Weighty Issues

Gucci Weighing ScalesDo you know how much each of your guineas weighs? Would you notice if they were loosing weight?

Guinea pigs are extremely good at hiding illness, and weight loss is often one of the first signs to look out for. By the time people notice that their guinea is getting thinner, it has often lost a LOT of weight. Whilst 85 or 100gms (3 or 4 ounces) might not seem much of a weight loss to a human, to a 900gm (2lb) guinea, that is a large percentage of their body weight to loose. Guineas fighting infections or not eating properly often loose weight very quickly and can go downhill rapidly over a few short days if the problem is not caught early.

Weighing your guinea pig regularly can help you to spot any large changes in weight. A guinea’s weight often fluctuates by 25-50gms (1-2 ounces) depending on what time of the day you weigh them, and also what season it is.  The most important thing is to know what “normal” is for each guinea.  Any weight loss of 85gms (3oz) or more should put you on alert.  Once a guinea starts loosing weight, the most important thing is to get them to a guinea-competent Vet quickly for a diagnosis and treatment.  Common causes of weight loss include:

  • pain – guineas in pain don’t do well and often stop eating. Pain comes in many different forms including lip sores, mouth ulcers, oral fungal infections, post-operative pain, cystitis, bladder stones, major skin problems, sore joints etc. Take the pain away and they will often start eating again. This is why pre and post-operative pain relief is particularly important for guineas.
  • infection – weight loss often occurs when a guinea is fighting an infection.
  • diarrhoea – dehydration often adds to weight loss if a guinea is not given enough fluids.
  • teeth / mouth problems – guineas may have difficulty picking up and eating food when their teeth are overgrown, or they have mouth ulcers, or a fungal mouth infection.

Opinions vary as to how often piggies should be weighed. Here at Gorgeous Guineas, each guinea is weighed on arrival and then every week. Sick guineas are weighed every day at the same to monitor progress. Once a guinea starts to loose weight, the more it looses, the harder it can be to get it back on again, so take action promptly if your guinea shows signs of weigh loss. If a guinea stops eating on its own for more than a few hours, it needs to be seen by a guinea-competent Vet as soon as possible. Any blockages need to be addressed before syringe feeding is started.

Weighing  your guineas each week could help to flag up potential problems which can be addressed before they become serious.



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