Is guinea pig quarantine necessary?
Yes, guinea pig quarantine is absolutely necessary. It is not only the safest way to introduce a new pet but it also prevents the spread of parasites and diseases from the new animal to an existing one. You need to quarantine every guinea pig that comes either from a rescue, pet store or from a private breeder.
Guinea pig quarantine period
A recommended guinea pig quarantine period is a minimum of 30 days for any new animal brought to a home with existing guinea pigs. This is because most of the infectious diseases symptoms show up withing this time frame. However, many owners keep their new piggies behind the closed doors for 3 weeks, so the pet won’t get lonely. It specifically applies for baby guinea pigs (5-6 weeks) as they can get depressed from being isolated from other animals for a long time.
It is not recommended to finish quarantine sooner than 2 weeks from the start because the some disease have a longer incubation time, so you won’t see any abnormal behavior. As a result, a new guinea pig can pass the illness to other animals. Within two weeks you should be able to recognize the signs of the illness.
How to quarantine a guinea pig?
Putting guinea pig in quarantine includes keeping a pet behind the closed doors, there is more to it. Here are some tips for a successful guinea pig quarantine:
- Wash your hands and arms before and after handling a new guinea pig. Moreover, change your top or wear a removable cover-up before going to a resident guinea pig after the contact with a new pet. You can consider wearing surgical gloves.
- Keep quarantined animals in the separate room and separate cage. DO NOT keep the cages side by side or in the same room.
- Use disposable bedding in the quarantined guinea pig’s cage.
- Use separate food bowl and water bottle. Don’t forget to sterilize the utensils of the new piggy separately.
- Don’t let children and other animals to the quarantine room as they can spread the disease from the new piggy to the existing one.
- Take your guinea pig to a vet for a full check-up before putting it in a cage with the other guinea pig.
Why do I need to quarantine new guinea pigs?
If you are buying a guinea pig from a pet store or a private breeder, or adopting from a rescue, you have to do a 3 weeks quarantine. Although a seller can claim that a pet is absolutely healthy, you can’t rely on this information. Moreover, the stress and temperature swings during transportation can increase a chance of getting upper respiratory tract infections (UTIs).
UTIs are very common among the newly-brought guinea pigs and the symptoms might not be visible straight away. It usually takes from 2 to 3 weeks for a guinea pig to show the signs of illness.
Apart from UTIs, there is a number of disease what are spread among guinea pigs if you skip quarantine. These diseases include ringworm and fungal infections, airborne disease like Bortella and others.
Can I skip a guinea pig quarantine?
You should always quarantine a new pet, however, there are three cases when you can amend the length of the quarantine or skip it completely.
- You have got a guinea pig from a trusted rescue, they are aware of any previous illnesses , have treated guinea pig for mites and had a guinea pig quarantined for 3 weeks;
- You have adopted a guinea pig from a trusted pet owner who have treated guinea pig for mites and a guinea pig was in a separate cage in a separate room for 3 weeks;
- You have adopted a baby guinea pig from a reputable breeder/rescue and had it in a separate room for a week and now can introduce to the existing guinea pig to avoid loneliness and depression.