All animals have needs which, as an owner, you have a legal duty to meet under the Animal Welfare Act* and guinea pigs are no exception. The Animal Welfare Act 2006 in England and Wales and the Animal Health and WelfareAct 2006 2 Your guide to keeping guinea pigs healthy and happy Environment - the need for somewhere suitable to live This may sound obvious but it is simply not enough to have a small hutch at the end of the garden with your guinea pigs crammed in like battery hens. Guinea pigs are descended from animals called “Cavies”. 4 Your guide to keeping guinea pigs healthy and happy Diet - the need for a good diet and fresh water Guinea pigs’ wild relatives spend much of their time above ground eating grass and similar foods. Guinea pigs often pick out the bits they like and leave the rest, leading to an unbalanced diet and some guinea pigs may eat too much and become overweight. Friends Guinea pigs need the company of other guinea pigs and shouldn’t be kept alone. Hide-aways Because guinea pigs are naturally prey animals they should always have somewhere to hide if they feel frightened or anxious. 7 Caring for guinea pigs Companionship - the need for social contact with the right animals Guinea pigs are very social animals which means they need contact with their own kind. These are very different animals and rabbits can seriously injure guinea pigs. Guinea pigs are also prey animals which means they will be fearful of many other animals like cats, dogs, foxes and birds of prey. You need to make sure that your guinea pigs can hide from and avoid such animals and be totally secure when they do tuck themselves out of sight. 8 Your guide to keeping guinea pigs healthy and happy Health - protection from illness and injury and providing treatment when needed On the whole guinea pigs are very healthy pets when cared for correctly. 9 Caring for guinea pigs Parasites Guinea pigs can pick up parasites. 10 Your guide to keeping guinea pigs healthy and happy Grooming Long-haired guinea pigs should be gently groomed every day to prevent matted fur. Medicines NEVER use other animals’ medicines without advice because they can kill guinea pigs.
Scientists breed ‘autistic’ guinea pigs
Brain scientists have succeeded in breeding autistic guinea pigs in a move which they say could unlock the key to the disorder. Autism was previously thought to occur only in humans, but scientists say its appearance in another species will greatly increase our understanding of it in humans. Autism is a neurological disorder that affects functioning of the brain, which can affect a sufferer’s life to varying degrees. It typically appears during the first three years of life. The UK National Autistic Society estimates that autism, which has many forms, affects more than 520,000 people in the UK. The condition affects the normal development of the brain in areas of social interaction and communication skills. People with autism typically have difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions and leisure or play activities. According to the New Scientist, neurologists from the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris, Rouen University and New York Medical College bred long-haired albino guinea pigs that had the same brain abnormalities as those found in some autistic people. The defects occur in the cerebellum, the part of the brain responsible for co-ordination, and the guinea pigs that had them behaved in a manner typical of autistic patients. The researchers placed altered guinea pigs – which they called GS – in cages with other non-altered guinea pigs and compared their social interaction. They noted behaviour in areas such as sniffing, licking and attempts to mate. In this environment, the GS guinea pigs were much less inclined to interact with their cage mates. “He said:”The NAS welcomes any developments which will further enhance knowledge of the causes of autism. Autism was first identified in 1943, but popular awareness of the condition increased greatly with the release of Barry Levinson’s Oscar-winning film Rain Man. Dustin Hoffman won a best actor Academy Award for his portrayal of Raymond Babbit, an autistic man. These include behaviour modification, speech or language therapy, sensory integration, vision therapy, music therapy, auditory training, medication and changes in diet.
Is my Guinea Pig sick? This health check will help you to find out
EarsThe ears are clean and dry without any incrustation or dirt. MouthThe mouth is dry and clean without incrustation. NoseThe nose of rodents like Guinea Pigs should be dry without defluxion / discharge. WeightThe weight of a full-grown Guinea Pig is nearly constant and should not swing more than 50g / 0.10lb. Guinea Pigs are robust rodents as long as they are not sick. If you can spot any problem do not hesitate to go to an vetenerian – especially if it looses weight! Indication / symptoms for sickness of your Guinea Pig. If you can spot any of the following indications at your health check you have to meet the vet soon! How to find a good vetenerian for rodents / Guinea Pigs. You need to know this because some vets act exactly like this: Ohh, your rodent is ill? That happens. There are many vets who really don’t know much about small animals like Guinea Pigs or treat them like other small animals they know about. You should figure out a good vet with skill in cavies nearby before one of your cavies is sick. Is your vet specialized for some species? Does your vet has knowledge about cavies and knows their requirements like diet plans or how to keep them right? Is your vet in in-depth analysis of your Guinea Pig and checks eyes, ears, teeth and anus? Does he palpate your pig ripely? Does your vet explain his examination, diagnostics and prognosis? Does your vet involve you in the examination and diagnostics? Does your vet ask pointed questions about indications? If a anesthesia is needed, does he provide inhalation anesthesia? Will your vet care about your pig as long as it wakes up after an anesthesia? This is very important. Is your vet available in case of emergency in the evening or at weekend? Important information about your sick Guinea Pig. Does your cavy ail? How do you recognized it? Does your cavy eat normal or not? What and how much does your cavy eat? What about its defecation? Are there any pre-existing conditions? Any drugs / medicine it gets already. Only transport your cavy in a suitable case for small animals. If there is no danger of infection just put another cavy in the box.