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It is important to keep on top of the worm problem with any animal, whether domestic or farm. Pet owners know that a parasite infestation could lead to a lot of discomfort or serious illness for the furry friends. Guinea pigs are no different to other animals although it is rare for them to get worms. However, with this said, a guinea pig can suffer with two kinds of parasite problem so it is always worth keeping an eye out to make sure you catch them in time. Many guinea pig owners have kept their pets for years without ever having wormed them and never had any problems, so it really is a matter of making an informed decision on whether your pet guinea pigs need to be wormed or not. If you suspect there is problem, you should discuss things with your vet and then listen to their advice on which course of action to take.
Guinea pigs pick up worms from the fresh food they eat and this includes any grass or even hay owners give them. Even the best quality hay may have insect eggs on it which when eaten by guinea pigs can lead to the insects hatching out inside their pets. Worms in guinea pigs is really about endoparastic problems which is an internal issue and ectoparasitic problems, which is an external parasite problem that includes lice and mites. It is always a good idea to wash any fresh foods you give your guinea pigs. However, this is not always an option because any hay may have parasite eggs on it and if you give your pet some fresh grass every day, the chances are it could have eggs on it too but you should rinse as much of the fresh food as you can before feeding it to your pet.
Making sure you feed only the best quality food will go a long way in helping to keep parasites down. You should feed high quality hay and any fresh food you give your pet should be sweet smelling and dry. Regularly bathing guinea pigs also helps to keep parasites like mites and lice under control.
There are certain symptoms to look out for should your pet guinea pig be suffering any endoparasitic kind of problem. Symptoms to watch out for include the following:
At first it can be quite hard to spot where there is a problem but if nothing is done then your guinea pigs' health will do downhill pretty quickly. The condition may become chronic and eventually it can turn into a life-threatening problem for your little pet if left unchecked. When guinea pigs suffer with continued parasitic activity they have problems absorbing much needed nutrients through their gut walls. This can be a real problem because guinea pigs then become malnourished which has nothing to do with them being given the wrong diet. Your pet will lose condition simply because they cannot get all they need out of the food they ingest due to the parasite problem. If you think your guinea pig is suffering from any sort of endoparasitic problem, you need to take them along to see your vet. Very often, the build up of parasites takes a long time to develop and with the symptoms being hard to spot, people often think the problem has suddenly happened and do not realise it has been stewing for a while. The result is that owners and vets can be taken by surprise and think the problem is due to some sort of poisoning rather than a parasite problem.
Treating an endoparasitic problem is much the same as worming although you may have to repeat the dose in order to kill off the parasites. The best course of action is to seek veterinary advice on which parasite product to use on your pet if they are showing signs of being unwell that could be associated with worms.
Regularly worming your pet guinea pig will certainly help control parasites and prevent them from building up into a more serious problem. You have a choice of either worming your pet with a herbal product or a worming medicine that has to be prescribed through a vet. You can find herbal anti-parasitic remedies on the Internet but other pharmaceutical wormers have to be purchased through a veterinary clinic because they are Prescription-Only Medicines (POMs). The generic name for these drugs are either ivermectin, albendazole or fenbendazole. The doses are administered orally and careful dosing has to be given as per a vet's instructions. Guinea pigs under the age of 6 months should not be wormed at all.
If you notice that a pet guinea pig is off it's food and looking very lethargic, the chances are they are not drinking enough water either. This can be a real problem that makes matters a lot worse for you pet. They will dehydrate very quickly if you don't get enough fluids into them. If your guinea pig is suffering from an infestation of parasites, the chances are they will have diarrhoea. If they are not drinking any water, they will go downhill very fast so you need to get some fluids into them and the best person to treat the problem is your vet.
Guinea pigs make lovely family pets. They are real characters and can live a long time if well looked after. Keeping an eye on their general health means checking their droppings on a regular basis and paying attention to how they are in themselves. If you notice their droppings are too soft or runny and they are off their food, then you should find out if they are in fact suffering from a parasite infestation and make an appointment with your vet. Once you know this is the cause of the problem, your vet will recommend a treatment for you.
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