Some sneezing and coughing is normal, but excessive wheezing with discharge usually indicates that your guinea pig has a bacterial infection. Contact your vet. Chances are that the infection can be cleared up fairly easily.
Very rapid breathing may be a sign that your pet is really frightened or in shock. Heat stroke also causes this sort of breathing pattern. If your pet has been exposed to excessive temperatures and is demonstrating difficulty in breathing, take her to the vet right away.
Upper respiratory infections (URI) are almost always fatal for a cavy. If you notice difficulty breathing, eating and signs of lethargy as well as any crusting around the eyes or nose then rush your guinea pig to the vet.
Appetite/Water Consumption Problems
Any cessation in eating or drinking by your guinea pig should be cause for alarm. In less than twenty-four hours liver cells can begin to break down without proper sustenance. Make an appointment with the vet and take down directions on how to do hand feeding if you have to wait even a few hours.
Weight loss is often the first sign that your cavy is sick. Know what the guinea pig’s normal weight is, so that you can track any loss. Using a small household scale, weigh the cavy once a week. Here are some weight guidelines:
• One ounce weight fluctuation is OK
• Two ounces – Go on alert
• Three ounces – Extreme red alert
• Four ounces – Take your guinea pig to the vet
If your vet is not trained to take care of guinea pig teeth or if your vet does not make a diagnoses but your cavy continues to loose weight then you need to find another vet. Malocclusion, or the improper growth of teeth can be fatal if not treated.
If you notice that your guinea pig is not drinking very much water, then pay attention. Have they been eating a lot of fresh produce? They may be getting the water they need from this. If you think that they are not drinking enough water for some other reason don’t hesitate to call your vet. Not drinking enough water, however, is a rare problem with guinea pigs.
Drinking too much or a lot of water, on the other hand could indicate a number of serious problems such as a bladder infection (cystitis), diabetes or kidney/bladder stones. Each of these illnesses comes with additional symptoms. For instance, kidney and bladder stones also cause swelling and tenderness around the bladder area and pink urine. Too much calcium causes this condition.
Cystitis shows up as pinkish urine, loss of appetite and obvious pain when urinating. Your vet will either prescribe medication or surgery for these problems. While diabetes is rare in guinea pigs, it does occur. If your pet is diagnosed with diabetes then you will need to provide extra care. Just like human diabetes, guinea pig diabetes is controlled through insulin injections or insulin supplements to the diet. In Type 1 diabetes guinea pigs produce no insulin. In Type 2 diabetes guinea pigs either don’t produce enough or do not use the produced insulin effectively.
When you combine excessive water intake with these other health problems: urinary tract infections, cataracts, weight loss without decreased appetite, and a constantly wet bottom, then you may have a case of diabetes on your hands.
Type 1-diabetes cases call for insulin injections and some Type 2 cases also call for injections. An oral medication may be all you need for a Type 2 case, however. Foods with added sugars and high fat foods will have to be eliminated from your pet’s diet. In addition, you want to make sure that they have an ample hay supply for fiber. It goes without saying that if you suspect any of these problems; schedule a check-up with your vet right away.