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Question about sneezing


New Born Pup
Aug 15, 2020
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This might be a stupid question, but how much sneezing is too much? I've never had a pig with a URI but I've read about them and I've always been vigilant for symptoms.

I have a little 10 week old pig. I've had her about a month and haven't noticed any issues. She came from a rescue with a great reputation and had a health check before I took her home. Today she had a little coughing/sneezing fit while eating some hay. I figured she was just eating too quickly and/or maybe inhaled some hay dust or something like that. She recovered and went back to eating and I wasn't too concerned. It's been about 3 hours now and I've noticed a few times since then where she will just sneeze/cough once and carry on. I thought maybe she's just recovering from whatever caused that little sneeze/cough attack earlier, but I want to know at what point I should worry about a possible URI. There's no discharge from the nose or eyes, she's eating like normal, she's active, I don't notice any crackling sound when she breathes... she seems normal in all other aspects and I'd never heard her sneeze before that little episode. I don't want to be overly paranoid, but I also don't want to be negligent. For those of you who have dealt with URIs, what were the symptoms you noticed? How often do sick piggies sneeze?


Staff member
Mar 10, 2009
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Coventry UK

A one-off sneezing fit from getting some hay dust up the nose is not a problem and nothing to worry about.

When you are dealing with a URI or much more commonly a sensitivity to an irritant in their environment, you will get steady sneezes constantly several times an hour every hour and not the odd nose cleaning voluntary sneeze at the end of a piggy clean or the classic sneezing fit when something gets in the nose that irritates it. Protracted sneezing can also be caused by something stuck in the nose (most often a piece of hay). Any vet will however firstly treat for a URI if there is the least suspicion for it.

Much more typical for a respiratory infection is raspy or crackly breathing, a fairly quick deterioration and loss of appetite/weight because the need to breathe comes before the need to drink and only thirdly the need to eat. As piggies are not mouth breathers and only have small and narrow airways, any serious respiratory illness will rather impact on the appetite.

You may find the information in these guides here helpful:
New guinea pigs: Sexing, vet checks&customer rights, URI, ringworm and parasites
Irritants to Avoid Around Guinea Pigs


Forum Donator 2020/21
Jul 31, 2017
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You’ve been given fab information above. I just wanted to pick up the point that you got her from a rescue. Did you get her alone? If so, is she going to be bonded with a friend? At that age they need company more than ever - the period from birth to four months is ‘guinea pig school’ where they learn how to behave like one.