Although guinea pigs or cavies herald from South America, they don't stand up well to heat and their ears may show it. While some degree of heat in the ears is normal, there are times when hot ears could signal a health problem that needs medical attention.
It's normal for a guinea pig's ears to feel slightly warm to the touch. Your normal body temperature is 98 degrees Fahrenheit and Clover's' ranges from 99 to 103 degrees Fahrenheit. Since your body temperature is cooler than his, Clover's ears will feel warm to you.
Guinea pig ears oscillate in temperature and can change from pink in color to red as blood vessels in the ear dilate. The ears play a role in cavy temperature regulation. Hot, red ears help Clover cool off during hot weather; cold ears help him warm up on a chilly day. To keep Clover comfortable, maintain a temperature of 60 to 8 degrees Fahrenheit in the home.
Excess heat poses a danger for Clover, since guinea pigs can suffer and die of heatstroke. If Clover's ears are hot to the touch and he is slobbering or has a limp body, rapid pulse or difficulty breathing, get to an emergency vet. Dab lukewarm or tepid water behind Clover's ears and place him in a bowl of tepid water to begin lowering his body temperature while you seek medical attention. Avoid using too-cold water since it may cause shock.
When temperatures go above 80 degrees Fahrenheit, keep Clover indoors or let him out in the later afternoon when the sun's heat has lessened. While Clover plays outside, provide him with drinking water, ice packs or frozen water bottles to use as cooling devices and a shady shelter. Since guinea pigs that have had or currently have fungal diseases are more susceptible to heatstroke, keep these cavies indoors in hot weather.
- "Guinea Pig Care"; The Pet Experts at T F H
- ASPCA: Guinea Pig Care
- Guinea Pig Welfare: In the Heat of the Moment
- Cavy Spirit: Guinea Pig Care
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