Do Guinea Pigs Need Vaccinations? | Are They Necessary?

Once you decide to get a pet, you suddenly become responsible for another being. This is a very important thing to understand because you need to take a lot of care of the pet you get.

It isn’t all about fun as your pet might get sick or turn old. This is why you need to know everything about what getting a new pet involves, especially regarding their health.

Do guinea pigs need vaccinations? Guinea pigs do not need vaccinations or immunizations, but you should bring them to an exotic vet for a yearly check-up. Pet guinea pigs live in isolated and confined spaces away from infected animals, preventing acquiring infections. 

In this article, you will learn if guinea pigs need vaccinations, is it legal not to vaccinate your pets, some health issues that may occur, and how to deal with them.

Do Guinea Pigs Need to Be Vaccinated?

Do Guinea Pigs Need to Be Vaccinated

Guinea pigs do not necessarily need vaccinations or immunizations. The fact that they cannot reach other animals means they can’t contact infected animals.

This dramatically minimizes guinea pigs’ chances of contact with deadly diseases (or any diseases in general). And if they don’t get sick often, why would you give them vaccinations that are not really necessary? 

Is It Legal Not to Vaccinate Guinea Pigs

Usually, when people get new pets, they are obliged to get vaccinated. This way, if you buy an infected animal, he won’t spread the infection among others. Even if he’s not infected, he might catch an illness from other animals and spread it around. 

This is why it might be illegal to skip the vaccinating process in some states. Ask a veterinarian about the legal procedures to prevent having legal problems, especially when it comes to guinea pigs (which are usually not vaccinated).

How to Take Care of Unvaccinated Guinea Pigs?

It is well known that guinea pigs are very sensitive rodents. Even if they weren’t, you would still need to take him in for a veterinary examination.

Just because they do not need vaccinations, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take them to a vet. Pets like guinea pigs can be sick and show no symptoms, just like humans.

At least once a year, you should bring your little piggy to your local vet to ensure that your pet is fine. If your friend gets injured, you can always look for a vet. It is better to go to the vet if you think something is going on than ignore it. 

What Is an Exotic Veterinarian for Guinea Pigs?

What Is an Exotic Veterinarian for Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs are not “usual” pets like dogs and cats. This is why you should probably go to an “exotic veterinarian,” if possible. Exotic veterinarians are well trained and know a lot more about guinea pigs and how to treat them than normal veterinarians. Keep in mind guinea pigs are exotic animals, which means not every vet can handle them.

Signs of Possible Illness

Here are some of the common symptoms that your guinea pig might be suffering from an illness:

  • Runny nose and eyes
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloody urine
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Changes in water consumption patterns
  • Problems breathing
  • Rapid weight loss or gain
  • Lethargy
  • Decreased energy and body temperature
  • Contact sensitivity
  • Irregularities with skin
  • Difficulty walking and swelling

If any of the above symptoms persist, take your guinea pig immediately to a vet clinic.

Common Guinea Pig Health Issues

Guinea pigs have a short lifespan (4 to 6 years), and older guinea pigs are more prone to health problems. However, they can occur at a young age, but their bodies immediately react to something that harms them. You need to take a moment and observe the following:

Scurvy Disease

A very common health problem is vitamin C deficiency, which can lead to scurvy. This disease shows lethargy, lack of appetite, dry and rough hair coat, etc. It happens because they cannot synthesize their own vitamin C.

You need to give them fresh fruit and vegetables that contain vitamin C. However, don’t feed them too much vitamin C because anything in excess harms their body.


Another health issue they always come across is diarrhea. This is usually nothing to be afraid of, and it happens due to excessive intake of fruits and vegetables, especially unripe fruit. But if symptoms persist, call your local vet immediately.


Older guinea pigs tend to have bumps that may indicate tumors. Most of them are operable, and they are not as dangerous if they are found in time.

Respiratory Problems

Guinea pigs usually have respiratory problems such as difficulty breathing that might cause by bacterial infections, pneumonia, and many other issues.

You need to be alert for any respiratory conditions and take them to the vet if it occurs. These are probably the most dangerous things that can happen to them.

When Do You Need to Take Your Guinea Pig to the Vet?

When Do You Need to Take Your Guinea Pig to the Vet

If any of the following situations occur, call a vet or go to the nearest vet clinic: 

  • Your guinea pig has severe diarrhea – it has continued for more than 24 hours. 
  • In opposition to the first one, if your pet is constipated and not passing feces, it is time to see a specialist. 
  • Your vet needs to know about any kind of seizures or unconsciousness as soon as it happens.
  • If another animal attacks your guinea pig, bites him, or scratches him, you need to take your pet and visit the vet. The same rule applies if your pet was dropped or injured in any possible way. 
  • Your guinea pig refuses to eat for a prolonged period. This is a sign of apathy.
  • If your guinea pig has problems with breathing, take him to the vet. 
  • You need to have your pet checked up for abnormal weight conditions.
  • If any bumps or lumps occur, take him to the vet. 

How to Keep Your Guinea Pigs Healthy?

How to Keep Your Guinea Pigs Healthy

To keep guinea pigs healthy, here are some factors to consider:


Vaccinations are used for preventing infectious diseases. Guinea pigs are not likely to get infected because they don’t come in contact with the outside world and animals as much as the other pets.

On the other hand, they are sensitive animals and can get sick easily, but not because of actual infections from other animals. They can get sick even if they are vaccinated. There is no universal rule whether you have to give your pet vaccination or not; it is ultimately your choice.

Related: Do Guinea Pigs Need Shots in Order to Stay Healthy? (Must Read!)

List of Sources

Guinea Pigs

A Care Guide for Your Guinea Pig (Cavia Porcellus)

Guinea Pig Care