You should never try to breed guinea pigs since pregnancy is very risky for them, but sometimes your pig can end up pregnant through no fault of your own. Pigs can be accidentally misgendered by pet stores, so your pair of female pigs may actually be a breeding pair. The resulting pregnancy will be a big surprise for you and a health hazard for your pet. Pregnant guinea pigs are at risk of pregnancy toxemia; here's what you need to know about this condition.
What is pregnancy toxemia?
Pregnancy toxemia is a serious complication of pregnancy. It's also known as ketosis. Ketosis occurs when the body burns fat instead of sugar for energy. It can happen when your guinea pig doesn't get enough to eat and needs to survive off of their fat stores.
What are the signs of pregnancy toxemia?
The signs of this complication appear suddenly and get worse quickly, so you need to be paying close attention to your pig during her pregnancy. When pregnancy toxemia first develops, your pig will stop eating and drinking, and her droppings may be covered in mucus. Later, she will become weak, so you may notice her lying down in her pigloo instead of playing with her cage mates.
Can this condition kill guinea pigs?
Pregnancy toxemia can kill guinea pigs fairly quickly. After the first symptoms appear, your pig could die in as little as 2 days. As soon as you notice symptoms, you need to take your pig to an emergency vet for treatment.
How do vets treat pregnancy toxemia?
It's hard for vets to treat this condition. There is no treatment that works consistently, but your vet may try treatments like propylene glycol or steroids. The outcome is poor, even with veterinary treatment, so your pig may need to be euthanized.
Can you prevent pregnancy toxemia?
Ideally, you should prevent your pig from getting pregnant at all. You can do this by getting your pig neutered; this is a surgical procedure that removes the ovaries and uterus. After being neutered, it will be impossible for your pig to get pregnant.
If it's too late and your pig is already pregnant, you can help keep her healthy by monitoring her eating habits. Pregnant guinea pigs can feel uncomfortably bloated, and they may not feel like eating. Not eating is a big problem because your pig needs to eat a steady supply of hay, pellets, and vegetables to keep up her energy levels. If you notice that your pig isn't eating, you may need to hand feed her to stave off ketosis.
Pregnancy can be very dangerous for guinea pigs. If you think your pregnant pig has pregnancy toxemia, take her to an emergency vet immediately, since there is a chance her life could be saved.
Contact a center like Canine Center for more help with taking care of your pets.