Streptococcus pneumoniae is a bacteria that is responsible for many illnesses, both in humans and in guinea pigs. Guinea pigs that are infected with this bacteria can develop a serious illness called streptococcosis. Here are four things you need to know about this serious health problem.
How do guinea pigs acquire this illness?
Guinea pigs can get streptococcosis by being exposed to other pigs that are infected with streptococcus pneumoniae. The illness can spread from pig to pig at pet stores, breeders, and shelters, so if you just bought your pig, they could've already been sick when you bought them.
If you recently had an illness caused by streptococcus pneumoniae, like bronchitis, sinusitis, pink eye, meningitis, or pneumonia, you could have passed the bacteria to your pig. This is the main way that guinea pigs acquire the bacteria. It's not common knowledge that human illnesses can make guinea pigs sick, so don't feel guilty about spending time with your furry friend while you were sick.
What are the signs of streptococcosis?
Guinea pigs with streptococcosis may have cold-like symptoms such as sneezing and coughing. Difficulty breathing is another possible symptom. The illness also makes your pigs joints swollen and sore, so you may notice that your pig is being lazier than normal and doesn't want to walk around their cage. If you notice these signs, your pig needs to see a vet right away.
Can vets treat it?
Vets can treat streptococcosis with antibiotics. Many antibiotics are dangerous to guinea pigs because they destroy the good bacteria inside their digestive systems, so it's important to see a vet that is experienced in treating guinea pigs. If your pig is very weak, your vet may also give them intravenous fluids to make them feel better.
Can you catch it from your pig?
Streptococcus pneumoniae causes a lot of illnesses in people, not just guinea pigs, so it's possible to get sick from your pig. You can pick up the bacteria from touching your sick pig or cleaning their cage, so make sure to wash your hands thoroughly after caring for your pig. If you're immunocompromised or very worried about getting sick, you may want to wear a mask and gloves while caring for your pig.
If you think your guinea pig has streptococcosis, take them to an emergency vet, like those at Ark Veterinary Hospital. Prompt treatment can be the difference between life and death for your pet.Share
2 September 2015
I have opened my home to foster dogs for the past eight years. Many of the dogs that come into my home are well-behaved companions that just need to find a permanent home. Other dogs, well, let's just say that they are not meant to be left alone anywhere in the house. These dogs suffer from separation anxiety and begin acting out the minute that I leave their sight. These are the dogs that I take to a day care center anytime I have to leave my house. If you have a dog that doesn't do well on his own, this blog will give you several tips for making him more comfortable and eventually put a stop to the behavior.