In addition, because guinea pigs are nose breathers, breathing through the mouth indicates that their nose is blocked or that they are suffering from a serious respiratory problem.
An appropriately constructed first aid kit can always come in handy if a serious medical emergency occurs. Please refer to our guide on How to assemble the ideal first-aid kit for your guinea pig.
Let us first learn what normal guinea pig breathing looks like so that we can better understand it.
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What does normal guinea pig breathing look like
According to research conducted by the Department of Physiology, the breathing rate of an animal is directly proportional to its size.
Small animals, such as guinea pigs, have a faster breathing rate than larger animals, such as cats and dogs. A guinea pig’s normal breathing rate ranges between 40 and 150 breaths per minute on average.
The average person takes approximately 80 breaths per minute. A normal resting heart rate ranges between 240 and 350 beats per minute in most people.
If you sit quietly near your guinea pigs, you will be able to hear them breathing. You should pay close attention because, as long as you do not catch them wheezing, everything is perfectly normal for them.
Guinea pigs are nose breathers, and they will continue to breathe through their nose until and unless they develop a respiratory disease, such as pneumonia.
If you notice that they are breathing through their mouth, it is likely that they are suffering from respiratory problems.
What does it mean when your guinea pig is breathing fast?
If your guinea pig is breathing rapidly as a result of exercise or simply out of fear, this is completely understandable.
Exhaustion and rapid breathing can occur as a result of running around the enclosure and engaging in physical activity.
Similarly, when an animal is startled or startled by movement or sound, it can cause rapid breathing in guinea pigs to occur.
However, if there is another health issue present, you may need to investigate further to identify any additional symptoms of that condition.
Guinea pig breathing fast not eating
Upper respiratory infection in guinea pigs is characterized by rapid and labored breathing, which is accompanied by an inadequate diet.
If you notice that your guinea pig is breathing rapidly and has not been eating their food out of the bowl, it is likely that they are having difficulty digesting the food they are eating.
In addition to frequent urination, blood in the urine and a hunched posture, other symptoms of URI include:
If you notice any of these symptoms in your guinea pigs, you should take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible. A prescription antibiotic may be required to completely eradicate the infection.
You should consider the possibility that there are other reasons why your guinea pig is not eating vegetables only. It is my intention to write an in-depth article on why guinea pigs stop eating vegetables and how we can rectify the situation.
Guinea pig breathing fast and not moving
In the case of an overheated or heatstroke guinea pig, rapid breathing and inactivity may indicate the presence of heatstroke.
Keep an eye out for other signs and symptoms such as a high body temperature, shallow breathing, restlessness, confusion, and so on. If you notice any of these signs, you may need to relocate your guinea pig to a cooler environment right away.
Splashing cold water on them can cause their bodies to react negatively, resulting in injury.
It is recommended that you wrap them in a cold, moist towel and take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
Summer temperatures can be extremely high in some parts of the country, making it difficult to keep our guinea pigs cool during that time. Because I have personally experienced the difficulties of keeping guinea pigs cool, I have created an in-depth guide to help you. This will undoubtedly be of assistance to you.
Guinea pig breathing fast and wheezing
In guinea pigs, rapid breathing followed by wheezing is a common symptom of an upper respiratory infection.
It is accompanied by symptoms such as an improper diet, lethargy, frequent urination, and the presence of blood in urine. You should take your guinea pig to the veterinarian as soon as you notice any of these signs.
If left untreated, a guinea pig’s upper respiratory infection (URI) can become fatal very quickly, even resulting in death.
Guinea pig breathing fast after surgery
Guinea pigs can be in discomfort for several days after undergoing surgery. If your guinea pig has recently undergone surgery, rapid breathing may be a symptom of the discomfort they are experiencing.
Other signs and symptoms include clenching of the teeth, reluctance to move, refusal to eat or drink, shivering, and squealing of the stomach.
It is recommended that you consult with the veterinarian who performed the surgery on your guinea pigs in order to find a possible solution.
If you want to keep your guinea pigs calm, you can try playing some music for them. However, you should be aware that some music can make them feel even more stressed. Our guide will help you if you are unsure about what type of music is best for them. What type of music do guinea pigs enjoy listening to the most?
Recommended Supplies For Guinea pigs: Our Top Picks!
Before you learn more, here are some hand-picked supplies for your guinea pigs that you must add to your wish list today:
Guinea pig breathing hard
Guinea pigs that are having difficulty breathing or are breathing heavily could be suffering from pneumonia.
Another symptom that may accompany it is loss of appetite, sneezing, dull or depressed appearance, arthritis-like swelling in joints, elevation of body temperature, and so on.
If you experience any of these symptoms, you may be suffering from pneumonia.
Guinea pigs can experience difficulty breathing when they have an upper respiratory infection, which occurs occasionally. It would be prudent to consult with a veterinarian in order to determine the root of the problem and how to treat it.
How do you know if your guinea pig has a respiratory infection?
Guinea pigs are prone to allergies and respiratory infections, as well as other diseases. Even a simple dust allergy can cause sneezing in guinea pigs, which can lead to pneumonia and other life-threatening illnesses.
Guinea Pig Illnesses, Part 2: Urinary Infection (Upper Respiratory Infection)
With the passage of time, the health condition can progress from good to critical in just two to three days. As a result, it is essential to pay close attention to your guinea pig’s behavior in order to spot any minor symptoms.
So, with that out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the signs of guinea pig respiratory infection.
- Early symptoms include difficulty breathing, wheezing, and clicking noises coming from the nose.
- Eyes that are red or crusty, with yellow or green discharge coming from them.
- The nose is sore or itchy, and there is green or yellow discharge coming from the nose.
- A rough coat, a depressed or sickly appearance
- Unwillingness to move, as well as lethargy
- Loss of appetite and weight is also a strong indicator of the disease’s progression.
Please keep in mind that guinea pigs have a significant problem in that they are extremely good at hiding illness. By the time they begin to exhibit significant symptoms, the situation has deteriorated to the point where any further delay or decision making is no longer an option. As a result, you should be on the lookout for those early signs of illness in guinea pigs and seek veterinary assistance if you notice any symptoms.
What causes respiratory problems in guinea pigs?
Guinea pigs are prone to respiratory problems, which are quite common. There are a variety of factors that can contribute to respiratory problems in guinea pigs. Some of the most frequently encountered factors are as follows:
- Bacterial infection
- A deficiency in vitamin C
A report published by the National Library of Medicine of the United States of America states that an upper respiratory infection is one of the most common types of bacterial infection in guinea pig.
This condition is frequently brought on by a bacteria known as ‘Bordetella bronchiseptica.’ This bacteria can be found on healthy guinea pigs as well, and it has the ability to survive for an extended period of time in their respiratory tract without causing any discomfort.
However, once the bacteria is activated, it has the potential to cause widespread respiratory illness very quickly.
Changes in routine, the introduction of a new cage mate, pregnancy, or even the installation of a new enclosure setup can all cause the bacteria that causes respiratory infection to become activated.
Allergic reactions are another important factor in the development of respiratory diseases in guinea pigs.
Guinea pig allergies can be triggered by a variety of factors, including pine bedding, smoke from cooking or a fire, and dusty hay, among others.
Always make certain that your guinea pigs have adequate supplies, and that their living environment is kept neat and clean at all times. These precautions can aid in the prevention of allergies in guinea pigs.
Vitamin C deficiency
One of the most common problems that guinea pigs experience is a deficiency in Vitamin C.
Guinea pigs require Vitamin C for the proper functioning of their bodies, as well as for the strengthening of their immune systems, the healing of wounds, and the maintenance of the overall health of the guinea pigs.
Guinea pigs suffering from a deficiency in vitamin C are susceptible to a variety of diseases, including respiratory diseases.
If you are unsure about how much vitamin C guinea pigs require or how to provide it to them, consult with a veterinarian. See our in-depth guide on the subject for more information.
When guinea pigs are stressed, they can develop respiratory problems. When frightened, guinea pigs are more prone to breathing rapidly than other animals.
Apart from that, prolonged stress can cause the guinea pig’s immune system to become weakened, making them more susceptible to bacterial infection.
If your guinea pigs exhibit signs of anxiety for an extended period of time, it would be prudent to take a closer look and determine the source of the problem in order to avoid serious health problems in the future.
Treatment for rapid breathing in guinea pigs
Rapid breathing can be treated in a variety of ways depending on the underlying cause of the problem.
If you notice any of the signs we discussed above, it is generally recommended that you take your pet to the veterinarian. If the guinea pigs’ breathing problems are caused by an infection, they will require an antibiotic.
And for the respiratory issue that is caused by stress and exhaustion, you can calm them down and allow them to rest for a while so that they can return to normal.
In the majority of cases, a veterinarian would be the most appropriate person to assist you. You can always follow up with some preventive measures to reduce the likelihood of a recurrence in the near future.
Keeping your guinea pigs healthy requires consideration of several factors.
Here are some suggestions to consider:
- You should ensure that you have all of the necessary supplies for a guinea pig set up in your home.
- Provide them with a well-balanced diet that includes hay, vegetables, fruits, and pellets to ensure that they grow in a healthy and robust manner.
- As hay and bedding are the primary causes of respiratory disease in guinea pigs, it is important to use high-quality products.
- Check to see that your guinea pig has plenty of hiding places so that they can get away from you whenever they are feeling stressed.
- Avoid doing things or making loud noises that will stress them out.
- Keep your guinea pigs’ living environment as healthy as possible for them.
Sources: CARING FOR YOUR GUINEA PIG, RESPIRATORY INFECTION, Dyspnea in guinea pigs, Viral Pneumonia in Guinea Pigs, Respiratory Bacterial Disease in Guinea Pigs, Mechanics of Respiration in Unanesthetized Guinea Pigs