CAVY COMMON AILMENTS- Nikki White
Karen Nichols, judge and breeder with the NSW Cavy Club, has prepared a useful fact sheet. Both forms are contagious, spread by contaminated food dishes and drinking spouts so it is a good idea to isolate the infected cavy and sterilise the food bowls and water spouts and the wire on the cage doors. If the cavy is still limp after cooling, try a mixture of whiskey and water or whiskey or milk, or else Rescue Remedy to help relieve the stress of what has happened to it, the stress being as much of a hindrance to recovery as the heat. As they can be contagious, the infected cavy should be separated from the others and put in a ‘hospital cage’. Abscesses start out as small hard lumps but can rapidly grow to a huge ball, distorting the cavy. While giving the antibiotic course, be sure the cavy is getting yoghurt to undo the damage to its gut flora caused by the antibiotic. One of the first signs something is wrong is the cavy doesn’t eat properly, leaves bits of half chewed fruit or vegetable about. Sometimes sharp spikes develop on the lower cheek teeth and stick into the tongue which causes pain when the cavy eats. Those spikes can be removed and the cavy makes a full recovery. Sometimes the teeth will grow so long that the cavy cannot close its mouth, never mind chew properly and it slobbers, so becomes very underweight and drinks constantly. If the cavy is not eating properly, you can check the molars by wrapping the cavy in a towel and putting the small finger into its mouth and feeling while holding the incisors apart with finger and thumb. If used, the cavy should be wrapped up and put on a hot water-bottle in recovery to prevent shock.
Health Facts About Guinea Pigs
By Kevin Wright, DVM, DABVP. Guinea pigs do not need vaccinations but they do need a preventive health program from an experienced veterinarian. A daily dose of at least 90 mg of vitamin C and an appropriate diet is an essential part of the guinea pig’s health program. I recommend that a guinea pig’s feces be tested for internal parasites before he is handled a lot or introduced to other guinea pigs. Guinea pigs may secrete a white fluid from their eyes that gets rubbed into the fur as part of grooming, and this may be hard to distinguish from an actual infection of the eye. Guinea pig medicine is still developing, and sometimes it can be difficult to diagnose and treat what is wrong with an ill guinea pig. Veterinary care costs about the same as a cat or dog for some procedures, but can be a lot more costly for certain surgeries and other treatments due to the specialized equipment and medications that guinea pigs require. Some guinea pigs may need filings every four to six weeks or other procedures, such as tooth extraction, in order to do well. Many guinea pigs develop a swollen lump on their skin that may sometimes rupture and ooze gray to white granular material. Male and female guinea pigs develop mammary tumors, which are growths between their hind legs, usually involving the nipple. Guinea pigs frequently get bladder infections, particularly if their litter boxes are not cleaned daily or if they are overweight. Guinea pigs can become overweight with unlimited pellets and little room to roam and play. Spend at least 30 minutes daily encouraging an obese guinea pig to walk and explore a guinea pig-proofed room.
Guinea Pig Life Span
The average guinea pig life span is around 4-6 years, although some can live as long as 8 years. This is much longer than most other small pets, including other rodents such as mice, gerbils, and hamsters. Your guinea pigs’ life span will depend on a number of factors, such as how well they are cared for, their diet, and whether they suffer from any serious illnesses during their life. The best advice is to enjoy every minute you have with your pet, so that you have many happy memories to look back on after they pass away. Guinea pigs live longer than many small pets, at up to 6 years. Because guinea pigs live for so long, you should take this into account when deciding whether they are the right pet for you. If you are thinking about buying guinea pigs for your children, you need to think about whether they will still want to care for them 1, 2, or 5 years down the line. You must also consider who will look after your pets when you are away on holiday. Guinea pigs are relatively undemanding animals, but they still require daily care and attention, so it important that you know somebody who can care for your pigs when you go away, and provide them with the appropriate level of care. If you don’t know anybody who can fill this role, you might consider joining your local guinea pig club, where you can meet other owners, and arrange to look after each others’ pets. Despite these important considerations, a guinea pig’s long life span is really a blessing. Provided you can fulfil your cavy’s needs for its whole life, you will be able to spend many happy years getting to know your pets and forming a special relationship with them.