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List Of Life And Death Out-of-hours Emergencies

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Staff member
Mar 10, 2009
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Coventry UK
You need to contact and ideally see a vet at any time of the day or night as a potentially life or death emergency if your guinea pig has got these symptoms:

- heavy or heaving breathing problems, this can include a visible effort with your piggy’s breathing (usually the abdomen sucking in and out showing they are using their abdominal muscles to breath) and any kind of open mouth breathing, these are signs of respiratory distress

- seizures or loss of consciousness. For any fit which lasts more than around 2 minutes the vet should be called, also if your pig is having multiple fits. Piggies with disorientation after a fit or stroke (unable to walking straight, staying upright).

- severe bloat, if your pig has stopped eating and their abdomen has become very swollen and large, it may sound hollow when gently tapped. Your piggie will probably be very fluffed up and hunched because this is very painful

- excessive bleeding - this is a hard one as can be easily be perceived by many in different ways. But in general, any bleeding from an orifice (nose/anus/mouth/ears etc), which cannot be controlled, a vet should be called.
Any wound bleeding which cannot be stopped with 5 minutes of direct pressure held on then a vet should be called

- any collapse, paralysis or loss of the use of limbs for any reason, including heat stroke.
Any problems with moving after a fall, especially if control of the back of the body is not fully there.

- excessive fluid diarrhoea. This can cause large amounts of fluid loss in the body and quickly send your pig into dehydration

- any guinea pig which is salivating excessively and unable/refusing to eat while looking very unwell. It cannot swallow anymore.

- eye trauma, any severe injury to the eye, especially when your pet is refusing to open the effected eye or it is bleeding or visibly damaged such as a puncture wound

- any severe bite wounds which may or may not enter the abdomen or chest (usually from a dog or cat attack). Please always have your guinea pigs vet checked if they have been attacked - danger of internal injuries or shock.

- fly strike - if you can see fly eggs or maggots on your pig get them to a vet asap.
Fly strike develops in a matter of hours and cannot wait until morning.
Fly Strike

- a boar's penis which cannot retract and looks swollen or blue

- sudden apathy and no gut gurgling. Your guinea pig is not responding much or at all when picked up and handled. It struggles to chew or swallow. Please speak to a vet asap; your guinea pig has GI stasis (no gut movement), acute heart failure.

- a sow having any trouble in labour, you should always call a vet immediately for this

- any pregnant sow/new mum which is hypersalavating/collapsed/not eating (pregnancy toxaemia)

- taking a sudden marked turn for the worse during operation recovery.

For any other problems see this guide here, from which this section has been copied for quick access in an emergency. How Soon Should My Guinea Pig See A Vet? - A Quick Guide
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