If you breed guinea pigs at all, you should know about stillborn guinea pigs. Unfortunately, this phenomenon is not wholly preventable. While you can reduce the mother’s stress and feed her right for the pregnancy, that does not remove the possibility.
Stillbirth refers to any mammal that is born dead or dies immediately after birth. You may not know about the stillborn guinea pig(s) until it happens, especially if there is only one in a larger litter.
It’s important to note that if the guinea pig sow exceeds 70 days of gestation, the entire litter may be stillborn. She needs immediate veterinary assistance if she is to survive.
Sometimes, the cause of a stillbirth is apparent at the time of birth. An example is a physical deformity. Other times, it’s a mystery that you will not get an answer to without a professional necropsy.
There are three options for when the pup died. Those are before, during, or after birth. There are not statistics on the prevalence of each cause in guinea pigs, but you should know that unless you stressed your sow out, there was nothing you could do.
What to Do with Stillborn Guinea Pigs
Generally, it’s best to leave the stillborn guinea pigs until the mother finishes the birthing process, including eating the sacks. Then you can remove the pups. If you think you can save the pup with stimulation, by all means, remove it sooner and rub it with a towel. Just know that it may not work.
Once you have removed the stillborn guinea pigs, you should take them to a veterinarian or proper disposal facility if you do not intend to bury them. Most trash services do not have the capacity to handle animals.
What to Watch for In the Mother Following Still Births
Post-birth is a difficult time for guinea pig moms. She has to nurse the live pups, which means she needs extra nutrients still. In the event of a still-birth, you’ll need to keep a closer eye on her than you would for a full live litter.
Part of the risk involved with stillborns is what may have passed to the mother before or during the birth process. That can lead to things like sepsis and death if not caught early enough and treated. You should watch for sluggish behavior, hunched posture, refusing to nurse, and other trouble signs, and don’t wait to go to a vet.