However, the other symptoms will be more prominent, and you will need to adjust your guinea pig’s lifestyle to accommodate them. As your guinea pig grows older, he or she will rely more on you to ensure that they remain healthy and happy.
Guinea pig aging process
|Human Age||Guinea Pig Age|
|0-8 years||0-3 months|
|9-16 years||4-6 months|
|17-30 years||6 month-1 year|
|31-40 years||1-3 year|
|40-60 years||3-5 year|
|60+ years||5 year+|
The growth rate of guinea pigs is quite rapid in comparison to humans. One year is the time span required for the transition from the baby to the adult stage of the guinea pig life cycle. As a result, there can be a significant difference between the ages of humans and guinea pigs.
Once the first year of a guinea pig has passed, we can easily calculate the age of the guinea pig. When a guinea pig reaches the age of one year, the guinea pig will have aged by ten years.
Signs of aging in guinea pigs
Guinea pigs have a lifespan of 5 to 8 years, after which they are considered seniors. When a guinea pig reaches the age of 5 years, it is considered to be a senior.
When guinea pigs reach their senior years, they exhibit a variety of signs of aging, which are described in greater detail below:
Change in color of coat
When a guinea pig reaches old age, his or her fur will turn white or grey as a result of this. The fur on their coats can also become more elegant and thinner as a result of this process.
The texture will become significantly rougher or harsher than it was previously. You will notice that these grey hairs are behind and around their ears as time goes on.
The greying of guinea pigs that already have a white or grey coat makes it difficult to find a greying coat on them. In this case, you will need to look for other signs of aging in your guinea pig in addition to the ones listed above.
There will be some variation in the color of the guinea pig’s coat, but you will notice a noticeable difference in the color of the coat over time.
Loss of vision
The eyesight of old guinea pigs will start deteriorating. It can develop some ocular issues for example:
- Blocked tear ducts
Guinea pigs can develop cataracts at the time of birth if they are infected with a parasitic or bacterial infection. Additionally, over time, guinea pigs can develop cataracts, which results in a gradual loss of vision commensurate with their ages, eventually leading to blindness.
Cataract removal surgery can be used to restore the vision of your elderly guinea pig, but it is a risky procedure that should only be performed under veterinarian supervision.
In medicine, the term “glaucoma” encompasses a wide range of conditions in which extremely high pressure is applied to the pupils of guinea pigs’ eyes. It is extremely rare for a guinea pig to develop glaucoma on its own in the wild.
The opposite is true; instead of this, guinea pigs are more likely to suffer from ocular conditions that can lead to glaucoma, such as conjunctivitis and blocked tear ducts. It is possible that they will result in blindness if they are not treated in the early stages.
Blind guinea pigs do not have to live a life that is disheartening or depressing in any way. Over time, a blind guinea pig will be able to adapt to their newly discovered condition, relying on their sense of smell and hearing to navigate their environment.
Make certain that you declare your presence nearby or allow your guinea pig to smell you before approaching them so that they do not become frightened or scared when you arrive.
The same location in their enclosure can be used to store water, a small amount of food, and their litter box. As a result of this, your guinea pig will be able to recall where they want to go in order to obtain these items.
When your guinea pig’s tear duct is blocked, the eyes of your guinea pig will become watery as a result of this. The increased amount of tears can also flow down their face, making the fur and skin slightly wet and causing a bacterial infection, which can exacerbate the situation even further.
Later on, this will result in fur loss, inflammation, and a constant increase in pressure in the guinea pig’s eye, which will eventually lead to glaucoma in the animal.
A guinea pig’s conjunctivitis occurs when the tissues surrounding the eye of the animal are provoked by an infection. If left untreated, this will not only result in watery eyes, but it can also result in blindness and glaucoma if the condition is not addressed.
Loss of hearing
The guinea pig’s sense of hearing is extremely acute, as evidenced by the fact that they are able to hear sounds that even human ears are unable to distinguish.
A guinea pig can freely twirl both of its ears around 270 degrees in order to count the number of sounds heard from a distance of 2 miles away.
Unfortunately, as your guinea pig grows older, this acute sense of hearing will begin to fade, and they may even become deaf at some point in their lifetime.
Because of the way their skulls are built or shaped, guinea pigs with drooping ears are more likely to develop ear problems than their counterparts with straight ears.
Because guinea pigs’ ears automatically flop down instead of remaining upright, a guinea pig with drooping ears is more likely to suffer from ear infections, narrowed ear canals, pain in the ears, and an increased amount of ear wax build-up than one with upright ears.
All of these conditions, if left untreated, have the potential to render your guinea pig deaf for the rest of its life. Regular check-ups and cleanings of the ears are required for that guinea pig who has drooping ears in order to ensure that their ears remain healthy and free of foreign objects.
However, if your guinea pig was born deaf, their ability to communicate will be heavily reliant on their sense of hearing. Not only will it most likely assist the guinea pig in detecting predators, but it will also assist them in understanding and learning the commands as well as their environment.
If the ears of guinea pigs do not jerk in the direction of the noise or do not react to a strange or loud sound, you will be able to tell that your guinea pig is losing his or her ability to hear..
You must be more patient and gentle with them when they lose their hearing than you were previously, as they can become very distressed when they lose their hearing. As an added bonus, guinea pigs that are deaf can become aggressive towards humans.
Please make every effort to touch your guinea pig gradually and within the area of their visual field. Allow your guinea pig to smell you as well, so that they can determine whether or not you are a danger to them.. Aside from this, the behavior of guinea pigs will not be significantly altered by the treatment.
Change in sleep pattern
When a guinea pig reaches middle age, on one occasion, their seemingly limitless energy will begin to dwindle significantly.
Additionally, your guinea pig will be able to sleep for longer periods of time than they were previously able to, and they will be unable to play with you as they were previously able to. When your guinea pig’s activities begin to diminish, it is a sign that they are growing older.
Whenever your guinea pig is trying to sleep or relax, it’s best not to interfere with their activities. Although, during the day, your guinea pig will be more energetic than usual, and you should allow them to play during these periods.
Guinea pigs are crepuscular creatures, meaning that they are most active or appear during the hours of darkness. If your guinea pig is not in the mood to move around during their activeness, this indicates that they are suffering from the problem of guinea pig inability to move around.
An old guinea pig is likely to develop arthritis, particularly osteoarthritis, which is characteristic of the condition.
Guinea pigs suffering from arthritis will experience joint inflammation, which can be painful and cause the animal to move more slowly.
The following are the signs of arthritis in guinea pigs:
- Increase in-ear wax buildup
- Doesn’t enjoy being handled or touched
- Difficulty moving around
- Difficulty in eating cecotropes
- Strange, wobbly walk
- Losing the balance on their back legs
- Difficulty jumping over small objects or onto high surfaces
- Reduced grooming, especially around their bottom
Cartilage in the joints aids in the smooth movement of the joints, but even this begins to wear away over time, eventually leading to arthritis.
They will most likely become obese or overweight if you do not encourage your guinea pig to play and exercise on a regular basis. When their body weight puts pressure on a joint, it can lead to wear and tear, which can eventually lead to arthritis.
Arthritis can also be caused by an infection or a traumatic joint injury. Untreated arthritis can result in muscle loss, which can impair your ability to move freely.
When you suspect that your guinea pig is suffering from arthritis, it is best to consult with a veterinary surgeon.
You can massage your guinea pig’s joints together to relieve joint pain in your guinea pig. NSAIDs can be prescribed by your veterinary surgeon (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).
Additionally, a veterinary surgeon can recommend to you some ways to modify the diet of your guinea pig in order for them to lose weight more quickly. A guinea pig’s diet must be high in fiber and low in fat in order for it to be in the best or most favorable health.
Fortunately, not all elderly guinea pigs are required to suffer from mobility issues. Some of the guinea pigs will be able to maintain their health and activity levels as they did when they were younger. However, it is still advisable to keep an eye on your guinea pig to ensure that they do not develop any problems related to their mobility.
Occasionally, you will see your guinea pig cleaning its ears, licking its paws, or craning its head to lick itself clean.. In order to avoid becoming dirty, guinea pigs are extremely meticulous about cleaning themselves and keeping themselves as clean as possible.
If your guinea pig is having difficulty grooming himself or herself, he or she may have arthritis. In order to avoid urine scalding, which occurs when urine soaks into the fur of guinea pigs, it is essential that the bottom of the animal remains clean.
If your guinea pig is not bathing, you do not need to give them a bath. However, in this case, you will need to wash the bottom of their feet regularly so that they do not have to exert effort.. You should also clean the fleece or other bedding that they sleep on on a regular basis to keep them comfortable.
The arthritis in your guinea pig makes even the smallest of jumps difficult for him. For your guinea pig, this can make it difficult or impossible for them to use their litter box.
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Unable to use litter box, tunnels, etc.
An additional sign that your guinea pig may be suffering from arthritis is if your older guinea pig is no longer utilizing their litter box. It is a straightforward problem to resolve in this case, on the other hand,
A bathroom mat that can be placed on the floor rather than an elevated box can be beneficial to your guinea pig’s health and well-being, so make arrangements for this.
This means your guinea pig may not have to jump over or climb over any obstacles in their path in order to substitute for themselves. Simply cleaning the pads or removing them to be disposed of before replacing them with new ones is all that is required.
When a guinea pig grows older, the weight of the animal will change accordingly. It is necessary for the owner to alter the diet of their guinea pig in accordance with the changes in their weight. If your guinea pig has become overweight, you should limit the amount of pellets you give them.
If, on the other hand, your guinea pig’s weight is lower, you can increase the quality of the pellets that you feed him on a daily basis.
You can feed your guinea pig alfalfa pellets, which contain additional calories that will aid in the weight gain of your guinea pig.
If, despite this, your guinea pig continues to lose weight, you should take them to your veterinarian immediately, as this could be a sign of a severe digestive or dental disorder in your pet.
Stress due to change in environment
Guinea pigs are susceptible to sudden temperature changes, and their tolerance level diminishes as they grow older and more mature.
Guinea pigs are generally healthy in cold climates, though they will begin to eat more during the winter season in order to keep warm.
On the other hand, your guinea pig may become stressed as a result of the increased amount of heat.
Because guinea pigs are unable to sweat, the only way to keep them cool is to pant continuously. However, panting is typically a sign of overheating, and if your guinea pigs are not attended to immediately, there is a high likelihood that they will succumb to their injuries.
It is preferable to keep your older guinea pig in an enclosure inside the house, where you will be able to regulate the temperature fluctuations.
It is possible to provide your guinea pig with food and adequate heat during the winter months, and during the summer months, you can provide them with water, cool shade, and ventilation to ensure that their living environment remains pleasant.
Guinea pigs’ teeth continue to grow indefinitely. As a result, it is critical to provide your guinea pig with toys, enough hay, or other roughage throughout their lives in order to wear down their teeth to a more accessible level.
Additionally, this wear can aid in the prevention of painful dental diseases that may arise later in one’s life.
Dental disease is one of the most common problems that guinea pigs encounter and for which they require constant veterinary surgeon attention.
Because of the continuous changes in the structure and shape of the guinea pig’s skull over time, an elderly guinea pig is more susceptible to dental disease.
That can result in malocclusion, which is when the guinea pig’s teeth are not properly aligned, and it can cause the guinea pig’s teeth to grow out of control as a result of the improper alignment.
The pain experienced by guinea pigs in these types of situations is excruciating, and it can even interfere with their grooming and eating.
Fortunately, the majority of dental diseases can be identified in stages, and they can be identified early enough to prevent the worst of the conditions from occurring.
The dental disease, on the other hand, will not be resolved on its own. In the event that your guinea pig displays any of the following symptoms, you should take him to the veterinarian immediately.
The swelling around their jaw or mouth
Sore hocks, also known as sore hocks syndrome, is a condition in which many elderly guinea pigs are susceptible to falling over on their back legs.
The majority of the time, this condition affects the bottoms of their hocks, and the heels of their feet are similar to those of a guinea pig. The bumblefoot can be distinguished by the following characteristics:
- Harder skin on the hock
- The loss of hairs on the infected foot
- Open wounds
Bumblefoot can’t be healed without treatment, and it can be extremely painful for your guinea pig while it’s healing. The veterinary surgeon will be able to clean out the wounds and prescribe you some mild pain relievers.
In order to alleviate the pressure that is placed on their hocks, mats, carpets, layout blankets, or other soft surfaces should be used in the guinea pig’s enclosure and play area. This will aid in the healing process.
In addition, you will need to clean the soft things and these blankets on a regular basis to ensure that their wounds remain free of infection. If your guinea pig is overweight, you will need to make changes to their diet in order to assist them in losing the weight.
The aorta, which is the major artery that supplies oxygenated blood to the guinea pig’s heart, can become stiff as the guinea pig grows older.
In this way, irregular heartbeats can occur, as well as life-threatening cardiac conditions that occur suddenly and without warning.
They can even have heart attacks when they are overworked or under duress for too long.
This indicates that your guinea pig is suffering from a heart condition if you notice that he or she is eating less, having difficulty breathing or moving around, coughing more, or losing weight at an alarming rate.
Any of these signs should prompt you to take your guinea pig to your local veterinary clinic as soon as possible. You risk your life if you do not comply with this requirement.
The fact that your guinea pig will conceal signs of discomfort until the situation becomes dire is important to understand.
To reduce pain and improve cardiac reduction, the veterinary surgeon will administer isotonic saline injections in addition to other therapies.
The best method for changing the diet of your guinea pig will be recommended to you by your veterinarian. Often, feeding your guinea pig a high-fiber, low-fat diet can help to prevent heart disease in the future.
When guinea pigs are sick with respiratory illness, the symptoms are similar to those of heart disease in humans, making careful observation of their health and behavior all the more important. Your guinea pig may begin to sneeze and produce nasal discharge as a result of the illness.
If a guinea pig is kept in a dusty or dirty environment, or if it has come into contact with an infected creature, it may develop respiratory problems.
Do everything you can to keep the guinea pig’s playing area and enclosure clean and free of dust and dirt for as long as you possibly can.
In addition, if your guinea pig’s respiratory illness was caused by an infection, your veterinary surgeon may prescribe certain antibiotics.
Also read: Normal breathing and abnormal breathing in guinea pigs
Urinary tract problems
An excessive amount of calcium can also cause problems with the urinary tract. The development of a bacteria in the guinea pig’s bladder, which can result in bloody and painful urination, is referred to as bladder infection.
Maintain a regular exercise schedule for your guinea pig and feed them a nutritious diet to help them avoid urinary tract problems.
For this reason, the play area and enclosure of your guinea pig must be large enough to allow them to sleep, eat, and relieve themselves in separate areas.
If a guinea pig is restricted to a small space, it is possible for them to develop significant health problems.
The presence of kidney stones in guinea pigs, as well as a high concentration of creatinine and urea in the blood, are indicators of kidney disease in these animals.
The high calcium content of the guinea pigs’ diet, in general, can result in the symptoms described above in some cases. As a result, in order to avoid kidney disease, your guinea pig will need to consume calcium in lower quality.
If you notice that your guinea pig is not drinking enough water, losing weight, peeing a lot, or acting depressed, they may be suffering from kidney disease.
Guinea pigs can suffer from kidney disease, which can be a life-threatening condition. As a result, you should take them to your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Tumors and cancer
A female guinea pig is primarily at risk for a variety of cancers, including breast cancer. Uterine cancer is the most common type of cancer that a female guinea pig can develop, and it is most likely to occur if the animal is not spayed in a timely manner.
Uterine cancer can develop in any female guinea pig who has not been spayed, which accounts for approximately 70% of all female guinea pigs over the age of three years.
When the guinea pig reaches the age of 5 to 6 months, it should be spayed to ensure that uterine cancer does not develop.
If you noticed bloody urine in the urine of your female guinea pig, it is possible that she has uterine cancer.
If uterine cancer is detected early, the veterinary surgeon will be able to treat it very effectively. All veterinary surgeons should be required to perform surgery to remove the ovaries and uterus before cancer has a chance to spread widely.
The mammary cancer of the female guinea pig is made up of tumors found within the mammary gland and can develop in the same way as in humans. If mammary cancer is discovered early enough, it can be treated in the same way that uterine cancer is.
The veterinary surgeon will advise you to keep your guinea pig as still as possible until they have recovered completely from the survey.
As a result, you should confine them to the play area, which should be small enough to prevent them from jumping and without any barriers to prevent them from getting hurt.
Several of the symptoms of old guinea pig age can begin to subside once your guinea pig is 6 years old or older, depending on the species. You must pay close attention to their behavior and health at this stage in order to detect these symptoms as early as possible.
Additionally, there are a variety of things that you can do to ease the transition of your guinea pig into its senior years.
Your guinea pig should have a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of fiber, limited pellets, and dark leafy greens to ensure that they remain healthy throughout their lives.
You should also take your guinea pig to the veterinarian at least once a year so that your veterinarian can detect any signs of severe health problems in your guinea pig at an early stage.