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First Aid Kit For Guinea Pigs

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Senior Guinea Pig
Nov 4, 2008
Cambs, UK
A first aid kit does NOT replace a vet visit!

Please be aware that a veterinary diagnosis and advice is extremely important. It's best that everyone views their first aid kit as just that - first aid. Things that will help until you can get to a vet.

Finding a vet
Do make sure you have a good vet though - don't wait until you actually need the vet to find out whether s/he is experienced enough in guinea pig medical care to save your guinea!
Recommended UK vets locator: Guinea Pig Vet Locator
Recommended vets in other countries: Guinea Lynx :: GL's Vet List
Out-of-hours services in case of an emergency can usually be found via the answering machine of your regular vets or by googling for local 24 hour vet services.
List Of Life And Death Out-of-hours Emergencies

The importance of syringe feeding
Step in with syringe feeding as soon as an ill guinea pig is losing its appetite/weight (over 50g/2 oz). Your support care is can make all difference! Guinea pig guts start slowing down quickly and after 24 hours without food and will eventually stop completely (gut stasis); do not wait for too long - it can kill!
Do NOT syringe feed newly born babies; it can kill them. Also do not hand feed guinea pigs that are not able to lift their head.
Not Eating, Weight Loss And The Importance Of Syringe Feeding Fibre
Complete Syringe Feeding Guide

Useful items in a First Aid Kit
1ml syringes
Nail clippers
Pill crusher (pestle and mortar) and cutter
Round-end scissors

Towels (hand-towel or tea-towel size)
Cotton pillowcases
Kitchen Roll
Cotton wool pads, cotton buds and gauze
Soft, flexible, wrap bandages

Disposable gloves

Kitchen scales
Bowls and spoons
Animal-safe microwaveable heat pad ("snugglesafe")

Vet strength disinfectant
F10 disinfectant (available world-wide) or LD disinfectant for the US
To be used in cases of highly transmittable ringworm or for a thorough occasional deep clean including skin parasites.
The only disinfectant that is proven to not only kill fungus, but also ringworm spores, which can otherwise survive for up to 18 months.

Useful supplements and first aid medications
You can buy most of these medications from a human pharmacy. Do not state that you are buying for your guinea pigs - none of these items are licensed for guinea pigs and the pharmacist is not allowed to give them to you if s/he suspects you are not intending to use the product on humans.

The products listed below are in most cases NOT medications and only there to tidy you over until you can see a vet.
Please note that any quantities mentioned are for use in adult guinea pigs (ca. 1000-1200g) and that you will need to seek further advice if you have young, small or very large guinea pigs.

Illness and recovery support
- recovery food formulas for syringe feeding
- probiotics to support the guts while on antibiotics
- vitamin C to help boost the immune system during illness or as a replacement if a guinea pig is not eating fresh food
Find updated information in this link here: Probiotics, Recovery Foods And Vitamin C: Overview With Product Links

- Dioralyte (UK) / pedialyte (US)
For hydrating or to prevent dehydration in guinea pigs that are not drinking, have acute diarrhea or bloat or that struggle to get any food down until you can see a vet as an emergency. Follow instructions on the packet.

- Metatone (UK brand)
A “pick-me-up” that can help to perk up a severely ill or recovering guinea pig in the short term. It does not replace a vet visit and proper medication. Give 0.2 ml for the first week twice daily, then you are down to once daily.

Accidents and injury
- Saline solution for disinfecting an open wound (can be made at home)
Sterile saline is available from a pharmacy, but you can make your own by stirring 1-2 teaspoons of salt into 1 pint/ 500 ml of boiled, cooled water.

- styptic powder / styptic pen
To stem bleeding, especially when cutting nails. Please contact a vet asap if the bleeding is heavy and/or doesn’t stop after 5 minutes.

- optrex eye wash
Sterile fluid for washing out eyes; it does not replace vet treatment.
Please note that milky fluid is the normal eye cleaning fluid in guinea pigs.
See a vet promptly if you notice an injury or blood in the eye, persistent watering, cloudiness or if an eye is noticeably protruding or sunk. Eye infections/injuries can deteriorate very quickly and can affect a much larger area than visible by naked eye. The sooner an eye injury/infection can seen, the quicker it is going to heal.

- artificial tear drops or gel (UK brand: visco tear gel)
These lubricate/rehydrate injured eyes and support the healing process in case of an eye injury. They DO NOT replace a vet visit and antibiotic eye drops or gel nor do they replace a painkiller/anti-inflammatory in a bad injury.

- otodex ear drops
Help to clean ears, please gently massage 2 drops into each ear and leave for 24 hours before carefully removing them.
See a vet if you notice any irritation (repeated head shaking) or a head tilt/running in circles.
Potential ear infections (head tilt, running in circles) need to be seen promptly. They can be fatal if left un- or undertreated. They require an antibiotic.

Skin problems and parasites


Please always see a vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment; mange mites and fungal can look very similar at first. Any treatment on bald patches can make a diagnosis very difficult/impossible (including lab tests) and can delay correct treatment in case of skin parasites as any previous product needs to be out of the system first.
You can unnecessarily prolong your piggies suffering, harm or even kill them. It is much more expensive to see a vet with an advanced case after having spent a lot of money on stuff that hasn't worked.

Detailed advice on guinea pig specific parasites and ringworm (fungal skin infection) in these guides here:
What to check and look out for in new guinea pigs (vet checks, sexing, parasites&illness)
Ringworm: Hygiene And Pictures
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