Have you seen a guinea pig sneezing? Guinea pigs can be so cute in almost everything they do and even while releasing that build-up snot, they manage to stay adorable. But why is your guinea pig sneezing?
Is it a seasonal thing that occurs temporarily or can it be a sign of a more serious medical condition? There is certainly more to that than just a simple ‘achoo’. In this article, we will be exploring more about your rodent pet’s sneezing, the many causes of it, and the dos and don’ts.
What Can Cause Guinea Pigs To Sneeze?
It seems that all animals are capable of sneezing. As long as there are a nose and a respiratory system with similar elements to that of humans, then that animal can sneeze. Just like humans, guinea pigs sneeze due to the involuntary reaction to the irritants in the nose.
They can be dust, unwanted scent, smoke, or any tiny particles capable of scattering through the air. Sneezing aims to remove these irritants as much as possible.
However, there can be internal factors that cause the guinea pig to sneeze. Here are the most common causes of your pet’s sneezing:
In case you haven’t noticed, guinea pigs are mammals, and therefore, they are warm-blooded animals. Due to that nature, any temperature and humidity changes can affect them.
You don’t need to panic if your pet guinea pig sneezes as the weather varies. The dry conditions can irritate its nasal passage.
Bacteria And Allergies
The entry of microorganisms such as bacteria and allergens can be the cause of sneezing. The bacteria Bordatella and Streptococcus can infect your guinea pigs. Normally, they can be carriers of the said bacteria yet exhibit no symptoms at all.
Therefore, sneezing may be a late manifestation of the bacteria’s existence. If your guinea pigs have eaten something that causes them to sneeze, they may be allergic to that particular food.
The allergic reaction can occur not only after food intake but just by inhaling normally. Here are the other possible allergens that can make your pet sneeze:
- Chemicals from cleaning products, washing detergents, and air fresheners
- Small particles such as dust and pollen
Pets can feel stress too even though they are being spoon-fed. It indirectly affects their immune system and thereby, making it easier for the microorganisms to enter and move further in the respiratory system.
Most of the time, the owner’s actions contribute to the stress experienced by the guinea pig. Here are several common stressors:
- Transferring from one location to another
- Transferring from one ownership to another
- Presence of a newly-added guinea pig in the same housing
- Aggressive behavior of one guinea pig to another in the same housing
- Too many guinea pigs within a single, limited enclosure
- Small living space
- Lack of exercise for guinea pig
- Enclosure not cleaned thoroughly or regularly
- Wrong choice of bedding (cedar or pine)
- Guinea pig recently experienced being neutered, spayed, or surgically operated
- Presence of pollutants such as cigar smoke
The lack of vitamin C in the guinea pig’s diet can lead to being susceptible to upper respiratory infection. This can compromise the immune system and render its functions useless in fighting against disease-causing microorganisms. You can determine if your pets lack the necessary vitamins if there is a little presence of fruits and vegetables or none at all.
There might be a little chance for a dental issue to trigger sneezing. However, due to the location of the upper teeth of the guinea pig being close to the nasal passages, an infection can probably occur. That infection can even lead to upper respiratory infection.
Upper Respiratory Infection
If your guinea pig seems to have frequent sneezing, then there is more to that than just an inhaled speck of dust or a stressful afternoon in the enclosure. What it may be experiencing is a case of ‘upper respiratory infection’ or URI. Examples are colds and pneumonia.
Usually, this appears when your pet is sick. Coupled with a lack of vitamin C, dental issues, or stress, your pet’s immune system will be at risk. URI can be caught from animals other than fellow guinea pigs. They can catch it from dogs or rabbits.
How Do I Know If My Guinea Pig Has A Respiratory Infection?
Sneezing is obviously the main symptom of a respiratory infection. However, it will be hard to determine whether your guinea pig’s sneezing is a result of an attack of an irritant or from being infected by other pets. If you have time, you can evaluate these other symptoms to make sure if your pet has a respiratory infection or nothing at all.
Decrease In Appetite
If you have observed that your chubby rodent pet is not eating its food, then there might be a chance that it suffers from a respiratory problem. Although there can be other diseases that can be related to the loss of appetites such as malocclusion or bumblefoot, if it is accompanied by frequent sneezing, then that can be likely a URI.
No Feces And Weight Loss Due To Decrease In Appetite
And because your pet is not eating at all, logically there will be no feces also. As the guinea pig expends energy without eating, expect it also to lose a noticeable amount of weight.
Lack Of Activity And Out Of Breathe
Since the guinea pig has no appetite and won’t eat at all, it will gradually lose its stored energy. You’ll observe that it won’t interact with the other guinea pigs and prefers to sleep instead. That is very noticeable right away since they are active animals.
Just like in humans, when a sneeze is followed by a series of coughs, then there’s something wrong with the respiratory system. Guinea pigs can experience coughing also and they can wheeze after their usual playing routine.
Discharge From Nose Or Eyes
When there is sneezing, there is a possibility for snot. However, having a discharge around the eyes and nose area can signal a much worrying situation. Furthermore, if the discharge has a yellowish color, it may indicate a respiratory problem and need immediate medical attention.
Changes In Appearance
Aside from losing weight, other alarming changes in the physical appearance are dulling or receding of the eyes to the point the eyelids are almost shut closed, and the changes in the coat wherein the texture becomes rough.
Due to difficulty in breathing, you can observe that your guinea pig’s posture is hunching. This also can indicate that its body will be weakened due to the infection or due to the lack of appetite while being infected. Not only will the guinea pig prefer to sleep all the time after feeling weak, when it awakens, but it will also still appear to be in a sleepy state.
As mentioned, a guinea pig is an active pet. Anything lesser than that, even if you are regularly feeding it, is alarming. Furthermore, if it acts aggressively towards other guinea pigs, then that situation calls for urgent action.
What Does A Guinea Pig Sneezing Sound Like?
A sneeze is almost identical in every mammal species. It will always be an ‘achoo’ wherein the pitch and volume of the sound differ. For a guinea pig, since it is a tiny creature, the sound will be a bit squeaky or high-pitched.
If it is caused by a slight irritant, it will eventually go away. However, if it is something serious like a URI, then the sound will be more frequent and later on, it will be accompanied by alarming noises such as coughing or a burst of nasal discharge.
- How Do Guinea Pigs Show Affection? (And When Is There Something Wrong)
- Do Guinea Pigs Fart (And When To Worry)
- Do Guinea Pigs Bathe Themselves? (And Other Hygiene Questions!)
What Do I Do If My Guinea Pig Keeps Sneezing?
Now that you are aware of the common causes of your guinea pig’s sneezing and understand when it will become an infection, you must know the corresponding solutions or actions to minimize or cure it. Here are some of the things that you can do:
Checking The Living Conditions
The easiest way to resolve your guinea pig’s sneezing is to secure the living conditions are stress-free. You can isolate those who are sneezing to minimize the risk of infection. Aside from that, make sure the cage or enclosure is clean at all times so that there will be no presence for any irritants.
Make sure also the cage is not near a polluted place like an area within the presence of cigar smoke or vehicle smoke. Additionally, it will be a great help if there is no presence of pollen-producing flowers nearby.
Try to change the bedding as well. You can opt for hypoallergenic options to minimize the risk of triggering allergies. If you use a haystack as flooring, replace it with a better alternative such as a rubber mat.
Improving The Feeding Conditions
Guess where does vitamin C and other minerals can come from? They are obtained from high-quality foods such as fruits and vegetables. You must train your guinea pig to eat those kinds of foods as frequently as possible.
Another food source that your guinea pig might be craving is hay. Sometimes, hay can become a source of nasal irritation. If possible, select only the good quality and make sure no parasites and allergens are settling on the hay.
Keeping The Guinea Pigs Dry
As much as possible, do not expose your guinea pig to a highly moist or constantly wet environment. It can greatly affect the body temperature and might trigger sneezing.
You have observed that you will be sneezing after being soaked in the rain and not drying immediately, right? That is also true for the guinea pigs. And if you bath them, dry them as quickly as possible.
Visit The Veterinarian
If regular maintenance procedures and improvements in food selection don’t do much, then the best course of action is a visit to the veterinarian. However, if from the get-go your pet’s sneezing is accompanied by symptoms of respiratory infection, then go to the veterinarian immediately.
Invest In Antibiotics And Necessary Medical Equipment
Unfortunately, guinea pigs don’t catch colds similar to humans. It will boil down to whether are they irritated or are they infected. If it is just an irritation, then a change in living conditions or a few healthy tweaks in the menu might be enough.
But if the diagnosis is a respiratory infection, then antibiotics will be the only key to eliminate it. The most commonly prescribed antibiotic is ‘Baytril’. There may be a chance that it will not be effective and you might be inclined to purchase other classes of antibiotics.
Whatever it is, make sure that the antibiotic prescribed or purchased is not dangerous for the guinea pig species. You can find a list for that online. A nebulizer can be a huge help in delivering the antibiotic straight to the source. This, however, can only be a course of action when the respiratory infection is severe.
There is still a chance that your guinea pig will be infected again. A chronic infection might be rare but it can be an indication of a larger illness that is yet to be diagnosed.
Is It Bad When Guinea Pigs Sneeze?
Did you know that there is such thing as a good sneeze and bad sneeze? A good sneeze is that one occurring mostly once or twice. You can conclude that it is just caused by an irritant like pollen or dust particles. Sometimes, you can blame it on a sudden change in weather.
The bad sneeze, on the other hand, is the frequent one. The level of frequency being talked about here is sneezing even though you have separated your pet from the source of irritation or keeping the living conditions clean and dry.
Another bad or even worse sneeze is when it is accompanied by alarming changes. It can be a yellowish discharge, a worrying cough, or a sudden decrease in inactivity. That sneeze though is very troubling and an immediate visit to the veterinarian is a must.
It will be irresponsible to act only after the infection is contracted. As early as possible, prevent your guinea pigs from possible sources of sneezing through the following actions:
- Keep the cage and enclosure clean at all times.
- Make sure that the living condition is not very moist or exposed in getting wet.
- Keep your guinea pig dry always.
- Avoid putting your guinea pig in stressful conditions.
- Feed your pet with high-quality and nutrient-rich foods.
- Observe the reactions to a certain type of food given.
- Remove any possible irritants and pollutants in your pet’s living area.
- Invest in exercising features such as a running wheel.
- Have an annual check-up with a veterinarian.
Why Is Your Guinea Pig Sneezing Blood?
One very alarming situation is when your guinea pig sneezes blood. But, is it just a myth, or does sneezing blood is very much possible? It turns out that a guinea pig can sneeze blood.
There is a high indication that there is something wrong seriously with your pet. Sneezing with blood is such a rare sight for guinea pigs. On the lighter side, the sharp points of hay can cause it but if the nosebleed turns out that it runs deep inside, then it is urgent to go and see a veterinarian.
If bleeding is disregarded, there can be complications later on. Here are some of the following:
- skin irritation due to eye and nasal discharge
- pneumonia-like symptoms
- loss of appetite leading to serious digestive tract problems
- loss of appetite leading to deficiency of vitamin C
- inflammation on the tissues in the respiratory tract
Upon seeing the veterinarian due to the presence of blood, diagnostics are performed to determine what the blood can indicate. Here are a few common diagnostic procedures that will be performed:
- Tracing of medical history
- Inspection for the dental disease through skull X-rays
- Inspection for pneumonia through chest X-rays
You may be thinking: “X-rays? Really? Just from a nosebleed?”. Yes, it sure feels like acting very paranoid but as mentioned, bleeding on the nose without any physical harm is a rare sight. You can never be too complacent if you care for your pet.
Is Your Guinea Pig Sneezing Or Farting?
Guinea pigs are very adorable creatures. Whatever they do, they are just oozing with cuteness due to their chubby yet active bodies. If a guinea pig sneezes or farts, you might be probably laughing or even taking a video to share on social media.
To determine if your guinea pig either sneezes or farts, you can do 2 things. First, you have to listen to the sound. If it is a high pitch ‘achoo’, then your pet is just sneezing. Other than that, it can be a fart.
Second, you have to smell the surroundings. If your pet sneezes, there is no annoying odor coming out. But if there is, then your guinea pig has just farted.
Is fart normal for guinea pigs? Certainly, they are normal and safe since all mammals have similar digestive systems, and dissolving food in the gastrointestinal tract can release gases. These gases will cause the stomach to be bloated and the most common way to release them is through farting.
However, there is something you should be cautious of. If farting is accompanied by unintentional discharge and it keeps going, that may signal a serious stomach issue. It may lead to further complications if left unattended.
How Many Times A Day Should A Guinea Pig Sneeze?
If a guinea pig sneezes around 2 to 4 times a day and all are happening in intervals, then that does not pose a risk. But if a guinea pig manages to sneeze way more than that amount, then that can be a sign of a respiratory infection.
If you are wondering, “Do I have much free time to observe my pet if it sneezes more than 4 times a day or not?”. You don’t need a whole day just to observe your guinea pig. If the sneezing is caused by an irritant, it will be rampant and can last for hours as long as the irritant is not removed.
However, if you suspect that the guinea pig does have a respiratory infection, you can eventually manage to notice your pet’s disposition and behavior in just a few minutes of observation.
Two things can cause sneezing for guinea pigs in general: irritation or infection. For irritation, you can just change the living environment for the better. For infection, you need not only vitamins but also antibiotics.
Try to constantly observe your pet guinea pig as frequently as possible. The alarming indications are already mentioned and you only need to piece up the information. If in doubt, always consult for professional help.
Guinea pigs may be small creatures but if you treat them as part of your life, then having them sick is already a very big deal. There’s nothing that can stop you from going to the extremes to cure your pet’s illness.