You may have noticed your guinea pig making what seems like snoring noises while he is sleeping. While this may seem adorable at first, it may be a sign that your cavy needs a trip to the vet as soon as possible.
Guinea pigs do not snore. Noises that sound like snoring may actually be wheezing, which is a late sign of an upper respiratory infection. This type of infection, which is very similar to the common cold, can quickly become deadly in guinea pigs.
Read on to learn more about what to do if you catch your guinea pig “snoring.”
Is it Normal for Guinea Pigs to Snore?
In short, it is not normal for guinea pigs to snore. Much like in humans, snoring can signify a more complicated condition. Guinea pigs are prone to upper respiratory infections, which is similar to a common cold in humans.
However, your piggy can get very sick from this infection. It can spread very quickly, making your pig sick.
Since guinea pigs only breathe through their nose, any respiratory problem makes it very difficult for them to breathe. This is why wheezing, or any abnormal breath sound, can be a sign of a potentially deadly infection.
While the occasional sneeze or wheeze may be considered normal, you should keep a close eye on any guinea pig experiencing these symptoms.
If you have other guinea pigs, you should separate the pig that may be sick; these infections can quickly spread to other cavies. These infections are also very common in pigs that have been in a pet store. It is recommended that you quarantine any new pigs for a few days before making introductions.
Is it Serious?
A snoring guinea pig can be a sign of something severe, such as an upper respiratory infection. These infections can be deadly in guinea pigs, as they are only able to breathe through their nose.
Any inflammation or blockages of their airway leave them with no other way of getting oxygen. This is why you may notice “snoring” or wheezing; it can be a sign that your cavy is struggling to breathe.
What are the Symptoms of Respiratory Infections in Guinea Pigs?
Respiratory infections in guinea pigs have lots of easy-to-spot symptoms. The problem is these symptoms usually do not show up until your piggy is already very sick.
This is why it is best to interact with your guinea pigs every day. You have a better chance of catching any new or strange behaviors this way.
Some of the most common symptoms of an upper respiratory infection are:
A guinea pig with an upper respiratory infection will likely not be breathing normally. You may notice signs of labored breathing, such as “snoring”/wheezing and an increased respiratory rate.
You may be able to hear your guinea pig breathing; their normal breaths should be relatively quiet.
Discharge from Eyes and Nose
Upper respiratory infections often cause an excess of mucus buildup. This is your cavy’s immune system trying to flush out the infection.
You may notice an increase in discharge from your piggy’s eyes and nose, and this discharge is likely to be thick and yellow or white.
Guinea pigs are pretty active pets. If you notice that your once-active cavy is now yawning and resting most of the day, it may be a sign of an upper respiratory infection.
Loss of Appetite
You may have noticed that your guinea pig spends most of the day eating. It is common for them to be munching on hay, pellets, or vegetables.
Sick guinea pigs often lose their robust appetite, opting to sleep instead. Always be sure to monitor your pig’s food and water intake. If they are not running over as soon as you bring in some yummy food, something may be going on.
Guinea pigs with upper respiratory infections often sneeze and cough. This is because they are trying to clear the excess mucus from their airway.
While the occasional sneeze or cough is normal (especially after your piggy’s head has been buried in hay), these behaviors in excess can be your signal to see a vet as soon as possible.
How do you Treat Respiratory Infection in Guinea Pigs?
Upper respiratory infections can become very serious in guinea pigs. For this reason, they require the treatment of a veterinarian.
Without treatment, your cavy can develop a more severe infection, such as pneumonia, within a day or two. As soon as you notice any of the symptoms mentioned in this article, is it best to see an exotic vet.
Your guinea pig will most likely be prescribed an antibiotic to treat this infection. It is crucial to make sure any medications are prescribed by an exotic veterinarian so that antibiotic type and dosage are appropriate for your pet.
Medications prescribed for guinea pigs are often in liquid form, so you will be required to administer these in a syringe.
Your vet may also advise you to keep your cavy in a warm, dry environment. You should encourage food and water intake as much as possible.
If your guinea pig is not eating or drinking independently, your vet may prescribe critical care, which is a liquid solution that can be fed to your guinea pig by syringe. This ensures that your guinea pig gets enough food and water to regain its strength.
Snoring in guinea pigs can be a sign of a very serious infection known as an upper respiratory infection.
If you notice that your guinea pig is snoring or has any other symptoms of a respiratory infection, it is best to take them to an exotic veterinarian immediately. Your vet will likely prescribe an antibiotic to treat this infection.
With prompt treatment, your guinea pig can make a speedy recovery from an upper respiratory infection. Be sure to interact with your piggy daily so that you can be aware of any new symptoms they are experiencing.