Caring for Older Pets
Guinea pigs can suffer from conditions such as arthritis, eye sight issues and can lose muscle and body mass as they progress in age. The average life span of a guinea pig is 5 to 7 years. Some guinea pigs can live till 9 or 10 years. The official record for the oldest guinea pig is 14 years and 10 and a half months. Guinea pigs can be considered to enter their “senior” years at around 4 to 5 years of age, or when symptoms of age develop.
Guinea pigs like humans can develops arthritic symptoms. Many owners find increasing the levels of vitamin C in the diet can assist with inflammation often associated with arthritis. There are other treatments to combat arthritis which you can discuss with your exotics veterinarian. These include: Metacam, Meloxicam, Glucosamine and Cosequin medications to assist with pain relief and inflammation.
Adding softer beddings such as Vet Bed can help reduce pressure on limbs and aid in a reduction in pain. Guinea pigs may find heat pads and wraps helpful to alleviate pain and aching joints. Please ensure that any heat pads you place in your guinea pigs cage they can easily walk away from if the heat become excessive. All pads must be 100% securely wrapped with a towel or blanket.
Guinea pigs love tunnelling and enjoy a safe, warm place to snuggle up. A piggy pouch or similar item is perfect to allow your cavy to rest, re cooperate and have a safe, comfortable place to have a snooze.
Some guinea pigs as time goes on may find it difficult to groom and care for themselves without assistance. You may need to check your guinea pigs bottom daily and clean away any excess urine or fecal matter. Gently using warm water your can wipe away any urine or fecal matter and towel dry. Always ensure your guinea pig is completely dry prior to placing back in its cage.
Weight is vitally important for pigs of all ages. Guinea pigs are prey animals and may be able to hide or cover any outward signs of illness. Weigh your guinea pig on a weekly basis. Weight loss is one of the first signs of illness.
Always check your guinea pigs teeth on a daily basis, watch for signs of teeth issues - these could range from not picking or eating food as they usually do, drooling, excessive movement when chewing, eye or nose discharge, weight loss or your guinea pig has an appetite yet cannot eat.