FELASA recommendations for the health monitoring of mouse, rat, hamster, guinea pig and rabbit colonies in breeding and experimental units.
FELASA recommendations for the health monitoring of mouse, rat, hamster, guinea pig and rabbit colonies in breeding and experimental units. The microbiological quality of experimental animals can critically influence animal welfare and the validity and reproducibility of research data. It is therefore important for breeding and experimental facilities to establish a laboratory animal health monitoring programme as an integrated part of any quality assurance system. FELASA has published recommendations for the HM of rodent and rabbit colonies in breeding and experimental units, with the intention of harmonizing HM programmes. As stated in the preamble, these recommendations need to be adapted periodically to meet current developments in laboratory animal medicine. Accordingly, previous recommendations have been revised and shall be replaced by the present recommendations. These recommendations are aimed at all breeders and users of laboratory mice, rats, Syrian hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbits as well as diagnostic laboratories. They describe essential aspects of HM, such as the choice of agents, selection of animals and tissues for testing, frequency of sampling, commonly used test methods, interpretation of results and HM reporting. Compared with previous recommendations, more emphasis is put on the role of a person with sufficient understanding of the principles of HM, opportunistic agents, the use of sentinel animals and the interpretation and reporting of HM results. Relevant agents, testing frequencies and literature references are updated. Supplementary information on specific agents and the number of animals to be monitored and an example of a HM programme description is provided in the appendices. PMID: 24496575 FELASA recommendations for the health monitoring of mouse, rat, hamster, guinea pig and rabbit colonies in breeding and experimental units.
Feed & Care of Pigs
Keeping poultry is often the first step for Smallholders, but next in line is usually pigs. Sometimes kept as pets but often kept for meat, pigs make an excellent addition to any smallholding. Basic needs Like most farmyard animals, pigs need secure space to roam, shelter from the weather, a nutritionally balanced diet and access to fresh water at all times. Ideally two pigs would require around half an acre of securely fenced land to roam around and shelter can be easily provided with a pig ark, which can be bought from farm supply stores, online shops or even at some DIY megastores. Choosing a pig There are a variety of different breeds of pig in the UK; many have particular characteristics that could affect your decision. British Saddlebacks are very tame and Tamworths produce good bacon. Laws and licences Whether you intend to keep one pig or several, you will need certain licences and documents as the guidelines on moving farm animals were tightened following Foot & Mouth Disease. Before moving pigs onto your land you will need a county parish holding number. This is an identification number for the land and buildings where your pigs will be kept. In most cases, you can move pigs under the ‘general licence for the movement of pigs’. Your pigs should be fit and healthy to travel, and they should be suitably housed for the journey. Diet Pigs are normally fed twice a day but the amount and type of feed depends on the age and the reproductive state of the pig. A foraging pig will obtain some of its food from natural sources as long as the foraging area is able to provide it. It is important to supplement this with a balanced compound feed, to ensure that the pig receives all the nutrients it requires. To satisfy their natural desire for a variety of food up to 25% of a pig’s diet should be made up with fresh vegetables such as celery, cucumber peppers and greens.
Guinea Pig Care
As well as feeding, grooming and keeping their environment clean, it is an essential part of daily care to keep an eye on your guinea pig’s health. You should perform a specific health check on your guinea pig each week in addition to daily care. If your guinea pig is used to you picking them up and petting them then it will readily tolerate closer inspection. Depending on the breed of your guinea pig their fur should be silky with a small amount of shedding being normal. In some cases, such as stress, your guinea pig will develop signs of an infection. Your guinea pig may also need antibiotics to treat any underlying infection. All guinea pigs can receive accidental injuries whether it’s from a fall or altercations with other pets including their fellow guinea pig mates. Check your guinea pig more frequently and be very gentle when looking for signs of injury. Guinea pigs should always have fresh water, a clean supply of grass hay, fresh vegetables and a quality supply of food designed for guinea pigs. Grooming your guinea pig is an essential part of the regular care routine and gives you both an opportunity to bond. Handling your guinea pig whilst grooming keeps them used to human contact and also makes health checks and trips to the vet far easier to manage. Grooming time is a great way to perform your routine health checks whilst enjoying some quality time with your guinea pig. Giving them a weekly weigh in is very easy to do and will inform you about whether your guinea pig is getting too much food and exercise. The average life expectancy of a guinea pig is between 5 and 7 years and, as they approach old age you can expect your pet to experience changes. You can purchase pet insurance for your guinea pig from as little as £5 per month which can help meet the cost of any unexpected treatments from injuries as well as pay towards any ongoing treatments.