Respiratory Problems in Guinea Pigs
Guinea pigs are more delicate than many people suspect; their chunky, compact bodies suggest that they are not as susceptible as other more fragile looking animals such as gerbils and mice to common problems such as respiratory tract infections but in fact this is not the case. Guinea pigs are very sensitive to draughts and damp and must be looked after accordingly. They cannot get the common cold, or anything like it; respiratory infections are likely to be bacterial and may be caused by the guinea pig being in general poor health. To add to the confusion, guinea pigs suffer from allergies as well as infections and sometimes the issue is an environmental one, not disease. A guinea pig is a very vocal animal, with a variety of sounds which it makes to show how it is feeling; if it is happy it will make a noise which sounds very similar to a cats purr.
Guinea pigs hate cold and damp; they come from the Andes and their natural habitat is dry, if at times rather cold. If on diagnosis it turns out that the guinea pig has a runny nose because of inhaled dust from the bedding, it is a simple matter to change it. The guinea pig is a tricky animal to treat with medicine as in the wild it is a prey animal and so can be nervous and quite tricky to handle. Guinea pigs usually have a special favourite which they will always respond to using that as a trojan horse to get the medicine into the animal is a stress free method if it is possible to do so, although granted, it is a little difficult if the food is already very wet, like cucumber but if the pig has a favourite rusk or something absorbent it should work well. With an animal like a guinea pig which is small and nervous it is essential to have regular contact with it.
Guinea pigs become depressed very easily and this can lead to lack of appetite, leading in turn to a low vitamin intake which again can seriously undermine the animals health. Although not every guinea pig is gregarious and fond of human contact, they are animals which naturally live in colonies and groom each other and have constant contact.
Guinea Pig Health Links
Here are links to guinea pig health sites that I personally recommend. Although all these links will give you a vast amount of information about guinea pig health problems, the information doesn’t replace a consultation with your vet. If you suspect your guinea pig is poorly, please take your guinea pig to see your vet as soon as possible. I’ve also included lots of health links on my Guinea Pig Health Check page, that will take you directly to some specific health problems. The Peter Gurney Guinea Pig Health Guide One of my favourite authors of guinea pig care books.
Its an excellent site, covering many guinea pig health problems. Guinea Lynx also has a medical forum where you can ask questions or read posts that are related to your guinea pig health problem. Gorgeous Guineas An excellent site giving you information on guinea pig skin problems and how to treat them. Treen’s Pigs: Health Focus Pages Treen has lots of information on several health problems that Treen has encountered with her own guinea pigs. Elderly Guinea Pigs A very informative page about what to expect when your guinea pig is becoming elderly and tips about taking care of your elderly guinea pig.
Finding a good guinea pig vet An excellent section on how to find a good guinea pig vet, common mistakes made when visiting a vet and much more. Guinea pig message boards enable you to ask questions about guinea pig health matters with other guinea pig owners.
Promoting global health at the human-animal-environment interface
Much discussion has been made about the link between Zika virus infection and microcephaly. More research into the issue revealed the presence of Zika virus in the brains of newborn with microcephaly. Because Zika has been around for decades in Africa and Asia, populations in these areas have already been exposed to the virus and developed an efficient immune response to it. In the case of Zika in Latin America, the disease may cause more severe symptoms after infection because the local populations are naïve. Zika, Dengue, Chikungungunya – It’s a mess to tell them apart.
One of first challenges in identifying the Zika outbreak in Brazil was the fact that the disease shares many similarities to other illnesses commonly seen in that part of the world, such as dengue and chikungunya. To complicate things, dengue and chikungunya are spread by some of the same mosquitoes that transmit Zika and it is likely that people become infected by more than one virus. Chikungunya can cause a very severe and debilitating joint pain compared to Zika, where pain is more limited and cyclical. Zika is scarybut so are other mosquito-borne diseases. The mild nature of Zika, coupled with its congenital effects is the most concerning aspect of the disease.
While today we focus on Zika, tomorrow’s mediatized disease may be yellow fever, or even a new emerging disease. World Health Organization – The origin and spread of Zika.