Can a Guinea Pig Die from a Broken Leg?

Guinea pigs are popular small pets because they are typically very playful.

It is important to regularly monitor your active little cavy, especially during playtime, to ensure your pet is not injured.

If a guinea pig is not handled properly or gets one of its legs stuck, it could suffer from a broken leg.

Any type of broken bone is a serious injury, but is it possible for a guinea pig to die from a broken leg?

The prognosis for a guinea pig with a broken leg depends on the severity of the injury and how quickly it is treated. The stress from the pain may be enough to kill the animal. There is also the risk of a deadly infection if the skin is broken.

If you suspect your guinea pig has a broken leg, it is crucial to seek veterinary care as soon as possible.

Prompt treatment will greatly reduce your cavy’s risk of becoming overstressed or contracting a life-threatening infection.

Your guinea pig may require a leg amputation if the broken bone is untreatable.

Keep reading to learn more about the signs, treatment, and prevention of broken legs in guinea pigs.

can a guinea pig die from a broken leg

Signs Your Guinea Pig Has a Broken Leg

The most common sign of a broken leg in pet guinea pigs is limping.

The cavy will also shift most of its weight to one side of its body to avoid putting too much pressure on the injured leg.

Other signs your guinea pig’s leg is broken include:

  • Swollen and bruised skin
  • Bone protrusion
  • Irregular movements when climbing or jumping
  • Frequent squealing or screeching

The severe pain from a broken leg will also cause a cavy to become depressed and have a decreased appetite.

This constant pain causes the cavy a lot of stress, putting the animal at a greater risk of illness due to a lowered immune system.

The pain may even stress the guinea pig enough to be deadly.

Infections in animals as small as cavies are often fatal if not treated promptly.

Types of Broken Bones

Broken bones are generally categorized as simple or compound fractures.

The broken bone has not broken through the skin or caused excess swelling or bruising with a simple fracture.

In a compound fracture, there will be visible swelling and bruising to the injured leg, and the bone may be protruding from the skin.

Compound fractures are more dangerous than simple fractures because the broken skin makes the cavy more susceptible to infection.

The severity of the fracture will also determine whether or not the broken bone is treatable with a splint or if amputating the limb is necessary.

If the broken leg is not treated quickly, it may begin to heal on its own, and the leg will have to be broken again to set it correctly.

How Does a Guinea Pig Break Its Leg?

Improper or aggressive handling is the most common reason a guinea pig breaks its leg.

It is vital for guinea pig owners, especially young children, to understand how to properly handle their small pets.

Monitor the cavy when it is on the floor to avoid stepping on the animal.

Guinea pigs may also break a leg if they fall from a high place or are accidentally dropped after wriggling out of your arms.

Always use gentle but firm movements when picking up or holding your cavy.

If your guinea pig’s cage has a wire floor, it is easy for its leg to become stuck, possibly resulting in a broken bone if the cavy struggles in a panic to free itself.

Inspect your cavy’s enclosure and toys to ensure there are no places where the animal’s legs may get stuck.

Not providing your guinea pig with a balanced diet with the right amount of nutrients may also increase the chances of bone fractures.

A nutritious, balanced diet will keep your cavy’s bones healthy and boost the animal’s immune system.

Treatments for Broken Legs in Guinea Pigs

Treatment for a broken leg in a guinea pig will vary depending on the severity of the fracture.

Your veterinarian will take an X-ray of the injured area to pinpoint the precise location of the fracture.

If the fracture is minor, your cavy may only need a splint or cast on the broken leg and plenty of rest to let the injury heal.

A more severe injury may require surgery to place pins in the broken leg.

These pins hold the leg in position until the bones can heal properly.

With a compound fracture where the bone has punctured the skin, the risk for infection is very high.

If the cavy’s leg has been broken for a prolonged period or if the leg injury is too severe to repair, it will be necessary to amputate the leg.

It is crucial to provide supportive care throughout the healing process and make your guinea pig as comfortable as possible to reduce its pain and stress.

Anti-inflammatory medicine is given to reduce the cavy’s pain and swelling.

If there’s an open wound, antibiotic cream may be needed too.

Learn if guinea pigs can use Neosporin in our article.

A healthy and balanced diet is also vital to a cavy’s recovery because it will promote faster healing.

Monitor your cavy’s water drinking habits to ensure the animal is not dehydrated.

If your guinea pig has a loss of appetite, you may need to feed your pet with a syringe to ensure it receives the vitamins and nutrients necessary for faster healing.

Vitamin C is critical to a cavy since their body cannot create the nutrient on its own.

How To Prevent Your Guinea Pig from Breaking a Leg

Taking a few simple precautions will help reduce the chances of bone fractures in your guinea pig and prevent the unnecessary pain and stress caused by the injury.

Make sure to feed your cavy a balanced diet, including adequate vitamin C and calcium to keep its bones strong and healthy.

A vitamin C deficiency in a guinea pig may lead to scurvy and cause problems with proper bone development.

Remove any ramps, hay balls, hampers, or wheels made from wire or containing gaps large enough for a cavy’s leg to get stuck into.

Cover the bottom of a wire cage as well to prevent any injuries.

In addition to the possibility of a broken leg, wire-bottom cages increase the risk of bumblefoot, which is a severe inflammation of the foot joint.

Consider purchasing a smooth-floored cage to greatly reduce the risk of a leg injury.

Do not place any shelves or high places in your cavy’s enclosure, as the animal may fall and break a leg.

Always monitor children when they are handling a guinea pig, and teach them proper handling techniques.

When your cavy is allowed some free time outside of its cage, make sure you provide your pet with a safe place to play.

Keep an eye on your cavy to ensure it is not climbing up to high places or burrowing underneath a closet door.

Avoid accidents by making everyone in your home aware when the cavy is out of its cage.