Do Guinea Pigs Need Vaccinations / Shots?

No, Guinea Pigs don’t need vaccination or shots.

I would recommend you check with your vet as well. For my guinea pigs, my vet told me that they can give a shot for rabies, and there is a possibility that my cavies might get bit by a rat, which can carry rabies infection

Unlike most other pets like cats and dogs, guinea pigs don’t need vaccinations owing to their isolated lifestyle.

However, not needing shots doesn’t mean cavies don’t get sick. In fact, they are prone to some medical problems due to their somewhat weak immune system.

With proper care, regular vet checkups, and a healthy diet, you can keep your piggy pal healthy and happy.

Common Health Problems in Guinea Pigs

As mentioned earlier, guinea pigs are susceptible to catching or developing a bunch of infections.

Yet, if you have a suitable treatment plan, you can nurse your little one back to health easily.

Respiratory Illnesses

Respiratory conditions are one of the most common health problems in guinea pigs. These pocket rodents are likely to get upper respiratory and lower respiratory infections.

Bacteria, such as Bordetella and Streptococcus are often responsible for URIs and LRIs in guinea pigs.

These microorganisms enter a cavy’s body and start causing respiratory distress over time.

They are slow-growing, which is why you may not notice any symptoms in your piggy pal in the beginning.

However, as time passes, your furry family member will begin exhibiting symptoms, such as wheezing, coughing, labored breathing, crusty eyes, sneezing, and reduced appetite.

One of the easiest to spot signs of a sick piggy is loss of appetite. Guinea pigs are very sensitive in that they are not too resilient in the face of illness.

As a result, they lose interest in eating and become noticeably dull.

If your tiny bun-bun seems exhausting and doesn’t hop around as much as they normally do, then chances are they have a medical problem.

While you can take various preventative measures to keep your cavy companion from developing pulmonary distress, cleaning their cage regularly and minimizing their exposure to dust can help significantly with that.

Inhaling airborne particles is typically the start of an oncoming respiratory disease. Hence, regular cleaning of your little one’s cage is essential. If not, they will breathe airborne particles, resulting in infection over time.

Another way to reduce the chances of your furry friend catching a virus is by keeping them away from crowded places and not letting them interact with other animals.

Guinea pigs are inherently high-strung and don’t have a proclivity towards socializing with species outside of their families.

That means they prefer to be around cavies only, which is good for their health.

When guinea pigs are exposed to a bunch of animals at a time, they get stressed, which makes them even more vulnerable to catching a disease.

Moreover, when they are within crowds, they are more likely to contract viruses, and you never know which animal among the packs is a carrier of a disease.

Simply put, try to avoid exposing your piggy pal to other pets if you have any.


Guinea pigs have a hyper-sensitive digestive system as they are herbivores.

Since their gut is only used to consuming produce, it doesn’t respond well to processed foods or large quantities of food.

Additionally, once your guinea pal becomes accustomed to a particular meal, they will not take new items easily and are likely to develop digestive tract problems, such as diarrhea.

In some cases, new eatables can even cause your piggy’s gut mechanism to collapse, leading to reduced appetite.

Naturally, when their digestive system stops working right, guinea pigs will not want to eat and become fearful of consuming food.

Long story short, you need to be careful about what you feed your furball friend.

Furthermore, cavies have certain healthy bacteria in their gastrointestinal tract to help digestion.

If these microbes are disturbed, or their population is altered, a guinea pig’s gut will get infected, damaging the intestinal tissue and causing diarrhea.

If that happens, you need to provide prompt medical aid to your little friend because if their condition worsens, their body can go into a shock, and they can even die.

Therefore, closely monitoring your pet’s eating habits is critical. If not, it will suffer from grave medical repercussions.

On top of all that, there are some bacteria, such as Cryptosporidium and coccidian, that can disrupt your piggy pal’s gut mechanism, resulting in different signs, the most common of which is diarrhea.

All in all, guinea pigs are at high risk of developing digestive tract problems, which is why giving them a balanced and suitable diet is a must.

Dental Issues

Cavies have ever-growing teeth, meaning their chompers don’t stop growing even after reaching a certain point. But that doesn’t mean you can let them be and not do anything.

To keep a guinea pig’s teeth from growing too far, providing it with a generous supply of hay is essential.

Hay enables the tiny rodents to trim their teeth, avoiding all dental-based problems.

You may think that a dental disease’s impact is limited to your petite pal’s oral health only, but that’s not true.

It may start that way, eventually turning into a much more severe overall health issue.

When guinea pigs have problems with their choppers, they stop eating, and understandably so because they feel a sharp pain while chewing.

Naturally, they lose interest in eating, resulting in other health concerns, such as weakness, erratic bowel movements, etc.

Therefore, looking out for dental issues in a cavy is imperative; otherwise, you can risk your bud’s overall health.

Scurvy (Vitamin C Deficiency)

Like humans, guinea pigs don’t make Vitamin C, which means they need it to fulfill their requirements through external sources.

But when that doesn’t happen, they suffer from Vitamin C deficiency.

Once they don’t have sufficient vitamin C volume in their systems, they become susceptible to catching other infections and getting ill.

Cavies need Vitamin C for healthy growth, fur, muscle, and gum development. So, naturally, when they don’t get an abundance of the said vital nutrient, they become weak and more likely to fall sick.

Symptoms of Vitamin C deficiency include diarrhea, reluctance to walk, swollen feet, and rough coat, among other complications.

If you want to protect your cutie pie from vitamin C deficiency, you should feed them foods rich in the said natural element. Give your bud 10-15 mg of it daily to keep them healthy.

Red peppers, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, strawberries, blueberries, green pepper, guava, and Brussel sprouts are excellent Vitamin C sources for your fur family member.

Urinary Tract Problems

UTIs or urinary tract infections are common in guinea pigs.

Cavies tend to develop urinary stones, which become lodged in their ureters. As a result, urination becomes difficult for small animals.

Moreover, female guineas develop a urinary condition known as cystitis or bladder infection, resulting in stones.

All urinary tract infections are pretty painful for all animals, let alone the tiny rodents. Therefore, you must keep an eye on your little friend’s behavior to catch signs of a UTI.

Symptoms of a urinary tract infection include loss of appetite, blood in urine, difficulty in urinating, a hunched posture, and less urination.

If you suspect that your piggy pal has a urinary tract problem, consult your vet right away.

To prevent such a scenario, keep your little fellow’s bedding clean and dry. Damp surfaces are the best breeding grounds for fungi and other disease-causing microbes.

Create a designated bathroom corner for your bun-bun so that they relieve themselves whenever needed and come back to their living space. This way, they are less likely to come in contact with harmful bacteria.

Additionally, make sure your pet drinks plenty of water every day. The more it drinks water, the less likely it is to get a urinary illness as large volumes of water wash away toxins, reducing the chances of stone development.

Skin Conditions

A frequently encountered skin disorder in guinea pigs is ringworms. Despite the name, having ringworms has nothing to do with a worm. The condition is caused by fungi.

Its symptoms include rough, itchy skin and scabs or ringworm lesions on skin tissues.

While you may struggle to spot itchy or rough skin, you can quickly notice ringworm lesions as those mostly appear on the face, around the eyes, and ears.

If you catch your little buddy scratching or being uncomfortable and can’t see any other signs of disease, examine their fur. The chances are you will see crusty scabs and ringworm patches on their body and face.


Bumblefoot or Pododermatitis is a skin condition characterized by painful crusty patches on the sole of a cavy’s feet.

Since guinea pigs tend to hop around and stand for hours, they put pressure on their feet, resulting in sore spots on the bottom of their feet.

To avoid bumblefoot in your fuzzy pal, put ointment on their feet as often as possible (ask your vet for advice). And closely observe their tiny feet to pick up any signs of sore patches of bumblefoot, use a bandage to keep the situation from worsening.

Ending Note

Although you cannot get your piggy pal vaccinated because they don’t need to be, you must give them sufficient care and a balanced diet to keep them happy.

Keeping your vet in the loop is the best way to ensure that you’re looking after your bun-bun right. Doing so will not only keep your friend fit but also give you peace of mind. 

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