As your guinea pigs ages, he will become more susceptible to some of the same ailments that we experience as we mature, including arthritis. Knowing what symptoms to look for can ensure that you get your pig to a veterinarian in a timely manner to help ease his aches and pains. Always consult an experienced veterinarian regarding the health and treatment of your pet.
Changes in Mobility
Your guinea pig likely will exhibit a decrease in activity if he is suffering from the pain of arthritis. When he does move around, he may appear to be limping or even hopping like a rabbit, limiting the range of motion in his back legs and hindquarters. If you notice that he seems particularly stiff or immobile on rainy or damp days, arthritis is a likely diagnosis. A veterinarian should be consulted if any of these symptoms are present.
A guinea pig that is suffering from arthritis may experience pain when passing fecal matter. The discomfort may interfere with his instinctual practice of coprophagy, where he eats his own feces by curling over and pulling it from his rectum. According to the Small Animal Channel, a soiled bottom could indicate a case of arthritis in either the back or hing legs. Left untreated, the skin can become inflamed and ulcerated.
Arthritis causes joints to swell and become painful, and a guinea pig with this condition may squeal or squeak to express his discomfort when the condition interferes with daily activities. Going to the bathroom, exercising and even being picked up for a cuddle can provoke a painful squeak from a pig who is not feeling well. If your pig seems to be vocalizing his pain, a veterinarian may be able to prescribe medications to soothe the aches.
Changes in Personality
When humans don't feel well they have a tendency to snap at others. Guinea pigs that are experiencing arthritis pain also can experience a change in temperament based on their condition. If a normally docile pig suddenly becomes nippy, particularly when you are trying to pick him up or pet his hindquarters, he may be suffering from sore joints. On the other hand, a typically standoffish pig who suddenly seems to crave a good cuddle in a warm blanket may be enjoying the soft textures on his joints.