Guinea Pig Care
With good care and proper diet, guinea pigs should live 5-7 years. What Guinea Pig Would Be Right For Me? If you decide to purchase two pigs, make them both immature females. Spaying a female guinea pig is considerably more expensive than neutering a male. Not all pet shop employees can tell an immature female guinea pig from an immature male guinea pig. Put a small wooden or cardboard box in the cage for the guinea pig to hide in. Several guinea pig breeders take exception to this and reported cases of liver damage associated with pine bedding. All guinea pig pellets are fortified with vitamin C. But after a few months of storage much of this vitamin is lost. Guinea pigs can be maintained on commercial guinea pig pellets alone. Many sources of alfalfa are too rich to be a major component of guinea pig diets. Guinea Pig Chow should make up one half to two thirds of your pig’s diet. Purchase only name brand guinea pig pellets and be sure the sacs are fresh. To find a good hay source in your area – link up with some experienced guinea pig breeders. A reader recently informed me that guinea pig females can become pregnant as early as three weeks of age and that males can be fertile as early as four weeks of age. The guinea pig should be alert and active, and plump. Don’t purchase a guinea pig that is too calm or too skittish.
The Aging Pig
Pigs age at a rate of about 5 years to one of a humans. On some pigs tusks may begin to be visible on the little boys. Outdoor pigs with plenty of space, a good social life with other pigs and good forage are at their prime. Friendly pigs are willing to throw themselves down for a belly rub, others will pass. The keen competitive nature declines and pigs may not eat as well with some slow weight loss occurring. Teeth are worn away and the diet needs to be of soft foods, and to maintain good health, more digestible and more nutritious foods. Aging does bring physical and mental changes but nobody dies of “Old age”. These are all things a pig with arthritis will do as well. Once arthritis sets in , or any disease that makes the pig feel less than “Whole” and “Competent”, it affects his behavior. No amount of encouragement will change a pig’s mind. A pig who ducks from a stationary object, avoids the sunshine or jerks back from food may have neurological problems or even a bad headache, like a migraine. With old pigs ask your vet to use Midazolam to tranquilize him so sedation won’t be necessary. Rule of tranquilizing: Give the shot and leave the pig alone in a quiet place for 40 to 50 minutes. Given as a shot in the neck monthly it can give a badly arthritic pig a new life. Either steps or ramps or some elevations exist which elder pigs shun.
Guinea pig ‘R’escue and ‘R’ehome
On the whole Guinea pigs are generally healthy pets, although you do need to monitor their health and handle them regularly. Problems that are diagnosed early and treated have a better prognosis. Feet are very delicate in guinea pigs and nails should be checked and trimmed if needed. The most common health problems that I have encountered with guinea pigs are abscesses, mites and eye infections. Mites are easily avoided, they can be picked up by pigs from bedding and hay. If your pig has any crusting or bald patches it is most likely to be mite. I treat all my pigs on a regular basis as a preventative measure. The pig above was found as a stray, and was on pain killers and anti-biotics for secondary infection prescribed by my vet. Infections, usually form from a foreign body in the eye. Gently bathing the eye with warm water may remove it but its usually best to get your vet to check the eye as the pig may also need anti-biotic drops. Fatty Eye.Fatty eye is fairly common and is not serious. The muscle in the bottom eye lid bulges outwards and it is not known what causes this but it isn’t painful and there is no treatment. Cataracts tend to affect older pigs and abysinnian pigs are more prone. They don’t make the guinea pig blind but they do reduce vision. I have had a few pigs with cataracts and they have lived normal lives.
Guinea Pig Dental Care
Guinea Pigs have continually growing and erupting teeth. They have an elodont dentition which consists of aradicular hypsodont incisors and cheek teeth. This dynamic relationship between the upper and lower teeth can result in malocclusion development. In the guinea pig, the growth rate of these aradicular hypsodont teeth may not be equal with the eruption rate. This results in greater curvature of the cheek teeth. The severity of malocclusion of the cheek teeth may not be as easily identified as in the chinchilla or the rabbit. The guinea pig may not have palpable protrusions at the ventral aspect of the mandible, or at the lateral aspect of the maxilla as in the chinchilla or the rabbit. We look for sores in the mouth and the general shape of the cheek teeth. Dental formula for guinea pigs and chinchillas; 2(I1/1 C0/0 PM1/1 M3/3) = 20. Specialized equipment for visualization of the cheek teeth. Since the four incisor teeth are the only teeth easily viewable, specialized equipment is essential in providing oral care for guinea pigs. This material must be removed to see the cheek teeth clearly. This view demonstrates improved visualization of the cheek teeth. Note the left upper cheek teeth are not in straight alignment. This photograph demonstrates the one type of crosscut fissure bur we use to adjust the cheek teeth occlusion.