As a guinea pig owner, sometimes you may see your pet acting weird. Does that mean that your guinea pig is feeling pain?
Yes, guinea pigs do feel pain. In fact, that can be a probable reason behind your pet’s weird behavior.
However, guinea pigs can hide their distress from their caregivers – and pet owners often miss this.
Remember: they are prey, therefore they naturally hide pain and illness.
Fortunately, there are ways we can identify them before they get worse.
In this article, we’ll discuss the signs and symptoms to know if your guinea pig is feeling pain. So, read the whole article to know about the signs in detail.
Table of Contents
Signs The Guinea Pigs Feel Pain
Guinea pigs in pain cringe when touched or picked up.
Their body flinches to protect itself from pain, no matter how minor it seems to us. They just want to avoid being touched.
When you try to pick up your pig, they may react and run away because they don’t like to be picked up.
So flinching isn’t the only guinea pig pain indicator, they sometimes scream too!
Screaming or Screeching
Longer screeching is another sign that shows that your guinea pigs are in pain.
For example, if your guinea pig suddenly falls and starts screeching, it may be because of terrible pain.
When they are in a lot of pain the screeching will be loud and longer than normal. However, you have to notice that this sound is different from its wheeking.
As a pet owner, you have to focus on the difference between its normal sound and the sound it makes when in pain.
Apart from this sound, you should also notice the teeth-grinding sound of your pet.
Normal teeth-chattering in pets indicates that they are angry or upset.
Does your guinea pig grind when eating?
If so, it may be due to its toothache
When guinea pigs’ teeth (or one tooth) are very long, they grind when they chew.
To file down your pet’s teeth or check for dental illness, see the vet.
Change in Posture
Changes in how cavies lay and stand can indicate pain. When figuring out if your guinea pig is in pain, check for posture changes.
Soreness, strains, or torn muscles can make guinea pigs limp or walk slowly.
Guinea pigs tuck their back legs under them. But not when their legs hurt. They prefer to lay with their legs to the side or behind them. (Some healthy pigs relax in this position. You must know your pig’s regular behavior)
Your cavies may have problems standing or sitting. Pain may be the cause if they can’t stand.
Shallow, fast breathing, or panting can indicate guinea pig pain, especially if it’s severe.
Rapid breathing can indicate a respiratory infection and other internal infections as well.
Rapid breathing accompanied by a runny nose or sneezing should be checked by a veterinarian.
Another sign apart from this can be loss of appetite.
Loss of Appetite
Long-term discomfort or disease in a guinea pig causes loss of appetite.
Guinea pigs can’t go long without food or water (particularly hay). Their digestion must be constant. Cavies by their very nature graze all day.
Hence, loss of appetite is a warning indicator.
If food isn’t scattered around the bowl, your pig is eating less than she should.
This is why weekly health checks and a Vitamin C-rich diet are so important. Since guinea pigs are so skilled at hiding pain and injuries, weight changes are our only clue.
Concentrating On Sore Spots
If your guinea pig is focusing on one particular area of its body, it may be a sign that that part has something unusual.
Cavies may nibble or groom a sore spot if they can reach it. Or they may look at the wound.
Guinea pigs will manage mites or ringworm chew on their legs to relieve itching and agony.
If your guinea pig is excessively grooming or gnawing, take them to the clinic.
Making Sound While Pooping
If your guinea pig is going through some internal pain, it may make weird sounds while pooping or peeing.
This is a clear sign that it has some internal organ problem, for example in the rectum area.
So, notice if this sound continues to happen.
However, apart from this, have you noticed if your pet has become aggressive or not?
Pain or illness can make a person (or guinea pig) grumpy.
Changes in personality can indicate guinea pig suffering.
Bladder and kidney stones can make guinea pigs moody and aggressive, biting their fur or cage mates.
Your pet’s bad mood doesn’t indicate it’s hurting. If your guinea pig is constantly irritable, take them to the vet.
Now that we have discussed the signs, let’s know the causes of pain.
Causes Of Pain On Guinea Pigs
There is a condition known as “bumblefoot,” which is quite frequent in the animal kingdom.
When your guinea pig’s bottom feet become uncomfortable as a result of constant pressure, it may have bumblefoot.
Overweight guinea pigs kept in dirty cages are more likely to develop an ongoing, deep bacterial infection on the foot.
And that results in lameness and pain in their legs.
However, apart from that guinea pigs have another issue called ‘Ileus’.
Gas accumulates in the digestive tract, resulting in the ileus (stomach and intestines). Your guinea pig may face this problem when it has a digestion problem.
This can be extremely painful and even life-threatening.
Medical attention should be sought as soon as possible in the case of suspected ileus so that the right treatment can be provided.
In some cases, an underlying sickness or stressor can cause your guinea pig to stop eating, which in turn produces ileus.
If you have a female guinea pig, she may grow uterine and ovarian diseases like tumors and cancer.
There are instances in which cancer has spread to other areas of the body which causes severe pain.
Another cause of your guinea pig’s pain can be some lung problems.
It is possible to remove the uterus and the ovaries following the diagnosis of the disease.
Now, let’s take a look at your guinea pig suffering from lung disease.
Lungs and Respiratory Problems
If you have a baby guinea pig, you should be aware that they are especially susceptible to the effects of cold air draughts.
This can lead to an upper respiratory infection or even pneumonia in some cases which causes pain while breathing.
You should keep an eye on the position of your guinea pig’s cage and make sure it isn’t near open doors or windows.
They will be less likely to have a respiratory infection as a result of this easy action.
Uroliths refer to bladder stones and are frequent in pet guinea pigs. This is another source of pain for your pet.
If you notice that their urine is frequently crimson, then it is due to the irritation the stone creates.
Call your veterinarian immediately if you notice your pet urinating less frequently or if the urine is bloody.
Ileus radiographs frequently reveal bladder stones, which must be surgically removed.
Now that you know about the possible reasons for your guinea pig’s pain, let’s understand the actions you can take.
What to do when guinea pigs feel pain?
- If you find out that your guinea pig is in pain, the first thing you should do is to take it to your vet.
- Pain relief for guinea pigs can be obtained through a variety of legal means.
- At larger doses, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories may be more effective and have fewer negative effects in guinea pigs than in other animals.
- The guinea pigs can also take gabapentin, amantadine, and tramadol for pain management.
- All of these can be taken orally in liquid form. Local nerve blocks and injectable opioids can also be employed in some circumstances.
- After seeing a vet, it’s important that you keep an eye on your guinea pigs for any signs of pain they may be experiencing.
- Your veterinarian may need to alter the dosage or provide additional medicine if you believe your guinea pig is still in discomfort.
Can guinea pigs die of pain?
Yes, your guinea pig can die of pain if it has any severe health issue.
Any sort of problem in the body can lead to pain. But it depends on the severity of the damage that your pet will die or not.
Do guinea pigs die when hurt?
Yes, your guinea pig may die if it is hurt so badly.
Take medical attention as soon as you find out that your pet is hurt.
To sum up, guinea pigs do feel pain and other emotions. However, it’s difficult to find out if your guinea pig is in pain because they’re often happy-looking.
They’re good at hiding illness too even if they are sick.
But as a pet parent, you must rely on guinea pigs’ behavior and signs to detect pain.
A guinea pig in pain will show signs like loss of appetite, make sounds like screaming and screeching, appear angry and irritated, etc.
So, here we have given comprehensive information regarding the signs and the actions you can take.
As a guinea pig pet owner, you might understand all sounds your pet makes and their meaning. Hence, I would suggest you read Guinea Pig Noises And What They Mean (7 Unique Sounds).