Guinea pigs are brilliant pets. They are loving, gentle and often make a great first pet. They do, however, have complex husbandry needs. This includes essential minerals within their diets, having other Guinea pigs as company and plenty of mental stimulation. Like any animal, their health can become complex and difficult to manage, meaning you may need to seek veterinary attention… and that can be expensive. 

Why can Guinea pig care be so expensive?

Guinea pigs are considered ‘’exotic pets’’ within the UK. And, therefore, more commonly require specialist medical help from exotic referral vets. These vets have completed years of extra training regarding exotic animals and see exotic species much more frequently than other vets. They are more aware and have more experience regarding common diseases and using off licence drug protocols to help benefit your Guinea pig. This specialist level of help can become expensive. This is why it is a brilliant idea to get pet insurance should you wish your pet to receive the highest level of care.

What is pet insurance?

Pet insurance can be considered to be a subscription service which allows you to pay a small monthly fee to a company and in return, they will pay for sudden, larger veterinary bills should your pet require them. There will be terms and conditions within the policy which will include what the policy will and will not cover. So be sure to understand what you are signing up to prior to signing up. You will almost always have to pay an agreed excess first, which is a small portion of the bill. So smaller bills are not usually worth claiming for or simply will not qualify for your insurance to pay out. 

Are Guinea pigs expensive to keep?

The cost of a Guinea pig consult is generally cheaper in most practices in comparison to the consult fee of a dog or a cat. Guinea pigs often do not weigh very much, so their medication is cheaper to use should they require any. This is because medication is calculated at a mg/kg dose, meaning the heavier the animal, the more medication they will require.

However, Guinea pigs’ health does deteriorate quickly. This is because they are prey animals. They hide their illnesses, so they are not noticed as the weakest of the group and at risk from predation in the wild. This means that problems are often not spotted even by the most vigilant of owners until they are relatively advanced. 

Guinea pig veterinary care can also mount up quickly. Due to the issues with their gut needing to remain in constant motion, hospitalisation is often necessary and this can cost a lot. In addition, pain relief is complicated in this species, and often Guinea pigs require multimodal pain relief. This is where veterinary professionals use lots of different drugs which target different pain pathways to target the pain as a whole. We need to keep poorly Guinea pigs eating and hydrated with syringe feeding, and subcutaneous or intravenous fluids may be required. Both of these options require intense nursing. 

How can I get the best insurance deal?

Having a multi policy which incorporates different items including your home, other pets, your health insurance as well as your pet’s medical insurance, it may work out cheaper. These insurance bundles can be compared on many comparison sites. By calling companies, you can often get reduced rates too. While you are trying to bargain for the best deal, be sure the company do not compromise the level of insurance they are providing for your pet.

When do I get insurance for my Guinea pig?

Getting insurance early on in your Guinea pig’s life is advisable. While they are young, they are less likely to suffer from some underlying disease, but it is certainly not impossible. As your Guinea pig gets older and they build up a medical history at the vets, any condition listed will be considered a ‘pre-existing’ condition and your insurance policy may then exclude it from future claims. Lifelong insurance policies often mean you get cheaper deals too. Be sure that your Guinea pig receives regular check-ups from your veterinary professionals. This is so they can pick up on any disease processes earlier on. The sooner disease is detected, the sooner treatment can be started and the better the prognosis for your Guinea pig.

To conclude, Guinea pigs can become expensive very quickly if they fall ill. Insurance policies are available for Guinea pigs. With any insurance policy, you should do thorough research prior to signing up. You should be aware of the limitations of the policy and aware of what exactly you are able to claim for.

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