Do Guinea Pigs Need Vaccinations?

Your guinea pigs do not need vaccination to stay healthy, and they shouldn’t be given any. What about worming, you may ask, do they need animal wormers?

Yes, you can worm them with animal wormers but not often – do it like once in every three months interval. 

We all know that guinea pigs are short-lived, and because you love your piggies, you want to ensure they have a better life and live longer. Giving them vaccination against common diseases to enhance their lives isn’t necessary. 

The reason you shouldn’t vaccinate them isn’t far-fetched. Firstly, guinea pigs are hardy animals and will not get sick if your husbandry is optimal. 

Secondly, since most guinea pigs are housed indoors, it decreases the chances of getting sick to the minimum. But this is not to say that guinea pigs kept outdoors usually get sick.

If you keep all the “do’s” and avoid the “don’ts,” your guinea pigs should be doing fine. 

One more thing you may be concerned about is, are there exceptional occasions where guinea pig vaccination can be the ideal thing to do? 

Read on to learn more about vaccinating guinea pigs.

Cute Reptiles as Pets
Cute Reptiles as Pets

Do Guinea Pigs Need Vaccinations?

Do Guinea Pigs Need Vaccinations?

No, guinea pigs DO NOT need vaccinations as they are naturally very healthy animals. But they do require regular veterinary check-ups, which can be done weekly, monthly or quarterly, depending on the age of your piggie.

Besides being hardy animals, you can enhance their longevity by ensuring that they have an ideal environment and habitat to live in.

Why Guinea Pigs Don’t Need Vaccinations?

Why Guinea Pigs Don’t Need Vaccinations?

Before we delve into why you shouldn’t give your pet guinea pigs vaccine, it’s better to understand what vaccines are meant for. 

Vaccines, whether made for humans or animals, are mainly to increase resistance and prevent dangerous bacteria from entering the body and weakening the immune system. 

For guinea pigs, one of the common diseases easily contagious among them is a respiratory infection. This disease is not dangerous and does not cause death if detected and treated early. 

Therefore, to be able to detect any illness on time, you need to handle the animal daily, even if it’s for a few hours, check and pay attention to its health. 

This means that there is no need to vaccinate your piggies against a contagious disease that can easily be treated or prevented. 

For example, there is no vaccine for the common cold, but there is a vaccine for covid 19. The symptoms are pretty the same, but the severity is different. The same applies to respiratory infection in guinea pigs.

Another reason your pet guinea pigs do not need vaccination is that since guinea pigs are mostly bred in captivity, they only come into contact with their owners and cage-mates and rarely associate with other animals. 

First, Humans do not infect guinea pigs when having contact with them, and secondly, common diseases in guinea pigs are not caused by bacteria nor infection from other animals.

For example, a guinea pig that is not adequately fed can suffer from scurvy – Vitamin C deficiency. In this case, the best vaccine to give is a balanced diet, especially foods rich in fiber. 

Also, some guinea pigs’ diseases or health concerns are related to their nature and do not need vaccinations. This is to say that some of these health issues, such as dental and oral issues, are inevitable. 

Guinea pigs’ nature is constantly teething, and this is why owners give them things to always chew on. Thus, it is not possible to vaccinate your pet against teething.

Oral problems, if overgrown, will cause other diseases such as tooth abscesses, sneezing, infections, and many more.

Where To Get a Vaccine for Guinea Pigs?

Where To Get a Vaccine for Guinea Pigs?

It’ll be misleading if we fail to emphasize the fact that pet guinea pigs do not need vaccination to stay healthy, and you should not give them vaccines. 

But if you must provide your piggies vaccines, you first have to answer the question, “what disease I’m I vaccinating my guinea pigs against?”

The truth is you can’t just give your pet animal vaccines without an adequate understanding of what you’re doing. 

On this note, a few types of vaccines you can give to your pet guinea pigs include “anti-tick vaccine”, usually given against Lyme disease and formolized vaccines given against lymphocytic choriomeningitis

Lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM) is a rodent-borne viral infectious disease that is caused by lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, and the initial primary host of this virus was the common house mouse. 

So guinea pigs can be vaccinated against this virus with formolized vaccines in two or three injections. This formolized vaccine is made from guinea pig tissues that have been infected. 

In a nutshell, before you give vaccination to your pet piggies, consult with your veterinarian for advice.

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Common Diseases In Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs are one of the most adorable pets amongst exotic pet lovers. They are generally healthy and have a low maintenance cost. 

That notwithstanding, guinea pigs can fall sick if there is a fault in your care (husbandry). It can be anything from poor cage set up, undersized cage, poor diet, wrong temperature and humidity, lack of exercise, and many more. 

These husbandry-related issues can cause any of the following diseases:

For more information on how to prevent these common diseases in guinea pigs, read about the Disorders and Diseases of Guinea Pigs.

What Do I Need To Know About My Guinea Pigs’ Health?

What Do I Need To Know About My Guinea Pigs’ Health?

As a good piggie owner, it’s essential that you have a good knowledge of your pet’s health. As stated earlier, guinea pigs are generally hardy animals – which means that they will hardly fall sick except that their basic care requirements are compromised. 

These basic care requirements include proper diet, ideal cage set up, lots of exercises, and many more. With all these in place, you still need to do a daily check-up to examine your pet for signs of sickness. 

Note that early detection and treatment make a huge difference between life and death. That said, signs of good health in guinea pigs include:

• Being agile and able to move around with no signs of stiffness or difficulty. 

• Having a clean, shiny coat with no sores or bald patches.

• Being alert and bright.

• Clear eyes, ears, mouth, and nose with no discharge.

• There are no signs of dental problems.

• There are no signs of breathing problems.

On the flip side, you can tell your piggie is sick if it exhibits any or more of these symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite or difficulty eating.
  • Loss of weight.
  • Drooling.
  • Drinking a lot more water than usual.
  • A change in pooping habits (too frequent and inconsistent fecal pellets – diarrhea).

Also read: Guinea Pig Diarrhea: Signs, Cause, Treatment and Prevent

Tips to Keep Guinea Pig Healthy

When handled on a daily basis, Guinea pigs can make an excellent family pet, even for a family with children. They are gentle, easy to care for and enjoy a cage with plenty of hay to eat. 

Although they are generally healthy animals, they are susceptible to a variety of problems and diseases, and many times these are issues that can be prevented. 

So for you to keep them happy and healthy, you must do the following:

  • Keep them happy. What usually keeps guinea pigs happy and stimulated is exercise. You can achieve this by enriching their cage with toys/accessories, especially those they can chew.
  • See your vet regularly. Aside from a daily check you do each time you handle your pets, take them to the vet once every three – six months or at least once a year.
  • Keep them in groups. Guinea pigs are social animals, and they do well in groups of other guinea pigs. If you house just one piggie, it may die out of boredom and depression. Guinea pigs need cage mates, so keep them in groups.

Also read: Complete Guinea Pig Care Guide

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FAQs

Do guinea pigs need to be wormed?

Yes, you can worm your guinea pigs with animal wormers, but you shouldn’t do this often. Guinea pigs should be worn at most once every three months.

Do you need to take a guinea pig to the vet?

Yes, a routine veterinarian check-up is a necessary part of your care for your pets. If you fail to do this, you may not be able to detect on time signs of illness. Therefore, your guinea pigs should be taken to the vet for a check-up every three to six months or at least once a year.

Do guinea pigs need rabies shots?

Guinea pigs do not carry the rabies virus and are less susceptible to contracting the virus. Hence, guinea pigs do not need a rabies shot.

Do guinea pigs need baths?

Yes, pet guinea pigs need baths but only when necessary. Since they often groom themselves, guinea pigs do not need regular baths. However, they require regular grooming. Long-haired guinea pigs need grooming daily and should only be bathed once every 3 – 4 months.

Also read: How To Bathe a Guinea Pig?

Finally Verdict

As a good keeper wondering if guinea pigs need vaccinations against common diseases, the genuine answer is no. You don’t need to vaccinate your pet guinea pigs to keep them healthy. 

However, you should ensure you take your pets for a vet check-up and provide them with lots of things to chew and a balanced diet.

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