Do Guinea Pigs Need Vaccinations?

guinea pig being held by a veterinary expert

For most pets, it is recommended by a vet and necessary for boarding that they have regular vaccinations. These vaccinations protect them against catching nasty diseases and illnesses from other pets. 

However, unlike most other pets, such as rabbits or cats and dogs, there are no vaccinations available for guinea pigs.

Is my guinea pig at risk without a vaccination?

One of the main reasons why you would have your rabbit, cat or dog vaccinated is to prevent disease that can be transmitted from other pets. 

Rabbits are susceptible to extremely serious and deadly illnesses such as myxomatosis and Rabbit (Viral) Haemorrhagic Disease. For this reason, it is vital they are protected. However, you don’t need to worry about your guinea pig catching these awful sicknesses as they are not transmittable to guinea pigs.

Cats and dogs are out among their own kind on a regular basis which puts them in danger of contracting infectious diseases if they are not vaccinated.

Your guinea pigs will not be socializing with other pets of their own kind except with the other guinea pigs you may have in their housing. This means the likelihood of them catching something is very low. 

Do guinea pigs need vaccinations when going into boarding?

As vets don’t offer vaccinations for guinea pigs, boarding facilities don’t require them to be immunized.

This does make boarding your pet when you go on holiday a lot cheaper as vaccinations can be a costly business!

Abyssinian guinea pig on a fleece blanket
Baileys, an Abyssinian Guinea Pig

How should I make sure my guinea pig doesn’t become ill?

There are illnesses that your guinea pig can suffer from which can be extremely serious and life threatening such as flystrike, pneumonia and respiratory infections. Find out more about diseases that a guinea pig is susceptible to here…

For this reason, you must check your guinea pigs on a weekly basis to make sure they are healthy. Find out how to give them a health check and what to look for.

It is also advisable to take them every year to a veterinary clinic for a check up. It’s easier to treat an illness if it’s discovered in the early stages rather than waiting until it has become more advanced. 

In between check ups, if you think your guinea pig is acting strangely or differently and are worried in any way, you should call your vet. Find out about taking them to the vet and potential costs.

One more note about Flystrike. It is a very serious and painful illness, often fatal, that takes hold fast but is preventable so please make sure you know about this before your guinea pig is exposed to it. Read our article on flystrike.

A good diet will help them keep healthy

A good diet is another essential part of making sure your guinea pig keeps healthy. They need plenty of vitamin C in their diet but you need to watch their oxalate intake. Too much oxalic acid in their diet can lead to bladder stones which will usually mean a risky operation is necessary. Find out more about what vitamins and nutrition a guinea pig needs.