Guinea pigs are some of the most adorable pets to keep.
They’re small, furry, and extremely friendly. Since guinea pigs crave companionship, they can get attached to their owners very quickly.
However, they’re also sensitive and fragile.
If you’re new to pet-keeping, you need to be quite attentive towards them. Female guinea pigs need greater care during their estrus cycles.
Read on to find out whether female guinea pigs get periods and how to look after them.
Do Guinea Pigs Have Periods?
Yes, guinea pigs do have periods. However, they menstruate without bleeding. It is actually abnormal for a guinea pig to bleed during her periods.
Like other female mammals, female guinea pigs also have uteruses.
However, instead of a menstruation cycle, they have an estrus or “heat cycle”.
Heat cycles can happen during any time of the year.
For guinea pigs, they usually last 16 days and are more common in spring.
The female is most fertile during the first 6-11 hours during the heat cycle. She will also welcome mating, especially during nighttime.
However, the fact remains – female guinea pigs don’t bleed.
If you do notice your pet bleeding, take her to an exotics vet immediately.
If Guinea Pigs Don’t Bleed Then Where is the Blood Coming From?
The bleeding could still be coming from the guinea pig’s uterus.
However, this could be a serious cause of concern. Your pet may have an acute problem with her uterus, ovaries, or even the bladder.
Some known issues could be infections, uroliths (bladder stones) or tumors, which lead to bleeding.
Here are all the possible causes of why your guinea pig might be bleeding.
Urinary Tract Infections
An infection in the urinary tract can cause subtle bleeding in guinea pigs.
The condition can lead to some of the blood passing into the urinary tract.
UTI is one of the most commonly diagnosed diseases and is often confused with menstrual bleeding.
You might notice blood-tinged drips on the floor or bedding even when she’s not trying to urinate. Instead of the uterus, the blood could be coming from her urine.
If you want to be sure that it’s not an infection, take a urine test.
If your cavy urinates on a hard surface like a plastic litter box or the kitchen floor, collect the sample with a syringe.
Take it to an experienced exotics vet who will test it for infection.
Your guinea pig probably has an infection or cystitis if the blood is indeed coming from the urine.
A few known symptoms of UTI are:
- Blood-tinged bedding
- Foul smell in the urine
- Blood dripping or spotting from the genitals
- Squeaking during urination
- Excessive thirst
The best way is to treat UTIs is by providing your pet fresh, clean water to drink. Hydration is very important as it pushes out the toxins in the urinary tract.
Since UTI spikes up the thirst, giving her freshwater is super-important.
Next, try giving your pet some cranberry juice.
Packed with antioxidants, cranberries are quite healing for UTIs. Make sure it’s unsweetened to avoid any irritants.
Although cranberry juice isn’t a cure-all, it definitely eliminates the bacteria that are causing the infection.
This is a good way to reduce bleeding and irritation until you visit a vet.
Keep the cage clean and hygienic.
Replace any bloody sheets or bedding to prevent bacteria from spreading. If you’re also using a fleece, give it a good wash or replace it frequently.
Most importantly, take her to a professional vet to clear out the UTI.
They will probably prescribe an antibiotic or a lighter medicine to soothe the condition.
Some common medicines from UTI include enrofloxacin, trimethoprim-sulfa, and ciprofloxacin. Remember, getting a prescription is extremely important.
Yet another cause for bleeding in the genital area are bladder stones. This, too, maybe confused with guinea pigs having periods.
In fact, bladder stones are more common in female guinea pigs than males. Therefore, this could be a potential cause.
The main culprit behind the stones is the calcification of oxalates. When there’s a mineral surplus in the body, the guinea pig might develop stones.
If you’re feeding your pet a high-calcium diet, then this could be a possible cause of bladder stone formation.
A few known symptoms of bladder stones are:
- Severe difficulty in urination
- Blood in urine
- Lethargy, inactivity, and malaise
- Appetite loss
The best way to diagnose bladder stones is through an X-ray.
They instantly detect the presence of bladder stones in female guinea pigs. If they are detected, the treatment might include minor surgery to remove the stone.
However, there isn’t much to be scared of. Stones are only a rare, possible cause of your cavy bleeding.
A tumor, whether active or benign, can also be a possible cause. It can be on any part of your cavy’s reproductive tract and cause her to bleed.
Either the tumor mass is irritating her or the organ it’s attached to could be bleeding.
Tumors are caused by the abnormal proliferation of body cells that lead to tissue lumps. They are either benign or malignant.
Just like UTI, the blood passes through the urinary tract. However, when it’s a tumor, the color is an intense red as compared to a UTI.
Look out for these symptoms if you do suspect a case:
- Traces of blood in the urine
- Bald patches at the area around the lump or even other body parts
- Sluggish, sedentary behavior
- Difficulty respiring
- Loss of appetite
The urinary tract or the reproductive tract then ends up passing blood into the urine. If this is the case, take your cavy to the vet.
The doctor will examine the presence and severity of the tumor. If it is indeed present, then there might be surgery involved.
External tumors can be diagnosed through a sample.
However, internal tumors need other tests like Ultrasound, X-ray, or MRI to identify the cause.
Thankfully, if the tumor is benign, the best way to control it is by medication.
However, surgery might remove the tumor completely. However, if your cavy has a malignant tumor, then the doctor will call for immediate surgery.
Another possible cause could be pyometra. Although it’s common in dogs and cats, guinea pigs get infected too.
Pyometra is a severe infection that causes an excess of puss buildup inside the uterus of the cavy.
This can lead to blood spots in the vaginal discharge.
Don’t confuse it with her periods as bleeding is abnormal. It’s also hard to distinguish between pyometra and UTI.
Therefore, always visit a vet for proper diagnosis and treatment.
How to Look After Your Female Guinea Pig
Bleeding will always be a cause of concern.
However, there are preventive measures to ensure that your cavy recovers quickly.
Let’s have a look at them:
A good diet is a key to keeping your cavy healthy and happy. Make sure the diet is high in vitamin C, healthy veggies, good quality hay, and pellets.
The reason why vitamin C is important is that cavies don’t make their own.
They require ample amounts of vitamin C pellets to improve immunity and keep many diseases at bay.
A nutritious diet will ensure that your guinea pig has a healthy, regular heat cycle.
Above all, it’s a great way to prevent diseases like UTIs and bladder stones.
Keeping your cavy clean will help eliminate any infection-causing bacteria. Use pristine and high-quality bedding and keep the enclosure clean.
Doing so will eliminate any chances of bacterial infection in the cay’s habitat.
Many times a buildup of bacteria leads to UTIs; therefore, hygiene is crucial.
Spray Your Female Guinea Pig
Another excellent way to prevent infections in the urinary tract and tumors is spraying.
Spraying at the age of 5-6 months will keep your cavy’s habitat and body clean.
This will also prevent pregnancy once her pelvic bones fuse.
Keep Your Guinea Pig Happy
Always make sure that you’re fulfilling your cavy’s basic needs, especially during the heat cycle. She needs extra care and attention.
Make the bedding comfy and feed them her favorite snacks often. Give her ample floor time and a spacious cage to move around.
Your guinea pig shouldn’t feel stressed or suffocated.
Make her habitat as relaxing and cozy as possible so she feels happy. This is one of the best things to keep her active and prevent the onset of obesity.
A Final Word
So, now we know that guinea pigs do, in fact, menstruate.
However, they go through heat cycles instead of bleeding like other mammals. Keeping your guinea pig feeling reassured and secure is key to her happiness.
Always take her to the vet for a checkup if and when you notice bleeding. Don’t forget to use the tips above to keep your cavy happy and active!
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