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5 Things Guinea Pig Owners Need To Know About Bordatella Bronchiseptica

Guinea pigs are susceptible to a wide variety of diseases, including bacterial respiratory infections. The most common cause of these infections is bordetella bronchiseptica. Here are five things you need to know about this infection.

What are the signs of bordetella bronchiseptica infections?

Guinea pigs tend to hide their illnesses. In the wild, they're prey animals, so hiding their illnesses keeps them from falling victim to predators, but in captivity, their instinct is less useful. You'll need to pay careful attention to your pig to spot the signs of illness.

Pigs that aren't feeling well may stop eating or drinking. Their behavior may also change: a once friendly pig may become shy and withdrawn. Sudden behavioral changes like this should always be cause for concern.

When pigs get very ill, they can no longer hide their symptoms. At this point, you will notice that your pig is sneezing, sniffling, and has a runny nose. You may also notice that they're having trouble breathing: listen for breathing that sounds strained or different from normal. Eye problems like pink eye can also be occur alongside this infection, so you may also notice that your pig's eyes are red or crusted shut.

Is it serious?

Respiratory infections caused by bordatella bronchiseptica are very serious for guinea pigs and are often fatal. If you think your pig has a respiratory infection, you need to take them to an emergency vet as soon as possible.

Is it contagious?

This infection is very contagious. If you have other guinea pigs, they may catch the bordatella bronchiseptica bacteria from your sick pig. You need to quarantine your sick pig as soon as possible to keep your other pigs from getting sick. Fortunately, the bacteria rarely infects people, so it's unlikely that you'll get sick from your pig.

How do vets treat it?

Your vet will treat your pig with antibiotics, though even with prompt treatment, your pig may not make it. If your pig survives, they'll still be a carrier of the bacteria, and will always need to be kept separate from your other pigs.

How can you prevent it?

Bordatella bronchiseptica is naturally found in rabbits, so if you also have pet rabbits, make sure to keep them away from your guinea pigs. If you plan to introduce a new guinea pig to your herd, quarantine them first for a couple of weeks to make sure they aren't sick.

Bordatella bronciseptica is a dangerous bacteria that can lead to respiratory infections in guinea pigs. 

For professional animal care, contact a vet office such as Munster Animal Hospital.