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Pneumonia in guinea pigs

Pneumonia is one of the most common bacterial diseases of pet guinea pigs. A number of potential disease-causing bacteria may inhabit the respiratory tracts of otherwise normal guinea pigs.

Your questions answered

How will I know if my guinea pig has pneumonia?

Stress, inadequate diet, and improper home care often predispose a pet guinea pig to respiratory infection. Signs of pneumonia may include laboured or rapid breathing, discharge from eyes and nostrils, lethargy and inappetence. Some animals show no signs at all before dying suddenly.

Middle and inner ear infections occasionally result from respiratory disease in guinea pigs. Additional signs may include incoordination, tilting of the head, circling to one side, and rolling.

Can my guinea pig be treated?

You should consult your vet if you think your guinea pig has this serious bacterial infection. Aggressive antibiotic therapy by injection and appropriate supportive care are necessary. Bacterial culture and antibiotic sensitivity testing help your vet select an appropriate antibiotic.

Unfortunately, even though the signs of infection can be relieved, the causative bacteria cannot be eliminated. Rabbits and rats harbour at least one of the bacteria known to cause pneumonia in guinea pigs, therefore it is wise not to house your guinea pig near these animals.

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