First things first, a guinea pig emergency kit does not in any way shape or form replace a vet visit! This kit is only to provide temporary relief for your pet until the owner is able to take their guinea pig(s) in for medical treatment.
Guinea pigs can get ill at any time, even during holidays or days when the vets are out on vacation, for example. There was an incident when Rocket had suddenly stopped eating and the only exotics vet that was available within a two hour radius was out on vacation for that week.
In the meantime, I had to make sure there was food in his system at all times! Guinea pigs are not like humans that need only 3 meals a day. They constantly need to eat to keep their gut moving. Luckily he managed until I took him to see his vet!
Below are some essentials I keep with me at all times in case of an emergency:
1. Critical Care by Oxbow
Critical care is absolutely vital when guinea pigs stop eating/refuse to eat. They’re basically life support for guinea pigs when they become critically ill. As a backup, in case you don’t have critical care available, mash up some pellets and mix with water to create a slurry, OR do the same with fresh poop (gross, I know but we must use any and every resource to keep our little ones alive!)
2. Feeding Syringes
I have a ton of syringe tubes of all sizes, from 1cc to 12cc, even a couple that are 35cc! Feeding syringes are especially important if your guinea pig(s) stops eating. You want to make sure that you have enough slurry from pellets or critical care and administer it to guinea pigs through the syringe.
3. Bene Bac
If your guinea pig is on any sort of medication (such as metacam, baytril, etc), sometimes they tend to eat less or not enough due to the side effects. I usually purchase bene bac online (the paste, not the powder form) and give the guinea pig a pea size amount. They contain naturally-occurring microorganisms to support digestive tract health in guinea pigs.
4. Weighing Scale
You can purchase a small food weighing scale from any store. Be sure to weigh your guinea pigs weekly and record them in a diary. A major sign that your guinea pig is ill is weight loss.
Ivermectin is used to treat mites in guinea pigs. A major sign of mites are excessive scratching and hair loss. I have the pour on version of ivermectin. This is where the scale and syringe comes in handy. Before administering the medicine to your guinea pig, you want to make sure you have their exact weight so you can give them the appropriate amount. For more information on the correct dosage, please see here:http://www.guinealynx.info/ivermectin_topical.html
6. Styptic Powder
The brand I have is called Kwik Stop. It’s great to have on hand if you cut your guinea pigs’ nail too short and it starts to bleed. Styptic powder should be able to stop the bleeding right away. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, however, please take your guinea pig to a vet!
7. Nolvasan Otic
This can be purchased over the counter online. It’s good to clean the outside of guinea pigs’ ears every two weeks to ensure there isn’t any dirt buildup of hay. Using cotton swabs can be used to clean guinea pigs’ ears. Important note: NEVER push the cotton swab in the guinea pigs’ ears! You only need to gently rub the nolvasan otic on the very outside rim of the ear, nothing more. If you see your guinea pig has a head tilt, it could be a parasitic or bacterial infection in their ears that requires a vet visit. For preventative measures, nolvasan otic works great. if you don’t have this product on hand, mineral oil works just as well.
8. Vetericyn All Animal Eye Wash
If your guinea pig has a hay poke, minor cut, scratch, etc., it is imperative that you treat the eye and remove the hay with tweezers if visible. Early care is needed to prevent eye loss. Vetericyn is fine to use on guinea pigs, however, any other sterile saline eye wash will work just as well. If you notice no improvement, or if your guinea pig has redness, squinted eyes or sunken eyes, take them to a vet immediately.
9. Vitamin C Tablets
The brand I use is Oxbow Vitamin C Tablets. If I know that my guinea pig has stopped eating, I will pop one in their mouths daily to make sure they do not develop scurvy. Remember, guinea pigs cannot produce their own vitamin C, so it is imperative that they have enough in their system to prevent illness. Please note, however that these tablets do contain some calcium, which is not recommended for guinea pigs that have bladder stones. In this case I would use these tablets sparingly.
Other miscellaneous items needed are:
10. Cotton Swabs
12. Soft, flexible bandages
15. Mineral Oil (for cleaning your boars’ grease gland)
And that is all! To reiterate, this medical emergency kit does not replace a vet visit! However if you are unable to see a vet promptly, these items may be used to potentially save your guinea pigs and avert their downfall, since they tend to deteriorate very quickly.