Some common guinea pig health problems
Guinea pigs are a popular pet for children and schools, but many adults too appreciate the presence of these cute, loving little cavies as companions and pets. Like many small animals, the general health and common health conditions that can affect the guinea pig do not receive anywhere near as much publicity as those that affect larger pets such as cats and dogs, but veterinary care for Guinea pigs is constantly evolving, and today, most practices are well set up to treat most of the basic and common Guinea pig ailments. If you own a Guinea pig or are considering buying one, it is important to garner a basic understanding of some of the basic and most common health conditions that can affect your pet, and know how to identify them. In this article, we will look at some of the most common Guinea pig health problems in more detail. The teeth of the guinea pig grow constantly throughout their lives, and being fed the right diet and given plenty of things to chew on is important to ensure that the length of their teeth is kept in check. The natural diet of the Guinea pig is very high in fibre, and Guinea pigs need free access to fibrous materials to chew throughout the day. In the wild, Guinea pigs chew on grass all day long, and within a domestic environment, grass or grass hay should be freely available to your pet. Guinea pigs are particularly susceptible to developing mite infestations, and often, will contract mites from other Guinea pigs that share their housing, or come to you with mites already in residence. The symptoms of a mite infestation include itchy skin that your Guinea pig will scratch constantly, which can lead to hair loss and sore patches on the skin. Mites can usually be treated with a product from your local vet, and it is important to treat not only the affected Guinea pig, but any others that they have come into contact with too. Feeding small amounts of foods such as kiwi, which are rich in Vitamin C is a good idea, although care should be taken not to feed so much fruit and veg that your Guinea pig develops diarrhoea. If your Guinea pig is not getting enough Vitamin C, they may suffer from some fairly severe problems including internal bleeding, swollen and painful joints, and problems with the digestive system and intestines. Vitamin C deficiency can be very uncomfortable and painful for your Guinea pig, but the condition is entirely preventable with conscientious feeding. Always ensure that the floor of your Guinea pig’s cage is properly covered with a soft, comfortable material to a suitable depth, such as Timothy hay or other suitable products that are recommended for Guinea pigs. Never leave your Guinea pig in a cage with an uncovered floor, and when you take your Guinea pig out of the cage to socialise with them, do not put them down on hard surfaces or encourage them to sit on anything other than grass or other soft, cushioned areas that will provide padding to the feet.
Statins patients ‘used as guinea pigs’
Cardiologist Aseem Malhotra told a conference that doctors were unwittingly practising “Unethical medicine” by prescribing statins which he said offered little or no benefit to patients at low risk of heart disease. He also claimed patients were not being told the true benefits and harms of the cholesterol lowering drug. His comments have fuelled the debate surrounding the group of medicines, the most widely prescribed treatment in the UK given to up to 12 million patients, or around one in four adults. Use of the drugs fiercely divides medical opinion with proponents arguing the benefits in reducing the risk of heart attacks and stroke far outweigh the risk of side effects which include severe muscle pain, impotence, cataracts, mental impairment, diabetes, fatigue and liver dysfunction. “Speaking at the British Association for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation event in London on Thursday Dr Malhotra, a consultant cardiologist and bestselling author of The Pioppi Diet, said:”We have a healthcare system failure and epidemic of misinformed doctors and misled patients. “Patients are guinea pigs and they don’t even know it.” He added: “Side effects of these drugs have not been properly and independently investigated and doctors are making clinical decisions on incomplete information.” Dr Malhotra highlighted research which showed patients treated with statins at low risk of heart disease do not reduce their risk of premature death. Dr Malhotra said data on the benefits of statins was questionable as most of it has been sponsored by drug companies. “He said:”The widespread prescription of these drugs is turning out to be one of the biggest scandals in the history of medicine. “This needs further investigation and patients need to be told the truth.” A spokesman for the Government’s drug regulator the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, said: “The benefits of statins are well established and considered to outweigh the risk of side effects in the majority of patients.” Earlier this year medical journal The Lancet published research saying that side effects of muscle pain and weakness were not a result of statins but negative beliefs in patients about the medication. The paper’s lead author, Professor Peter Sever, said that the muscle pains were not likely to be directly linked to the drug. The former deputy chairman of the British Medical Association questioned claims there were no side effects, saying the drugs had left him with muscle pains so severe he needed MRI scans. Dr Kailash Chand, a 68-year-old GP from Tameside, Greater Manchester, said: “When I went on these drugs I suffered terrible muscle twitching and such muscle pain it was crippling and I had to have MRI and CT scans.”When I came off the drugs the pain totally disappeared.