Symptoms of a Stroke in a Guinea Pig

By Sarah Goodwin-Nguyen

According to veterinarian Dr. Karen Rosenthal, stroke, though not common guinea pigs, may occur. Get your pet to a veterinarian immediately if you suspect a stroke. The sooner you begin treatment, the better your guinea pig's chance of recovery. Heat stroke, on the other hand, affects guinea pigs commonly. Keeping a guinea pig's living space cool and well-ventilated prevents heat stroke.

Cause of a Stroke

A blood clot interrupting the flow of oxygen to the brain causes a stroke. As with humans, the animal's diet, lifestyle and heredity determines its chances of suffering from a stroke. Tumors also cause strokes in rodents. Stroke very rarely occurs in young guinea pigs.

Symptoms of Stroke

During the stroke itself, the animal may convulse, act unresponsive or display irregular breathing. If your guinea pig has already had a stroke, its chances of suffering another multiply. A guinea pig that has suffered a stroke displays paralysis or weakness in one side of the body. The affected area seems to sag. Other indications that your guinea pig has had a stroke include listlessness, loss of balance and loss of appetite. The animal may walk in circles or tilt its head. An eye may bulge. In general, the symptoms of stroke occur suddenly and disappear slowly. If your guinea pig acts fine one minute and can't move the next, it may have suffered a stroke.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke, or hyperthermia, occurs commonly in guinea pigs, especially those kept outdoors in hutches, or which are overweight or heavily furred. According to Desert View Animal Hospital, temperatures above 85 F, humidity above 70 percent, inadequate ventilation or shade, stress and crowding predispose guinea pigs to heat stroke. Symptoms of heat stroke include profuse salivation, shallow and rapid breathing, pale gums and an elevated body temperature (above the normal rectal temperature of 101.5 to 103 degrees Fahrenheit). Untreated heat stroke rapidly progresses to coma and death. A guinea pig showing symptoms of heat stroke should be given a cool bath and placed on a cool, wet towel for transportation to a vet immediately.