If your guinea pig is eating well and behaving normally, odds are he's in good health. If he doesn't appear quite right, either too sluggish or hyperactive, check his vital signs, including his heart rate. Whether or not these signs are within the normal range can help you make the decision whether to take him to an emergency vet or wait and make a regular veterinary appointment to have your pet checked out.
Normal Vital Signs
A guinea pig's normal heart rate ranges between 240 to 350 beats per minute. Your pet's temperature should range between 93 and 103 degrees Fahrenheit, while a normal respiratory rate is between 40 and 150 breaths per minute.
Cavy Heart Disease
Signs of heart disease in a guinea pig include fatigue, appetite and weight loss, breathing difficulties, frequent upper respiratory infections, coughing and pale mucous membranes. Heart disease occurs more often in older guinea pigs. While guinea pigs can live seven years or longer, those 4 years old and up are considered seniors.
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Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.