Has your guinea pig been sneezing? It could be a sign of an underlying condition or just your pet’s way of ridding itself of nasal and throat irritants.
The truth is many things can trigger sneezing in guinea pigs.
Sneezing can strike at any time without warning and, sometimes, without an apparent cause.
As a pet owner, it is up to you to identify why your pet may be sneezing and if you should be worried about it.
Why Guinea Pigs Sneeze
Sneezing is a reflective mechanism that may be triggered due to dust or irritants entering the nose.
We know that sniffing is a common pastime for guinea pigs as they explore their surroundings.
It is not uncommon for them to inhale dust particles from time to time and end up sneezing.
In this case, you have nothing to worry about. In fact, most guinea pigs sneeze about two to four times a day.
However, sneezing can also be a symptom of a number of different medical disorders. It can indicate anything from a minor allergic reaction to a potentially life-threatening respiratory infection.
So, if you notice your guinea pig sneezing constantly or more than usual, it is best to get to the source of the problems. Look for accompanying symptoms of an infection or a disease.
Remember, guinea pigs are fragile, and most illnesses can be fatal if left untreated.
Therefore, take the time to understand why your guinea pig may be sneezing and promptly administer the right treatment if required.
Common Causes of Sneezing in Guinea Pigs
Your guinea pig may sneeze due to the following reasons.
Respiratory Tract Infection
The nose, throat, nasal channel, and windpipe make up the upper respiratory tract, while a guinea pig’s lungs make up its lower respiratory tract.
Your guinea pig will sneeze if it has a respiratory infection.
The term “cold” or “flu” refers to an infection of the upper respiratory tract. In contrast, pneumonia is a respiratory illness that affects the lower respiratory tract.
Your pet’s life could be in danger if they develop a URI.
Fortunately, if your guinea pig is unwell and sneezing, other signs will be obvious, making it easier to detect the issue and take action.
For example, discharge from the nose and troubled breathing are symptoms of pneumonia.
Furthermore, guinea pigs suffering from a URI may experience conjunctivitis, fever, weight loss, or loss of appetite.
If your pet is suffering from a serious illness such as pneumonia, they may also show signs of imbalance, such as circling around or tilting their heads.
In order to keep the disease from spreading and your guinea pig from re-infecting, it is critical that the environment be kept clean at all times.
Pneumonia and respiratory disease in guinea pigs primarily affect the young and old.
It is also critical to know that respiratory diseases are infectious and can be transmitted by asymptomatic individuals.
So, keep the cage as clean as possible and provide fresh food and water as bacteria-laden spit is more likely to be found in food and water dispensers and plates.
Another possible explanation for your guinea pig’s excessive sneezing is an allergic reaction. Dust, pollen, or a component in its food may be to blame.
Additionally, aromas from scented candles, food, or air freshener can also cause allergic symptoms and sneezing. Soaps and other household cleaners are also common culprits.
If you notice your guinea pig sneezing more than usual right after you clean their cage or playpen, they may be allergic to the cleaning or sanitization agent.
In the same way that all animals are susceptible to allergic reactions, guinea pigs can be affected by particular substances, allergens, or particles.
Generally, vets aren’t needed for allergies unless they’re really bad.
However, if your guinea pig has had allergies in the past or develops severe allergies all of a sudden, you should schedule an appointment.
It is possible that your veterinarian can assist you in identifying the source of your pet’s allergies and recommend that you remove various items from your pet’s environment to see if it improves.
Allergies can often be avoided by simply removing the offending allergen from your guinea pig’s environment.
Stressful events like the guinea pig being moved to a new cage or house, altered diet, overcrowded cage, cramped space, and a change in veterinary care are possibilities that may stress a guinea pig.
Stress can be minor or severe, and it can have a range of effects, including sneezing. Plus, allergies and respiratory infections are more common as a result of the weakened immune system due to stress.
You can lower the stress levels and soothe your guinea pig by keeping their cage in pristine condition.
Stress can be exacerbated by loud noises or bright lights, so make sure you take care of that as well.
Your guinea pig is in danger of developing a weak immune system, and infection due to malnutrition, particularly lack of d lacks vitamin C.
Guinea pigs cannot generate their own vitamin C.
If they do not consume enough of it, their bodies’ supply of vitamin C depletes quickly.
As a result, their immune system is weakened, and they are unable to defend against pathogenic microorganisms.
Your veterinarian can identify vitamin C deficiency by researching your pet’s food and inspecting him or her for bleeding or joint problems.
Sometimes, even if their vitamin C intake is adequate, guinea pigs might acquire vitamin C insufficiency.
This can occur if they have other illnesses that prevent them from adequately absorbing vitamin C.
The best approach is to feed your guinea pig a varied diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. However, additional treatment may be required in some cases.
According to MSD Veterinary Manual, treatment consists of administering vitamin C on a daily basis.
Guinea pigs require at least 10 milligrams of vitamin C per kilogram of body weight per day.
Although it may seem like a long shot, dental problems in guinea pigs can cause respiratory complications.
As it turns out, this is due to the proximity of their teeth to the nasal cavities.
Dental concerns are frequently handed down to pets as a result of an unbalanced diet, congenital disabilities, or a lack of Vitamin C.
A respiratory issue might result from an infection in these areas, causing your pet to sneeze.
Also, keep in mind that dental issues cause the animal to drool or slobber owing to chewing difficulties.
The problem necessitates treatment by a highly experienced veterinarian, or it can be fatal because the guinea pig might stop eating.
Weight loss, discomfort during meals, and anorexia are all symptoms.
Additional Tips for Alleviating Sneezing in Guinea Pigs
Here are some tips that you can try to reduce the frequency of sneezing in guinea pigs.
However, if sneezing continues or exacerbates, book an appointment with your local veterinarian.
Reconsider the Cage Location
Do not place the cage of your guinea pig near anything that could cause irritation to the animal.
Also, make sure that the cage is clean and well ventilated.
Keep Your Guinea Pig Dry
Keep your pets out of the rain or wet grass. In addition to being a nuisance, getting wet can cause major health issues, such as upper respiratory infections.
To avoid an increased risk of infection, always completely dry your guinea pigs.
Change the Bedding
Bedding is one of the most common causes of allergies in pet guinea pigs.
Your pet’s nose may become irritated by the dust in the hay or the oil in the shavings, resulting in persistent sneezing.
It is a good idea to consider a different type of bedding to see if it reduces sneezing. In most cases, fleece can ease any allergic reactions caused by bedding.
Avoid Spread of Infection
Infections are contagious. In order to prevent the spread of disease-causing bacteria in your pig’s cage, be sure to clean it regularly.
Buy Good Quality Hay
Guinea pigs have an insatiable appetite for hay and will do anything to get their hands on as much as possible.
It is best to keep your guinea pigs well-fed and happy by providing them with high-quality hay.
The product you purchase should have been thoroughly cleaned to remove parasites, fungal spores, and other allergen-causing elements before it was put on the market.
Excessive Sneezing Without a Respiratory Problem
Although guinea pigs will mostly sneeze excessively when they have a URI or LRI, they can do so if they have allergies.
Just like humans, cavies can have allergies to things such as flowers, pollen, perfumes, dust, etc.
If your little bun has an allergy, they will sneeze a lot, leading you to think that a pulmonary problem is at play.
If there are no other symptoms, you shouldn’t worry about your pet having pneumonia or any other lung issue.
But if you still cannot be sure, you should consult your vet for your peace of mind.
The Bottom Line
Sneezing every now and then is quite normal and should not cause any concern.
However, it is essential to visit a vet if it’s more than usual and accompanied by any symptoms described above.
Also, keep an eye on your pet’s behavior for any changes, such as hostility toward other animals or antisocial behavior.
These behavioral changes may be a red flag or an underlying illness.
The key to keeping guinea pigs healthy is to keep them from getting sick in the first place.
Consistent and nutritional meals, clean water, bedding materials, and frequent cleaning of the cage are important.
It is also essential to maintain a low-stress atmosphere and ensure that your pet receives sufficient exercise.
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