Diseases

Frequently asked questions about Diseases
  • My guinea pig has had a bump on his hip for 2 months. Could this be a tumour?
  • My guinea pig has been hopping for some time. Are these fleas?
  • My chinchilla sometimes has cramps and is then exhausted for a short time. What can I do?
  • What can I do against welts on my guinea pig’s paws?
  • My guinea pig has a bump on the back. Is this a blocked gland or something malignant? What can I do about it?
  • My guinea pig refuses to be petted and squeaks when it is touched. What can this be?
  • Can I dare to put my pet rabbit with another although the two have had no contact before?
  • I found something in my rabbit’s droppings once which looked like a worm. What can this be?
  • My guinea pig has had a bump on his hip for 2 months. Could this be a tumour?

Question:
My Sammy (guinea pig, one year old) has a pea size bump on his left hip, and this is there for over 2 months. However it is not having any adverse affects on him. My question: Are guinea pigs as susceptible to “boils” as us humans or should I go to the vet immediately with such appearances (because of suspected tumour or similar)?

Answer:
If rodents have such bumps, these are small abscesses in the most cases. Tumours are rarely the cause. If it is an abscess, it should be cleaned as soon as possible by a vet as the larger it gets, the more extensive and painful the treatment. A tumour can also be removed without problems as long as it is small enough. I therefore advise you to bring the guinea pig to a vet as soon as possible and to have the bump checked out. Bumps or boils in guinea pigs should be examined and treated as early as possible.

My guinea pig has been hopping for some time. Are these fleas?

Question:
My guinea pig is now 1.5 months old. He has been hopping for two days. He hops back and forth from time to time (and for longer periods). Could he possibly have fleas? And how can I be sure?

Answer:
It is correct that guinea pigs start to hop when they are itching. Mostly, these are not fleas but other parasites (e.g. mange mites), fungi or eczema. You therefore should present the guinea pig to a vet. Only an examination can determine if the animal hops for joy or if he has a strong itch which needs treatment.

My chinchilla sometimes has cramps and is then exhausted for a short time. What can I do?

Question:
(Special point: birth defect: right front paw has only one finger). The chinchilla sometimes has cramps of ca. 20 seconds. Then, it is exhausted for a short while but recovers. What can I do?

Answer:
There are two types of cramps in chinchillas which occur more frequently: One is the so-called food cramp. This occurs during feeding. The animals go stiff, make backwards movements, fall to the side and flap their feet. This food cramp is still not studied but is probably inherent. Therefore, these animals should not be bred. The food cramp cannot be treated at the moment. The second type is the so-called cramping. The animals are shivering when touched and can no longer jump. This cramping can possibly be improved by feeding calcium, catosal and vitamin B complex. But as there are even more rare diseases, which can cause cramps, you absolutely should present your animal to a vet.

What can I do against welts on my guinea pig’s paws?

Question:
My guinea pig has welts on the paws. What can I do about it?

Answer:
Welts on the feet of guinea pigs can have various causes. Mostly, very well fed animals with little exercise and relatively hard litter are affected. As these pads can become infected and therefore be very unpleasant to the animals, you should change the conditions in which your guinea pig is kept. More exercise and a little less food help to reduce weight. In addition, you should use very soft litter. 4-5 cm thick litter of soft hay with paper reduces the pressure on the legs. The litter should also always be dry so that there is no infection of the pads.

My guinea pig has a bump on the back. Is this a blocked gland or something malignant? What can I do about it?

Question:
My guinea pig has had a relatively large bump on its back. Could this be something malignant? I heard before that the sebaceous glands in guinea pigs often block up, can this be treated by the vet? Otherwise, the guinea pig is happy and shows no different behaviour.

Answer:
You should show such bumps in guinea pigs to the vet as soon as possible. These are very often blocked glands or abscesses caused by small foreign bodies. But it can also be benevolent or malignant tumours. All these diseases can be treated in general. But you should always remember one thing; the smaller the humps and the earlier they are treated, the less stress is put on the animal and the less the treatment expenditure. Therefore, take your animal to the vet today rather than tomorrow and have him checked.

My guinea pig refuses to be petted and squeaks when it is touched. What can this be?

Question:
My guinea pig Dex (8 years old) no longer wants to be petted. He was totally cuddly and suddenly, you cannot touch him anymore. He goes totally crazy and squeaks like mad and hops back and forth. What can this be? Is he sick or does he just no longer want to be touched? Many thanks for your help.

Answer:
Answer: Dex’s behaviour probably has nothing to do with lost affection but has physical causes. The behaviour you described is typical when guinea pigs have a strong itch or feel pain. The most common cause for strong itching in guinea pigs are bird lice or mites, both have to be treated as soon as possible. Guinea pigs can suffer that much from itching that they take high jumps on the spot, squeak loudly and want to defend themselves from any touch, some animals even bite themselves bloody. I therefore advise you to make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible to have your guinea pigs checked thoroughly.

Can I dare to put my pet rabbit with another although the two have had no contact before?

Question:
One of my rabbits has died three days ago due to a chronic intestinal infection, the other one (6 months old) really grieved (they were sisters). We therefore bought a new pet rabbit (8 weeks old). Now I have put the two together and the female immediately “mounted” the male (the new pet rabbit). I then grabbed it because the pet rabbit is only half as big as the other! The female then was in a huff and bit me. Can I dare to put the pet rabbit with the other (in the outside pen)? At the moment, I keep one pet rabbit in the inside cage and the other in the outside cage.

Answer:
Rabbits (females in particular) are often very peculiar in terms of other rabbits and do not allow them into the territory without problems. Therefore, you should bring the animals together on “neutral ground”, i.e. in a room both rabbits do not know. The female has no territory here which she needs to defend. In addition, you can feed the animals exactly at the time of meeting so that they eat side by side first (the hunger is generally stronger) and can watch each other a bit. With a bit of luck, the animals get on from there. If this is the case, you should leave the animals there for a while and clean the cage thoroughly (also disinfect) so that all rabbit scents are gone. The two of them can start fresh in their “new” home.

I found something in my rabbit’s droppings once which looked like a worm. What can this be?

Question:
I noticed that there was a type of worm in the droppings of my rabbit (pet rabbit, 7 months old). After that, I could not see any more worms. What can this be? The worm was ca. 2 mm big and white.

Answer:
Rabbits can also have worms which live in the gastro-intestinal tract. These can be harmless earth roundworms which do not harm your rabbit. But according to your description, it could be different types of roundworms or ringworms. Such worms should be treated by a vet as they can lead to serious health problems (starvation, intestinal blockages, diarrhoea etc.). I advise you to take a fresh dropping by your rabbit to a vet for an examination of the faeces. If the rabbit has additional symptoms like e.g. diarrhoea, starvation, lethargy or similar, you should present the rabbit itself for examination. A specific treatment can be initiated on the basis of proof which worms are involved. The treatment for worms in rabbits is mostly rather problem-free and all it takes it suspension to be swallowed or a pill.

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