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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 22584
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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Hello I bought 2 guinea pigs from Pets at home 4 weeks ago,

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I bought 2 guinea pigs from Pets at home 4 weeks ago, They are about 2 months old. One of them is constantly sneezing and I am worried it may be serious.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

I share your concern about Geno.

Can you tell me if you have seen any discharges from her eyes or nose?

If so, what color?

When you say constant sneezing, do you mean all the time? Or how often?

How is her appetite and thirst? Any decline?

Does she look to be losing weight?

What are you feeding them?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.



There is no discharge from her eyes or nose. Appetite is normal. Thirst I'm not sure as she doesn't drink much and I have been at work so haven't watched her constantly. She seems herself; popcorning and bubbling away. Her weight is normal; since I have bought her she has put on 1 ounce per week which I hear is normal? She has fresh veg in the morning - lettuce, kale, cucumber, tomatoes (no seeds) celery and peppers, she has pellets and fruity guinea pig food with real fruit bits (bought from pet shop, has all the vitamins etc she needs) and meadow hay as base on cage, timothy hay in her hay tray and blocks off it too. Fresh water very day with probiotic added to it. She sneezes an awful lot, 3 times in a row this morning and about 6 times since ive been home at 6pm tonight. it seems to be worse when she is in the hay but she still sneeze when on my lap.

Thank you Laura,

I am glad to see that Geno’s eyes and nose are clear and that is otherwise well and gaining weight. Still when guinea pigs start sneezing, we do need to tread carefully. The reason, as I am sure you can appreciate is that cavies are a prey species and instinctively will hide illness from us until it is very advanced (or until they have signs they cannot easily hide from us). This is why so many of our pocket pets seem to deteriorate very quickly just after the owners even become aware they unwell. And because of these instincts working against us, this means we need to be proactive here to ensure we tackle our common causes for her sneezes and settle them for her. In regards XXXXX XXXXX causes for sneezing in this species, we have two main concerns. The first is airway irritation, which can be triggered by airborne allergens like pollens, dust, sprays or perfumes in the home. The other is our infectious agents (ie upper respiratory tract or lung based bacterial infections).

Now I am glad to see that you are addressing her bedding situation, as dust from bedding can trigger allergies and sneezing in this species. If the new bedding is due to arrive tomorrow, then do plan on making the change but in the meantime you can also consider putting them on newspaper to remove the current bedding from their cage. Further to this, we do have to appreciate that we can actually see airway irritation from the dust in the hay portion of their diet. Therefore, it would be ideal to make sure to only offer low dust hay but if in doubt do consider pre-soaking their hay before putting it into their cage. This will reduce the risk of this irritating her airway and triggering her sneezing.

If you make those changes and your wee lass’s sneezes do not settle, then we would need to consider opportunistic respiratory agents. In that case, we would want to have her checked by her vet. They can perform a full examination and listen to her lungs to determine how extensive the infection is. Depending on their findings, if infection is suspect, then they can dispense cavy safe antibiotics +/- cavy safe decongestants (ie Bisolvin) if she does have any congestion alongside the sneeze.

Otherwise, I do want to mention a wee supportive care step that may be of use here for Geno. If she is sneezing a lot (which raises concerns of upper airway irritation and congestion), you can consider treating her with steam. Steam can help hydrate irritated airways and reduce congestion within them. You can do this by taking her in the bathroom while you run a hot shower. Alternatively, you can also use a baby nebulizer /humidifier with her. Though if she isn’t keen with this being held up to her face, you can make a “steam tent” by putting a towel over her cage and the humidifier to get her into the steam and open up her airway.

Overall, sneezing is often due to one of these two culprits. It sounds like you have the right idea on ruling out the allergy and airway irritation concerns. Still consider using newspaper for substrate until the new material arrives and do consider soaking her hay to make sure that is not an issue. As well, to allay her sneezes now, you can consider a wee bit of steam treatment for her. Still if she doesn’t settle, then it would be best to follow up with her vet. They can listen to her chest and airway to confirm our concerns. As well, they can dispense antibiotics, and decongestants to nip this in the bud and give her the best chance of avoiding any potential upper airway bug.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.


If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you and hope to see you again soon! : )
Dr. B. and 2 other Vet Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you so much you have been of great help. I will do exactly what you say thank you.

You are very welcome, Laura.

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All the best to Geno and her companion,
Dr. B.