Sunday, September 11, 2016

Why You should find a Guinea Pig Vet BEFORE you need one

Einstein wasn't feeling well here!
Over the years, I have had a number of guinea pigs.  I got Tilly when I was eight, and I'm now 29 again for the *mumble* time.

Guinea pigs are much like any other pet that they may need to see a vet.  Unfortunately, it is the rare vet that is actually trained in guinea pig care.  Some medicines are toxic to guinea pigs that are normally prescribed for other animals, so it is always good to know what medicines a guinea pig CAN take before you go to the vet.  In fact, when I was taking my pigs to a person without much training in the way of small animals, I kept a veterinary textbook in my purse about how to treat rabbits and other small animals.  It was a very expensive book, and I've since sold it because I realize how important it is for a guinea pig to be seen by a vet who already has experience with small animals and not looking up information on the spot.

My pig, Lucky, needed to go to the vet recently, and I called the local office where I have taken a number of my pigs in the past.  They said the small animal specialist was no longer there and they didn't like to see guinea pigs because they are not properly trained to care for them.  Thankfully, they told me the town where she was currently practicing, and I made an hour and a half trip (each way) to get my little guy to the vet.  Thankfully he likes car rides.

I'm experienced enough with guinea pig care, I gave the vet a rundown of what was going on, and what I would have done if I had the medicines on hand.  She totally agreed with me, and in just a few minutes after she gave him a wellness check up in addition to the problem I took him in for, she sent us on our way with the exact medicine I would have started him on if I had it on hand.  (But, it's prescription and I didn't have any.)

The two major areas guinea pigs have problems that can be deadly is with teeth and feet.  I'll write more about each of these areas and what to watch for soon, but it's so important to know where you will take your pigs if one of them gets sick.  The last thing you want to do is be like me, not knowing the small animal vet had left the practice near me, and I was calling the vet offices in the town where I knew she was working, hoping I could find her quickly because I didn't want to let it go another day and I wondered if she would even be in.

So I would recommend you find a vet that is comfortable treating small animals and take your pigs in for a wellness checkup.  Not only will you make sure there is no underlying problem, but you will be established there.  Because guinea pigs hide when they are not feeling well, the quicker you are to respond to their problems the greater chance they have of surviving.

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