinea pig to the vet before it escalates into health complications.
A food allergy or environmental changes can also cause wheezing, or your guinea pig might have acquired it after surgical treatment.
Therefore, wheezing should be tackled case-by-case by understanding its exact cause and introducing early treatment.
Numerous reasons could cause it, the most common being food allergy.
Check whether you have made any recent changes to your guinea pig’s diet or try to identify ingredients that might cause the allergy.
Removing the allergen from your guinea pig’s diet can permanently solve this situation.
Another reason is gulping, which usually happens if you feed dry pellet food to your guinea pig.
Instead, try giving them wet food.
You can soak the pellets in lukewarm water for about 10 minutes and then feed them to your pet.
You can also include ingredients like curd to make their food wet.
If the problem persists, it is probably due to an upper respiratory tract infection, for which you need to call a vet as soon as possible.
It generally happens due to unhygienic bedding arrangements, especially wooden shavings on top of the bed.
Some guinea pigs are allergic to wooden shavings and start to wheeze when they squeak.
Wooden shavings are also known to cause respiratory illness in guinea pigs.
You can use newspaper to cover wooden shavings or a soft barley or paddy straw on top of the bed.
Look for other signs of upper respiratory illness requiring a vet visit.
A chest infection can also cause a wheezing-like sound.
Listen to its chest while it breathes.
If there is any strange sound, it is probably due to a chest infection, which generally occurs in older guinea pigs.
Arrange a visit to the vet and have an MRI scan performed as soon as possible.
Your guinea pig might require instant medical attention when wheezing after surgery because it could be a life-or-death matter for your pet.
Fix an emergency appointment with your vet as soon as possible.
Vets usually do a post-surgery check-up after 24 hours.
It is also possible that your pet has still not recovered from anesthesia, which causes labored breathing.
It could also be due to a post-anesthesia medical complication called NPPE, which causes upper airway obstruction.
Sometimes fluid gets deposited in the outer layer of the lungs after surgery.
So it would be best if your guinea pig did deep breathing and coughing exercises within two days after surgery.
You could also hold a meeting with your vet for assurance.
Other Causes Why Your Guinea Pig Is Wheezing
- Labored breathing because of respiratory problems.
- Mucus-like substance coming out of guinea pigs’ eyes, especially of greenish color with redness of eyes, generally indicates respiratory infection.
- Runny nose, especially when sneezing, and a substance with greenish color coming out of the nose due to respiratory diseases or an allergic reaction to a foreign substance.
- Weight loss, appetite loss, lethargy, fur loss, or change in overall behavior also indicate something is wrong with your guinea pig.
- Guinea pigs are very active pets.
If they are beginning to get tired early or are not coming out of their cage, it indicates that they are ill.
Treatment For A Wheezing Guinea Pig
- The best option would be to make an appointment with your vet.
Respiratory illnesses like wheezing can become severe and could prove fatal.
- Provide your vet with complete details about your guinea pig-like any recent surgery, changes in food ingredients, bedding, and environmental conditions.
- Ensure the X-Ray or MRI scan is performed to identify the actual cause of the problem.
Doing this will help you understand whether it is a respiratory problem or a chest infection.
- Opt for a blood test; it will help discover if any bacteria are present and, if yes, what kind.
A blood test helps provide you with exact medication and eliminate the root of the problem.
- If a vet is unavailable in your area and emergency treatment needs to be done, you must look for antibacterial medicines (e.g. Baytril, or doxycycline).
- Apart from antibacterial medication, you can provide some probiotic supplements and curd.
Increase its vitamin C intake.
You can also use a nebulizer if you have one at home.
Wheezing for a guinea pig could be dangerous and is troublesome for pet parents.
But most of the time, it can be easily treated if identified and diagnosed early.
If the problem recurs after treatment, it usually indicates an underlying serious problem requiring a thorough examination by a specialist.
Purrfect n’ Pawesome is the brainchild of Amanda, who has been into researching and writing about pets to help other pet parents in nurturing their adorable pets. Currently, she runs Purrfect n’ Pawesome along with her team of experienced and dedicated pet experts. Along with being an awesome writer and entrepreneur, Amanda is a cat mom to two innocently spoiled cats, Balanca and Scruffy.
She has been writing about pet care and nurturing and wants to share her readers’ experiences, learnings, and knowledge.
Over the years, she had the opportunity to work with various pet owners having multiple breeds, and that exposure gave her experience and the lessons of a lifetime.
Her family, her entire universe revolves around her two cats, who give her endless support and inspiration to move ahead with her objectives in life. Amanda is a live example of a balanced approach to all parenthood questions we all face in life.