Guinea Pig Heat Stroke
Guinea Pig Heat Stroke is an extremely serious condition. If not treated promptly your guinea pig could die within a matter of hours. Insuring that your guinea pig does not get over heated in the summer months is essential. Anything past 20°c is considered on the warm side. It is important for owners to be aware and take precautions to insure there guinea pig does not become overheated.
Common Causes of Heat Stroke
There are many causes of Heat Stroke in Guinea Pigs. Here is a list of common causes :-
- Hutches Facing Direct Sunlight without any possible shade.
- Indoor Cages being placed either near a Radiator when on or Near A Window in Direct Sunlight.
- Being left out in runs with inadequate shelter for your Guinea Pig to Shade.
- Water Bottles not checked regularly for blockages/empty or if Warm.
- Overweight/Heavily Haired Guinea Pigs.
- Poor Ventilation.
- Guinea Pig Suffering from External or Internal Fungal Infection
Prevention is the key to avoiding this condition
Guinea Pigs should be given proper housing along with Adequate Shade and Ventilation.
In summer months when the temperature increases the best way to control the temperature is to use Air Conditioning or Osculating Fans.
The use of Ice Packs/Ice Pods is another good way your Guinea Pig can control it’s temperature if it starts to feel overheated. Another alternative which can be used is Panda Pop Bottles ¾ filled with water and frozen. Place in cage and submerse with wood shavings so your Guinea Pig can lay near it to cool off.
The following information has been split in to categories for easy reference.
- Temperatures in wooden hutches can rise by anything up to 10°c so it is imperative that plenty of ventilation is available. Try moving the hutch to a shaded area.
- Indoor Cages. Insuring plenty of cool spots in the cage are available.
Bedding and Cosies
- In Warm/Hot weather I would suggest removing all Cuddlecups, Cosy Sacks as these will add more temperature to your guinea pigs.
- Insure that if Fleece Bedding or Vetbed is being used that your guinea pig can not burrow underneath it.
- Remove all plastic igloos as the temperature in these will rise very quickly and will add to an already hot guinea pig.
- Instead use Plastic Steps or Plastic Arches (Pictured below) as they provide better ventilation
- If Guinea Pigs are to go out in a run for grazing there are only two times that are recommended and they are as follows :-
- Between 7am-8am before the temperature rises.
- Anytime after 7pm-8pm when the temperature starts to cool off.
- Ensure water bottles are changed regularly as Guinea Pigs will not drink warm water.
- If giving Vegetables/Fruit leaving it wet will help with hydration.
Long Haired Guinea Pigs
If you have a Peruvian, Sheltie, Texel your Guinea Pig will have a thick coat so thinning the coat out will help keep your guinea pig a little cooler.
Cooling The Room Or Cage
- Fans can help to keep the air circulating around the room. They do not cool the air. Do not aim fans directly on the Guinea Pig specially if the fan is next to the cage.
- Tiles (Kitchen Tiles or Tiles designed for Chinchilla’s and Degu’s) are ideal as they can be placed in the cage so the Guinea Pig can lay nearby.
- If the room where the guinea pigs are kept has an air conditioning unit these are great but please insure that the temperature remains constant and not to cold.
When using Ice Packs or Ice Pods please make sure that they are safe for use with Small Animals. Ice Packs that you normally find in your cooling box may contain chemicals that are toxic to your animals.
Symptoms Of Heat Stroke
- Guinea Pig will be lying flat on their tummy or side and will be unable to move (limp, weak, floppy, lethargic and unable to stand)
- Guinea Pig will be hot to the touch and in the worse stages of Heat Stoke will be floppy and limp.
- Will have a Rapid Pulse
- Laboured Breathing
- Eyes Sunken or even Closed.
- Lips, Mouth and Feet may have a bluish tinge
- In rare cases animals may have seizures
- Immediately bring the animal indoors to a cool location.
In all cases of Heat Stroke I recommend that you contact your Veterinarian so that they can determine the severity of the heat stroke and whether Veterinary Medication is needed.
Treatment For Heat Stroke Will Be As Follows :-
What You Will Need
Hydration/Electrolyte Replacement Mixture
- 1ml Syringe
- Energy Source –
Follow these steps :-
|Bring him into a Cool area|
|Wrap him in Cool Damp Towels||Keep changing the towels regularly to prevent heat build up.|
|Contact Your Veterinarian Surgery for advise|
Your Veterinarian may ask you to take him to the surgery
to administer Sub-Cut Fluids
|Try and direct a fan towards him to try and keep him as cool as possible. |
(This should be his Bottom facing the Fan)
|Do Not Direct The Fan On His/Her Face.|
|Get some Cotton Wool Balls and dip them in water and apply them to his |
ears and face
|Offer your Guinea Pig a 1ml Syringe of water to see if he will take it voluntarily.||If your Guinea Pig turns his nose up the 1ml syringe of water
(Do Not Force Him to Drink It) Guinea Pigs suffering from Heat
Stroke have often lost the swallowing mechanism which may
lead to him Aspirating on the water which could prove fatal.
|If your Guinea Pig is able to take the water through a 1ml syringe happily|
then I would recommend giving your Guinea Pig some urgent "required energy"
The safest treatment for this is Pro-C by Vetark. This does not only contain
Glucose but also Vitamin C, Pre-Biotic Soluble Fibre, and Pro-biotic.
Recommended Administration - 2 to 3mls via 1ml syringe every hour.
Only Syringe 0.20ml at a time to prevent aspiration
|NEVER IMMERSE YOUR GUINEA PIG IN COLD WATER
THE SHOCK CAN INDUCE A HEART ATTACK AND THEY CAN DIE!