Will an abscess kill a guinea pig?

will an abscess kill a guinea pig?

I believe you already know that a guinea pig can get an abscess. But what if a guinea pig’s abscess is left untreated? Will an abscess kill a guinea pig?

Yes, if left untreated, an abscess will kill a guinea pig. An untreated abscess will spread infections to different parts of the guinea pig’s body. This will eventually damage the immune system. To avoid the death of your lovely pet, please make sure that you treat any abscess you notice on your pet as soon as possible.

But first, what is an abscess? Is it common in guinea pigs? Can a guinea pig survive an abscess? What antibiotic treats a guinea pig abscess? How do you treat an abscess on a guinea pig?

I know you may be seeking answers to these questions, or perhaps you have other questions about abscesses and how they can affect your guinea pig. Don’t worry; in this article, we’ve tried our best to provide you with everything you should know about abscesses. Keep reading.

What is an abscess?

A guinea pig with an abscess

An abscess is a pus-filled cavity encircled by a capsule of thickened inflammatory tissue. An abscess occurs when something infectious gets into the tissue, This infection causes inflammation of the tissue and then the formation of pus. The pus formed is the accumulation of dead cells as a result of the battle between antibodies and the infection.

Abscess in guinea pigs 

Unlike humans, abscesses in guinea pigs can be caused by different types of bacteria. It could be aerobic bacteria (requiring oxygen to survive) like Pasteurella multocida, Streptococcus, Pseudomonas, and Staphylococcus, or anaerobic bacteria (requiring oxygen to survive).

Abscesses in guinea pigs are a little different from those in dogs, cats, and humans. Abscesses in guinea pigs are very thick, about the same thickness as toothpaste, so it isn’t easy to drain it when the abscess sore is opened. The thickness of a guinea pig’s abscess is due to the lack of hydrolytic enzymes that should normally break down the dead cells into a more liquid form.

Similarly, guinea pig abscesses usually develop a finger-like projection or tracts in the tissues of the surrounding areas. If these projections or tracts are not totally removed or cleaned out, the abscess will eventually come back. 

Are abscesses common in guinea pigs?

Yes, abscesses are more common in guinea pigs and rabbits than in other animals. It can occur in almost any organ of the body. It could also occur in the bone, tooth roots, and skin. 

Most of the time, abscesses in guinea pigs are caused by bite wounds that become infected and infections in tooth roots and tear ducts. 

Here are some other examples of common abscesses that occur in guinea pigs and their causes.

Abscess area       | cause of Abscess 

Facial Abscess | Majorly caused by dental disease

Tear duct Abscess | usually caused as a result of an elongated upper incisor tooth root blocking the tear duct. 

The other types of abscesses that are formed internally are very difficult to diagnose and manage. Areas where some of these internal abscesses are found are as follows: uterus, lungs, heart, liver, abdominal fat, intestine, and kidneys.

How to quickly discover an abscess on your guinea pig. 

Now we already know the types of abscesses and the different areas where they could occur in guinea pigs. To be able to quickly discover an abscess on your guinea pigs for fast treatment, it is very important you watch out for these signs. 



focal irritation or pain

Areas too groomed

Discharge or moistened fur

Facial swellings


Loss of appetite

Weight loss

Firm or doughy painful mass

Excessive salivation

Bad breath

If you notice any of the above-mentioned signs in your guinea pig, we advise that you immediately call a veterinarian. Your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination and guide you on the treatment to be given.

How to treat a guinea pig’s abscesses

Abscess in guinea pigs can be treated in so many ways. The mode of treatment usually depends on factors like the cause of the infection, the location of the infection, and the general condition of the pet.

The most common of all treatments is surgery. The affected area is cut open, and the affected tissues are removed. Most times, the affected area is flushed off with sterile saline or antimicrobial solutions. This solution helps to kill or suppress the growth of microorganisms.

Additional treatments like systematic antimicrobial agents, fluids, and supportive nutrition can also be administered.

How to prevent your guinea pig from getting an abscess

There are a lot of things you can do to prevent your guinea pigs from having abscesses. 

1) Keep the surroundings of your guinea pigs clean and neat. Generally, it is important to maintain good hygiene. This ensures that your guinea pigs don’t come in contact with pathogens like bacteria, fungi, etc.

2) Make sure you keep sharp objects away from your guinea pig. Avoid any kind of contact between guinea pigs and other animals that may lead to fighting or cause punctured wounds from teeth or nails.

3) Do not overfeed your guinea pigs so that they don’t become obese, this will help prevent life-threatening foot infections like pododermatitis. Make sure to keep the bedding dry, and use a soft bedding material.

4) While feeding your guinea pig, make sure you prevent them from chewing on sharp or fibrous objects. Chewing on sharp objects may cut the gums inside their mouth, which could cause wounds that may develop into abscesses.

5) If you notice that your guinea pig is cut or scratched, make sure you see a veterinarian so that it can be cleaned and treated properly.


In conclusion, abscesses are very common in guinea pigs. Whenever you notice signs of illness in your guinea pigs, it is advised that you call the attention of a veterinarian. Remember to do routine checks on your guinea pigs so that you are able to spot any abscesses in time. If an abscess is not spotted in time, it could spread to other organs of the body and may eventually lead to death. 

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