Guinea Pigs and the risk of salmonella

Post Reply

Post   » Mon Oct 09, 2017 7:55 pm

Hello all, I'm fairly newi to the cavy world.

I recently got 2 boys, both from the same person. They are 10 weeks old, and both seem in good health.
They are indoor pets, and have a fairly large-ish enclosure for them, in an area of the house.

My question is, are Guineas notoriously known for housing salmonella? I did not know anything like this before I got them (and I genuinely thought I had done a bit to prepare for them) but a few sites I've seen are saying small rodent pets are notorious for spreading salmonella. And now I am paranoid! We have had them for nearly 2 weeks, and I had come down with a bug in the past few days, as you could imagine the paranoia is in overdrive right now.

Do all piggies carry it? Is it only a case of if they DO have it then they spread it easily?
I do consider myself someone with good hand hygiene! Being the cage cleaner and all

Thanks in advance for any advice for this rookie!

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Mon Oct 09, 2017 7:59 pm

I've had guinea pigs for several years, and have been active on this forum and another large one, and I've never heard of a guinea pig having salmonella.

If your pig were to have it, it would most likely come from an infected wild mouse or rat, so if your pigs are appropriately housed in a cage that a wild rodent can't get into, I'd say your chances of getting it are slim indeed.


Post   » Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:33 am

I've never heard of a guinea pig having salmonella either. I do wash my hands after handling my piggies, but I do that after playing with my dogs or petting my cat too.

User avatar
Cavy Comic

Post   » Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:26 am

I had salmonella once from eating a bad piece of veg, I swallowed it by accident, I tasted it, but it was too late. So, it is possible that they contract it from vegs. I recently had given the pigs a small piece of freshly bought well rinsed vegs and they both had the runs for 2 days. It can happen with the best precautions.

User avatar

Post   » Tue Oct 10, 2017 6:02 am

They are certainly not carriers of salmonella, moreover, they are extremely vulnerable to that disease. It is more likely that guinea pigs catch salmonella from humans or other pets than the other way round.
By the way, the most common carriers of salmonella are reptiles. Wash your hands thoroughly after petting a turtle or cuddling with a snake :).


Post   » Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:45 pm

I have read that a few can carry it asymptomatically (have it and shed it without being sick), but it's not common. However, they can also carry other diseases such as Q fever and campylobacter, and you should always wash your hands after handling them. It's not super likely they'll make you sick, but better safe than sorry.


Post   » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:18 am

This is a huge myth perpetrated by people who don't know what they are talking about. Wild rodents can spread this disease, but it is unheard of in domestic guinea pigs. There is only one thing that is typically spread through contact with an infected guinea pig and that is ringworm. However, it is more likely that the guinea pig got the ringworm from a human than the other way around. They are also very susceptible to upper respiratory infections which is why you should try not to cough on them if YOU have a cold or flu. Obviously, normal hygienic practices should be followed when handling them, but you don't have to worry about catching salmonella from them.

Clint The Cuy

Post   » Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:23 pm

From the online Merck Veterinary Manual:
Salmonella infections were historically common in guinea pigs in research colonies. With present standards of husbandry, rodent control, and good quality feed, the disease rarely occurs. It is most likely seen when guinea pigs are kept outside and wild rodents have access to their feed. Disease is more often seen in young or stressed animals. Infection may be subclinical, and diarrhea is rarely present. Clinical signs include conjunctivitis, fever, lethargy, anorexia, rough fur, palpable hepatosplenomegaly, cervical lymphadenitis, and abortion in pregnant sows. Mortality is often high in epizootic outbreaks. If animals recover, organisms may be shed intermittently. Diagnosis is accomplished by isolating the organism from blood, ocular secretions, lymph nodes, or spleen. Because of zoonotic considerations and the potential for a carrier state, treatment is not recommended.


Post   » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:34 pm

I agree that it's very uncommon, but it could probably be in animals abandoned or kept outside where they might be in contact with potentially infected wild rodents.

Also, again, salmonella isn't the only worry. Even though it is very rare and probably nothing to worry about, guinea pigs can carry other diseases, and it's much easier just to wash your hands after handling them. However, as long as you have basic hygiene (washing hands, not touching eyes/nose/mouth after handling, etc), it's very unlikely that you'll catch anything.

User avatar

Post   » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:01 pm

Dogs and cats can carry diseases too. Washing hands after petting/handling is always recommended.

I'm not very good at it though.

Post Reply
10 posts • Page 1 of 1