Guinea Pig Has Runny Nose – What to Do?

Guinea pigs can have a runny nose due to different medical conditions, such as Atrophic Rhinitis, sinusitis, or common cold.

Cavies are relatively easier pets to have, with manageable quirks that even the younger ones in the families can take care of if need be. Yet, they are prone to falling sick.

There are various infections and diseases commonly found in the guinea group, such as pneumonia, dental disease, among others.

Common Medical Conditions In Guinea Pigs Resulting In A Runny Nose

Many times a runny nose in your cavy companion may not be a symptom of an underlying disease. However, the possibility of that isn’t too far off.

If your little bun-bun does have a regular cold, causing them to sneeze and sniffle, then the chances are that they have a problem in their nasal cavity or a respiratory infection.

The respiratory disease often leads to a runny nose, but that’s not the only sign of an upper respiratory infection (URI). If your cutie pie has URI, they will

  • Lose interest in eating, i.e., they will have reduced to nonexistent appetite.
  • Stop moving around much
  • Labored breathing
  • Crusty eyes, close to being shut
  • Wheezing or sniffling
  • Stuffiness
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing

Guinea pigs are a happy bunch of pocket pets who love to jump around and make merry. So, when they are unwell, they get lazy and stop all activities they usually do, which is the biggest tell of a sick cavy.

If you notice a change in your fuzzy pal’s behavior and that they have gotten dull, know that medical aid may be needed.

Respiratory illnesses, such as Mycoplasma and Pasteurella pneumonia in guinea pigs are caused by Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae, a slow-growing bacterium.

Once it enters your piggy’s body, it will manifest through a variety of symptoms, including a runny nose.

Mycoplasma hyopnuemoniae causes inflammation in the lung tissues, including bronchioles (tiny air sacs in lungs), cilia, and bronchi.

If the inflammation worsens, another bacterium, known as Pasteurella multocida, might find its way into the body and aggravate the situation, causing Pasteurella pneumonia.

In both cases, cavies have a runny nose, which piggy parents may not take too seriously, assuming it’s the common cold, risking their pet’s health.

If you want to save your fuzzy family member from any pulmonary medical complications, don’t take their runny nose lightly if accompanied by the symptoms mentioned above.

Another common medical condition leading to a runny nose is Atrophic Rhinitis or AR.

AR inflames the lining of the nasal cavity in guinea pigs, resulting in sneezing, a runny nose, and occasional coughing.

While there are many pathogens responsible for causing Atrophic Rhinitis in guinea pigs, Bordetella brondiseptica and Pasteurella multocida are the most common.

Regardless of the microbe, AR is a discomforting ailment and should be treated as soon as possible.

Sinusitis is another sickness that manifests as a runny nose. Caused by Streptococcus, Sinusitis results in inflammation in a guinea pig’s nasal sinuses. Typically, it doesn’t have any accompanying symptoms.

How To Treat A Runny Nose In Guinea Pigs?

There is a proper course of medication to treat sniffles in guinea pigs.

But that’s not all; you must take other steps as well to help your piggy pal heal faster.

Identifying The Problem

It goes without saying that diagnosis is the first step when planning a prognosis for guinea pigs.

You must look at all the symptoms your poor little bun-bun is exhibiting and decide if a vet is needed.

One way to know if you need to call the vet is by listening to the pet’s breathing.

If they are breathing normally, without wheezing or rattling, they are unlikely to have a respiratory illness.

Besides noisy breathing, labored breathing is an indication of a URI or LRI.

So, try to observe your tiny friend as they inhale and exhale; if you notice any struggle, perhaps it’s time to hit up the vet.

Also, it must be noted that guinea pigs inherently breathe a little fast.

That means rapid breathing is normal in cavies, so don’t panic if you think your pet is inhaling and exhaling too fast.

If you are a new piggy parent, you should visit the vet in any case, i.e., whether there is wheezing or not, because you are less likely to know what’s the correct pace of breathing in guinea pigs.

Consulting an expert will give you answers and hopefully a sense of peace.


If your furball is diagnosed with a medical condition that warrants the administration of medicine, you need to do it right.

A bunch of medicines is given to guinea pigs to treat pulmonary illnesses, such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), and antihistamines.

You might find some medicines for your piggy pal over the counter, but try not to self-medicate your pet.

Ask the expert your vet and follow the dosage program they suggest.

And remember, you have to be consistent with administering medicines when treating your bun-bun. A missed dose can be dangerous, and it will put your cavy companion two steps back in recovery.

For a healthy recovery, you must religiously follow the medicine schedule your vet gives you.

Bonus Tip

Set reminders for when you have to give your piggy pal medicine, so that you do not miss any dosage.

Keep Your Guinea Pig’s Nostrils Clean

When cavies have a runny nose, their nasal cavity can easily get blocked with discharge and mucous, making it difficult for them to breathe.

Therefore, cleaning your sweet pie’s nostrils is vital.

Use an air humidifier to aid your fuzzy family member in breathing.

Keep an Eye on Your Pet’s Breathing

Sometimes, a runny nose can be the start of many other symptoms to come.

That means if you begin treating your cutie pie by keeping them warm and giving them fluids, you might overlook the oncoming signs.

Therefore, even when you have started the prognosis, be sure to pay attention to your piggy pal’s breathing.

The moment you hear rattling or clicking as they inhale and exhale, involve an expert

Give A Nutrient-Dense Healthy Diet

Feeding meals packed with vital nutrients is one of the easiest remedies for treating a sick guinea pig.

Cavies need an abundance of minerals and vitamins to remain healthy, which is why having a proper meal plan for your little fellow may be necessary if they have a runny nose.

Firstly, give them eatables rich in vitamin C. It’s a known fact that Vitamin C is beneficial for curing a common cold.

So, naturally, if your cavy companion has a runny nose, with or without an underlying condition, you should feed them foods loaded with Vitamin C.

While giving guinea pigs vitamin C is essential; it gets even more important if a piggy is unwell.

Like us humans, guinea pigs don’t make Vitamin C, which means they must fulfill their daily requirements with external sources.

Therefore, you have to increase your tiny pal’s vitamin C intake when they are sick because it will meet their daily need and give their immune system a much-needed boost to fight the cold.

Besides vitamin C, give your guinea pellets, but try to manage the quantity well because you don’t want to overfeed your friend.

Other foods good for your bunny include kales, parsley, turnip greens, dandelion greens, spinach, lettuce, bananas, carrots, apples, blueberries, tomatoes, strawberries, and grapes.

But pay attention to the volume of edibles you give your cavy companion because overeating is not good for them.

Firstly it will overburden their digestive system and lead to obesity, among many other complications.

How To Prevent A Runny Nose In Guinea Pigs?

Nobody likes to see their pet sick, especially when it’s an adorable little pocket rodent, a guinea pig.

If you don’t want your fuzzy family member to get a runny nose, you must take the necessary precautions for that.

Keep Your Pet Safe From Cold Air

Most species get the common cold when exposed to the chilly winter air.

So, logically speaking, the first thing you should do to keep your bun-bun safe from getting sick is to ensure that they are not exposed to cold air.

If the weather is too cold in your region, break your pet inside the house if their cage is outside.

But, don’t keep it too close to the heater as excessive exposure to hot air can also be harmful to guinea pets.

Clean Your Pet’s Cage

Sometimes a runny nose may come about due to dust and irritants around your furball.

That means you must clean your pet’s cage often to keep it free from grime particles.

Don’t Let Your Pet Hang Out With Other Animals.

If you have rabbits or any other pets, don’t let them mingle with your guinea pig because they could be carrying bacteria that could make your piggy sick.

Provide Hay

Hay helps guinea pigs trim their teeth. If they don’t have enough fodder to chew on, they can develop dental problems, which can increase the risk of other medical conditions, including respiratory distress.

Final Thoughts

Ensuring that your piggy pal is safe and healthy can be stressful.

But if you follow a proper dietary regime and keep your little bun-bun clean and their cage tidy, you can significantly reduce their chances of getting sick.

And if, after taking all your precautions, your pet ends up unwell, you can contact the vet and ask for guidance. 

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