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Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 11510
Experience:  40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
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I recently bought a guinea pig. He was doing fine the first

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I recently bought a guinea pig. He was doing fine the first few days, but recently I notice that he runs around like if he's disoriented or blind. When he eats or drinks he looks as if he's feeling, or sniffing around for the food and water bottle. His head's usually cocked to one side and he runs around in circles like if he would be trying to chase his tail (if he had one). He doesn't climb to the upper level for hay. I've tried to show him how but he refuses too. Should I be worried or is that how some guinea pigs act?

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a biologist with a special interest in pet health. I have raised guinea pigs and rabbits for over 30 years. I'm sorry to hear of Luis's problems.

This is not normal behavior. While there's no way to be sure based only on an online description, The tilted head, turning in circles, and disorientation point to vestibular disease, also called head tilt, torticollis, or wry neck. This is a complex and serious illness, but it can be treated successfully in many guinea pigs.

Vestibular disease can originate in either the ear or the brain stem. There are many things that can go wrong in these structures that will cause the symptoms you are seeing. There are protozoal infections, bacterial infections, strokes, tumors, and injuries, to name a few. You are going to need an experienced guinea pig vet to figure out exactly what is going on and begin an appropriate treatment. Here is a link to a directory of guinea pig/rabbit vets:

The sooner treatment begins, the better the prognosis, so if you can make an appointment today, that would be best. In the meantime, put your guinea pig in a place where he'll be safe. It's easy for an animal with this condition to injure itself, so place padding on the bottom and sides of his enclosure. Put his hay where he can reach it, and block off or remove the ramp. you don't want him climbing in this condition. You may need to hand feed him and give him water from a syringe if he's unable to eat or drink. The following sites will tell you about vestibular disease, including how a vet may treat it, and what you can do at home to increase your guinea pig's chances of recovery. The sites are geared toward rabbits, but the same information applies to guinea pigs.

The dry spots under Luis's eyes may be the result of watery eyes in the past, or they may be a fungal or bacterial infection. You can place a little plain Neosporin on them.However, since Luis needs to be examined by a vet anyway, I would ask about these at the same time.

If you have further questions, just let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope Luis will reach a full recovery.


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Anna and 3 other Pet Specialists are ready to help you
Hi Larry,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Luis. How is everything going?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
He seems to be doing better. I haven't been able to take him to the vet., but I will as soon as I have a day off. He seems to be pretty active he's eating and drinking quite a bit.
I'm glad to hear he's doing well. Thank you for the update.