How To: Check Your Guinea Pigs And Rabbits Health

"The early detection of symptoms plays a vital role in your small pet’s health and happiness."Petworld

Our pets our like family, and like our family we want to take care of them. But, taking care of small pets can be difficult. As a result of their smaller size, issues are more difficult to spot. The early detection of problems can play an important role in your small pet’s health, so we have detailed some of the signs that you should look for to ensure your small pet is in good health.

Normal Eyes

  • Symmetrical, open, bright, clear eyes with no discharge.
  • Milky type liquid is also considered normal in Guinea Pigs. It is produced during the grooming process and usually wiped away with their front feet.

Abnormal Eyes

  • Crusty, red or swollen eyes indicate a possible bacterial infection.
  • Watery, crusty, dull or receding eyes indicate a possible upper respiratory infection.
  • Bulging eyes may be a result of infection, injury, or tooth root problem.
  • Sunken eyes may indicate dehydration.
  • Opaque or cloudy eye indicate an injury to the eye. Appear quite quickly and normally disappears once the eye starts healing.
  • Cataracts are usually a sign of diabetes or old age.
  • If something get into your pets eye(s), do not remove it without veterinary expertise.

Normal Nose

  • Clean nose.
  • No signs of discharge or watery liquid.

Abnormal Nose

  • A snotty nose or frequent sneezing may be the result of a bacterial infection.
  • A watery or crusty nose indicates a possible upper respiratory infection.

Normal Ears

  • Smooth and clean.

Abnormal Ears

  • Inflamed or crusty ears may indicate parasite infestation, fungal or bacterial infection.
  • Wax build up could attract parasites.
  • A tilted head tilt may indicate an ear infection.

Normal Hair and Skin

• Healthy-looking hair and skin.
• Some modest amount of shedding is considered normal.

Abnormal Hair and Skin

  • Dandruff (white flakes in the fur) is considered abnormal. Veterinary examination is recommended.
  • Excessive hair loss, combined with excessive itching could indicate mites or parasites.
  • Dry or flaky skin or skin with scratches, sores or scabs is considered atypical. 
  • Rough or puffed-up coat may indicate a possible upper respiratory infection.

Normal Breathing

  • The normal regular respiration rate is:
    • 40-150 breaths per minute for a guinea pig.
    • 30-60 breaths per minute for a rabbit .

Abnormal Breathing

  • Laboured breathing
  • Wheezing

Normal Drinking/Eating

  • Water consumption differs for each guinea pig or rabbit. It is dependent on several factors including temperature, taste of water, activity, and personal preference.
  • Food and hay are normal food choices for a guinea pig/rabbit. 
  • Chewing on paper, cloth, rubber, plastic (and everything in the universe) is normal. However, try to limit this and keep it under control.

Abnormal Drinking/Eating

  • Drinking a lot more than normal (first consider temperature of weather). Possible causes of excess water consumption include diabetes, kidney failure, pain or hunger.
  • Struggling to eat may indicate a dental problem.
  • If small pet refuses to eat bring to vet immediately. 

A Safe Home

Providing your small pet with a safe home is vital for your small pets health and wellness. To ensure your small pet is happy and well-cared for, you should choose a cage that will feel like a comfortable, safe home for your pet. When selecting a cage you should ensure that there is plenty of space for your furry friend to live and play in and choose a design and material to suit your pets needs. 

The Habitrail range of cages are a perfect home for a small pet. They have a mixture of tubing, connectors and accessories creating a fun and stimulating environment for small pets. With plenty of space, lighting and room for play and intereaction, they will make your pet feel right at home!

Habitrail OVO Home
Habitrail OVO Suite

Important Notes

  • Hay makes up 70-80% of a guinea pig/rabbits diet. Remove old hay from your pets cage and add fresh hay daily.
  • Guinea pigs/rabbits need a constant supply of fresh water.
  • Guinea pigs and rabbits should feel warm to touch.
  • If you think your small pet does not look healthy, bring him/her to a vet.

If you want to learn more about your small pets health, call into your local Petworld store where our helpful and knowledgeable staff will be happy to help.