Health Care for Guinea Pigs
This health care information was compiled by Marilyn Lieb, D.V.M. Guinea pigs are rodents that originated from the Andes Mountains region of South America. In the 16th century, Dutch explorers introduced guinea pigs to Europe, at which time selective breeding and captive rearing began in earnest. Guinea pigs are extremely popular pets today because of their availability, docile temperaments, tendency not to bite or scratch when handled, and because of their relatively clean habits. Guinea pigs can be housed within enclosures made of wire, stainless steel, durable plastic or glass. Male guinea pigs will require the sides of their enclosure to be at least 10 inches high. Groups of guinea pigs will stampede in a circle, often trampling the younger residents within the enclosure. The frequency with which the enclosure is cleaned will depend on its design, the materials out of which it is made, and the number of guinea pigs that reside within it. Some guinea pig owners will be tempted to feed rabbit pellets, assuming that they are roughly equivalent to guinea pig pellets. Pellets milled for guinea pigs take these special requirements into consideration and are appropriately fortified with these two nutrients, among many other essential ones. Guinea pigs tend to be creatures of habit and do not tolerate changes in the presentation of their food and water or changes in the taste, order texture or form of the food itself. Failure to do so usually results in guinea pigs refusing food and water, which can be disconcerting and dangerous. A common problem of guinea pigs results when the upper and lower premolar teeth meet improperly while chewing.
ECO Animal Health
Ileitis / PPE. Ileitis, or Porcine Proliferative Enteropathy is one of the most common intestinal diseases of growing pigs. Based on serological surveys, it is estimated that:.80% of all units worldwide are infected with ileitis. On these farms at least 24% of the pigs tested show signs of Ileitis. Clinical signs Economic importance Spread of the disease Diagnosis Treatment Management and control. Ileitis can be present in three forms – acute, sub-acute and chronic. Poor performance, low weight gain and reduced feed efficiency are common features of the subclinical form of the disease. The withdrawal of antibiotic growth promoters and reduced copper levels in the EU has increased the importance of the disease. The acute disease is often fatal but the major economic effects of the disease are due to the chronic and subclinical forms that result in failure to thrive, increased susceptibility to other infections, increased morbidity, wastage and reduction of key performance parameters. Ileitis can be transmitted throughout the herd from organisms shed in the faeces, carrier pigs, birds, rodents and contaminated equipment. Environmental stressors such as chilling, overheating and mixing of pigs are implicated in outbreaks of the disease. A presumptive diagnosis of Ileitis may be based on clinical signs such as the presence of blood or mucous in diarrhoea, post-mortem examination and microscopic examination of tissue samples of characteristic intestinal lesions. Aivlosin® has been shown to penetrate the key target cells, which is critical to an antibiotic’s effectiveness in controlling ileitis, a disease caused by an intracellular organism.
10 Tips on Caring for a Guinea Pig
Ideal housing for guinea pigs are hutches approximately 0.9 sq metre per adult guinea pig, although they need plenty of exercise outside their hutch. Hutches should be completely stripped out and scrubbed, ideally once a week during the summer and more regularly during the winter when guinea pigs spend more time inside. In the winter it’s also advisable to put plenty of hay in the hutch for your guinea pig to burrow in. Guinea pigs need fibre rich diets, such as hay or grass, to help digest food and maintain healthy teeth. Hay and grass should be supplemented with a complete food for guinea pigs, which is different to the food given to rabbits as guinea pigs can’t produce their own Vitamin C and they also require high levels of Vitamin A. Guinea pigs can also be given fresh vegetables, in moderation. Guinea pigs need to eat fibre to wear down their continuously growing teeth. It’s advisable to clip the claws approximately once a month, however the more a guinea pig walks or runs on a hard surface the less frequently they will need clipping as they will wear down themselves. Regular exercise is important to keep guinea pigs fit and prevent boredom, which could lead to behavioural problems. Before attempting to handle your guinea pig, let him become accustomed to you by feeding out of your hand and stroking him. It’s advisable to keep guinea pigs in social groups to encourage them to interact and socialise. Rub your hands over your guinea pig’s body including his head, legs and feet to check for any lumps or bumps or anything stuck in his pads. Monitor your guinea pig’s body condition by running your hands over his ribs and backbone.