Can Guinea Pigs Get COVID-19?

Can Guinea Pigs Get COVID-19?

Over the last two years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve learned a lot and experienced a new way of life. Many of us have been troubled by worries regarding the state of the world, our health, and the health of our friends and family. But what about the health of our furry family members, like guinea pigs?

Well, the likelihood of guinea pigs contracting COVID 19 is extremely low but the chances are still there.

The limited research about domesticated animals contracting COVID-19 has been primarily focused on larger household pets like cats and dogs. However, there is some information you should be aware of as well as general health practices you can use to help keep your guinea pig healthy.

What Do We Know About Guinea Pigs and the Corona Virus?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a variety of animals including “pets like cats and dogs, farmed mink, and large cats, gorillas, and otters in zoos, sanctuaries, and aquariums” have been infected with the virus that causes Covid-19. They go on to state that the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is low but that people who are sick with the virus can spread it to animals during close contact.

In a study posted in 2005, guinea pigs were experimentally infected with novel reovirus and coronavirus isolated from SARS patients. The guinea pigs infected with ReoV alone died between days 22 and 30 post-inoculation, while the animals infected with both ReoV and SARS-CoV died between days four and seven. Some of the results included pulmonary epithelial necrosis and fibrosis of pulmonary tissue, but guinea pigs infected with SARS-CoV suffered interstitial pneumonitis.

Can Guinea Pigs Get COVID-19?

All of this goes to say that although guinea pigs could potentially become ill with this type of virus, the likelihood is extremely low in the average household. For this reason, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) has advised that there is no justification in taking measures against companion animals that could compromise their health or welfare.

How Can We Keep Guinea Pigs Safe from COVID-19?

Cleanliness is sometimes called the first law of health, and that applies to both humans and animals. One of the most critical steps in preventing illness and promoting good health for yourself, your family, and your pets is frequent handwashing. When possible, it is best to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, but using a hand sanitizer can be a good second option.

It is also important to clean and sanitize the surfaces of your home, including all of your pet’s space. Any items or surfaces which are handled regularly, like your cavy’s food bowls, water bottles, and toys, should be cleaned regularly.

Can Guinea Pigs Get COVID-19?

Additionally, you should be mindful of your own health, by practicing safe habits, frequently washing your hands, and limiting travel and social activities. This is because you or other members of your family could accidentally pass COVID-19 or other illnesses onto your guinea pig.

Ideally, if you become ill with COVID-19 or have to self-isolate, you should limit close contact such as cuddling, kissing, or petting with your cavy until you are well again. If you have to care for your guinea pig whilst suffering from the virus, you should wear a face mask and wash your hands before and after handling your pig.

Can Guinea Pigs Get Covid?

If you have any questions or concerns relating to your guinea pig contracting COVID-19, you can always reach out to your veterinarian. As always, please do not make any changes to your guinea pig’s diet or living conditions without consulting a professional


6 comments


  • James Williams

    I have a mother and daughter there names are momo and Trixie it’s worries me about my fur babies it’s really scary when my room mate let’s every Tom dick and harry comes into my bedroom I truly believe if they was to hurt one of I would go to prison for life because I love my Momo and Trixie they are my children and I would hurt someone else they ever hurt either one


  • Holly

    My whole family had Covid at Christmas time. We still loved on our piggies and they never got sick. Maybe we got lucky but they were fine.


  • Littleone

    I don’t want to alarm anyone, since I am not 100% positive of this, but I do feel very sure that I gave my guinea pig Covid, and she died as a result of it. All I can say for a fact is that I was exposed to Covid a few days before Christmas, I had cold type symptoms by Christmas. I did not know I had been exposed to Covid, at the time. Because I know guineas are known to get upper respiratory infections I always am extra careful if I have a cold or sinus infection, not to handle them and to wash hands, etc, but I live alone so some contact is unavoidable. By the 26th and 27th my guinea girl was showing reduced activity, and was breathing differently, I noticed. I was beginning to feel worse, had a very sore throat and a headache. Home test showed negative for Covid. I took my baby to an ER vet since mine was out of town. They weren’t sure what was going on and told me it was too stressful and they were afraid she would die if subjected to too much, sent me home with antibiotics for her, and I stayed awake all night watching her. The next day she was worse, and I took her in to another emergency vet that morning. During this, she did eat and drink, her primary symptom was very obvious rapid breathing and some decreased activity. The vet did an X ray and told me “her lungs are destroyed”. I was told there was almost no chance of recovery and that it was best to let her go. And that, when your little creature is eating and seems still pretty ok, well it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I was in shock, and by the way Covid was never mentioned as a possibility by anyone. 7 days after I was exposed, and 2 days after I showed symptoms, my guinea pig had to be put to sleep for severely damaged lungs and an inability to breath. She had been to my regular vet just 1 month prior and was well. I have not been able to even tell my vet, or discuss it with him, although I have asked for the records to be sent there. But I think that there is a very strong likelihood that Covid was the reason her lungs were so damaged that she could no longer breathe. It seems not much is being reported about pets being susceptible, but they really are.


  • Abby

    I just got covid 2 days ago and I’m scared I’m going to pass it to my piggies. They seem fine with no symptoms of them being sick but I’m still scared. How likely is it for me to pass it on to my piggies and if I do will they be ok?


  • GuineaDad

    @Eowyn There is not much research on the exact symptoms a guinea pig can show. I would definitely recommend consulting with your vet. Usually if a guinea pig is experiencing symptoms such as: sluggish, eyes are unclear, not eating or drinking, weightloss, irregular bowel movements, etc, then it is sick.


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