If you're the owner of a female guinea pig who has recently come into contact with an intact male guinea pig, you may be worried about the possibility of pregnancy. Below is a general overview of common symptoms associated with guinea pig pregnancy, as well as what to expect and what to do if your guinea pig is pregnant.
What are the Symptoms of Pregnancy in Guinea Pigs?
While physical symptoms of pregnancy, such as a growing abdomen, do not typically appear until it's almost time for your guinea pig to deliver, there are some subtle things to watch out for if you suspect your guinea pig may be pregnant.
The first sign to look for is an increased consumption of food and water. While food and water consumption can increase for any number of reasons, this is a common sign of pregnancy in guinea pigs. How much your guinea pig will eat will depend on her usual eating habits and how many pups she's carrying. Another indicator of pregnancy is steady weight gain. Guinea pigs, both male and female, should be weighed on a regular basis to monitor for weight loss (which can be an indication of illness). If your female guinea pig (sow) has begun to gain weight, a consultation with a veterinarian is in order to determine whether pregnancy is the cause.
What Can I Expect During my Guinea Pig's Pregnancy?
The gestation period of guinea pigs can fall anywhere between 59 and 73 days. This will vary based on the number of pups to be delivered, with more pups making pregnancies shorter.
During your guinea pig's pregnancy, you can expect your sow's food and water consumption to increase considerably. Your sow's weight gain will be steady, and you likely won't notice much in the way of abdomen growth until your guinea pig is in the later stages of pregnancy. Your sow's activity levels may slow down as the pregnancy progresses, but as long as she appears otherwise healthy and comfortable, there should be nothing to worry about.
What Steps Can I Take to Provide the Best Care for my Guinea Pig?
As pregnancy can be dangerous for guinea pigs, there's a number of steps you can take to ensure the best of care is provided.
First, it's absolutely vital that your guinea pig is seen by a veterinarian experienced with exotic animals. The veterinarian can ensure that your guinea pig and her pregnancy is healthy, and can give you tips on proper care leading up to, during, and following the birth of the pups. Second, remove all male guinea pigs from the cage, as guinea pigs can become fertile very quickly after giving birth, and pregnancies that occur too close together can be dangerous. Third, be sure to properly increase your guinea pig's food, and switch to alfalfa hay to ensure that your sow is getting enough calcium for her and the growing pups.
Contact a clinic like Elizabethton Veterinary Clinic for more information.