Limping Guinea Pig: A Sign of Trouble or Just a Bad Day?

Guinea pigs are friendly and welcoming house pets that warm our hearts. When they get sick or injured, it can lead to dire consequences. When you notice your guinea pig is limping, there may be several causes other than you accidentally stepping on him, like many people tend to do.

Your guinea pig might be limping because of an injury like a broken or sprained leg, or they might be dehydrated or starved. Other causes of limping also include bacterial infections and strokes. When your guinea pig has strange symptoms, get them to a vet for a check-up.

Guinea pigs can be hardy and easy to care for when given the right setting for their needs. They also make great pets, but you must ensure you care for them and notice when something is wrong with them, for example, when they are sick or limp around.

Why Is My Guinea Pig Limping?

Guinea pigs are prone to experience hind leg problems. They can easily tear a muscle in their legs, which can cause them to limp. Each of your guinea pigs will face this problem once in their lifetime. As the guinea pig ages, many illnesses and painful injuries can occur. Luckily when they limp, you will notice it quickly, so you can treat it or get them to a vet.

Injuries and illnesses primarily affect the guinea pigs in their hind legs. Since it’s one of the most crucial parts of their anatomy, it’s essential to be careful when problems arise. Another common reason your guinea pig might be limping is joint problems. Their legs can also be fractured or broken due to falling from a height in their cage or mishandling by the owner.

When you don’t pick up your guinea pig correctly, they can jump out of your arms and hurt themselves. When your guinea pig doesn’t have enough space in their cages, they can wiggle their legs in an abnormal position, which can dislocate them, leading to them limping around their enclosure.

Common Causes Of Limping In Guinea Pigs And Treatments

There are many reasons your guinea pig might be limping. However, when you notice that they are limping, it’s best to go to your vet so they can assess the problem. It’s best to go to a professional, as you can misdiagnose and cause even worse problems when treating your guinea pig incorrectly. The most common causes of guinea pigs limping include:

  • Broken leg – Your guinea pig can get broken legs or injure the joint when leaping from a distance. A vet can help rule out broken bones, but you must seek medical attention for this problem. The vet will then reset the bone if it’s broken
  • Bacterial infection – A bacterial infection can develop in the hooves when they crack. It will be painful, and you should consult a vet immediately. The medication the vet provides will get them in top shape again. In addition, a bacterial infection can also lead to the back legs and spine becoming lame
  • Lack of food or water – Dehydration and starvation can lead to your guinea pig limping. You have to ensure they have enough food and water at all times. If you notice they seem hungry or thirsty, you should fill up their bowls and seek vet care if the case is extreme

How Often Do Guinea Pigs Injure Their Legs?

Guinea pigs are fragile creatures, prone to break their legs or sprain them more quickly than other house pets. Falling from any height can cause them to injure themselves. That’s why it’s essential to ensure their cage or enclosure is in top shape and safe for them to live there.

When you set up the enclosure, ensure that no shelters are high or that there is anything they can climb up to reach a higher spot. A flat cage with their bowls and a nest will be enough for them to live comfortably.

The tension and suffering that a guinea pig’s body endures due to an injury is enough to kill it if left untreated. It’s best to get them help as soon as possible. Even if the first vet you take it to cannot assist you in repairing its limb, make sure to request pain relievers and anti-inflammatory meds to keep it comfortable until you can get your guinea pig better help.

Hind Leg Paralysis In Guinea Pigs

Many guinea pigs will experience hind leg paralysis, especially as they age. Often paralysis can start as a simple limp. While there is no cure for this paralysis, there may be hope soon since breeders and gilts professionals have begun to notice the signs and some of the precursors that lead to paralysis in the back legs of guinea pigs. Leading causes of paralysis in guinea pigs include:

  • Strokes – When your guinea pig has a stroke, you will notice a slight tilt of the head or short and chaotic movements. When the guinea pig rushes around, the paralysis will set into the back legs, and you will either notice a limp or they will drag their legs. You should consult your vet in this case. However, there isn’t much you can do except let your guinea pig get a lot of rest
  • Trauma-induced – Guinea pigs will get seriously injured when they fall from the smallest of heights, which can lead to them limping around. If your guinea pig is prone to get hurt, you should get a smaller cage for them. However, when the injury from the fall is worse, it can even result in paralysis. Your guinea pig would have to go for an x-ray to determine if they broke their leg
  • Vitamin C deficiency – Scientists have proved that the combined vitamin C and E deficiency will lead to paralysis in guinea pigs. Since their bodies can not generate vitamin C independently, they need a source like fruits, vegetables, and quality feed
  • Infection – Paralysis caused by infection is much worse than a vitamin deficiency or an injury. It will start as inflammation in the spinal cord and brain. When the virus mutates, your guinea pig will struggle to walk, chew and swallow
  • Calcium deficiency – The disease can occur in healthy guinea pigs, pregnant or nursing females. Elderly, young, and little pigs are at risk for it. Diet does not always cause guinea pig hind limb paralysis in this case. The exact cause of calcium-related paralysis is unknown. Calcium shortage can induce muscle cramping but can also go unnoticed, but the main sign is limping


Many causes of guinea pig leg paralysis can start as a limp. However, the main cause of limping in guinea pigs tends to be leg injuries. Guinea pigs can suffer from back leg problems, such as broken legs, bacterial infections, lack of food or water, and lack of space in their cages. Getting help as soon as possible when they are sick or injured is crucial.