Basics of Guinea Pig Care
Guinea pigs make wonderful, interactive pets, but they do require some specific care in order to keep them healthy. Pet supply stores do sell vitamin C supplements for these animals, and your pet will especially love those C-fortified yogurt drops, but providing the diet outlined below will usually provide adequate vitamin C. Two Tablespoons Daily of Guinea Pig Pellets. Guinea pig pellets are formulated with vitamin C. Rabbit pellets look virtually the same, but do not contain the added vitamin C.
Do not feed your pet rabbit pellets, even though they are considerably cheaper because you’ll set your little friend up for a health crisis. As a rule of thumb, avoid purchasing your pet’s pellets from a bulk bin where you can’t be sure how old the feed is or if it’s being rotated properly. Fresh foods offer the best opportunity to supplement your pet’s vitamin C intake in the most natural way. Always feed fresh fruits and veggies rather than cooked in order to preserve the vitamin C, and make sure you thoroughly wash everything before offering it to your pet. It’s extremely important to keep your pet’s cage clean.
Wipe the surface dry before refilling the bedding and putting your pet back in the cage. If you’re feeding your pet the diet described above and the cage offers adequate room, your pet will get most of the exercise it needs. Your pet’s grooming needs will vary depending on which type of coat it has. Depending on your choices and any sales you find, expect to make an initial invest of about $180.00 to purchase your pet and its cage setup. If you feel you have room in your budget to handle these costs plus the time it takes to keep your pet’s cage clean, you can provide all the basics your guinea pig will need to have a healthy life.
Guinea pig feasts may explain high rates of deadly parasite in Peru
In order for people to become infected, they need to scratch the spot where a bloodsucking insect known as the kissing bug has both bit them and defecated on them. The itching scratches the feces-loaded with a single-celled parasite known as Trypanosoma cruzi-into the skin, but the process is so inefficient that only one human becomes infected for every 1700 kissing bug bites. If there were lots of uninfected guinea pigs to balance out their infected friends, this might not be such a problem. Guinea pig populations rise and fall in a predictable cycle: When alfalfa prices spike in the dry summer months, people kill their stock rather than pay more to feed them. If the remaining guinea pigs happen to carry T.
cruzi, the parasite becomes concentrated in a smaller population. That, in turn, makes it more likely a hungry kissing bug will bite an infected guinea pig instead of a healthy one, turning the insect into a vector capable of passing along T. cruzi to its future meals, including humans. That appears to be exactly what’s happening in Arequipa. After many years of this cycle, more than 80% of the kissing bugs taken from two guinea pig pens there were infected with T.
cruzi, whereas only about 6% of insects sampled away from the rodent enclosures were. The bugs that live close to guinea pigs also live close to people, increasing the chance that T. cruzi will find its way into human hosts and keep the Chagas rate high. Correction, 18 June, 1:26 p.m.: This article originally referred to the kissing bug as a species of beetle, which is incorrect. It belongs to the family of insects called Reduviidae.
Guinea Pig Husbandry and Preventative Healthcare
Cage – Minimum of 2×3 feet for each guinea pig. Wire mesh bottoms should NEVER be used for guinea pigs due to the risk of feet becoming trapped and subsequent injury. Behavior – Guinea pigs generally have social and vivacious personalities. Have children sit on the floor with the pig in their laps to avoid accidental falls. Vitamin C Supplement – This is an essential part of every guinea pig’s diet.
HEALTH AND PREVENTATIVE MEDICINE: It is recommended that all newly acquired guinea pig receive a complete physical examination by an exotic animal veterinarian. BREEDING COMPLICATIONS: It is extremely important that no female guinea pig be allowed to breed for the first time AFTER 6 months of age. We recommend keeping guinea pigs in pairs or small groups if they have been neutered/spayed. Intact males may fight and since there are so many homeless guinea pigs out there, intact male/female pairs should be avoided. Vitamin C deficiency: Guinea pigs require vitamin C every day to survive.
Upper respiratory infection/Pneumonia: This is one of the most common bacterial diseases of pet guinea pigs. If your pig is exhibiting any of these symptoms, have a vet examine it immediately.
Animal Humane Society
Guinea pigs are tail-less rodents with long, short, or sometimes wild hair that ranges in color. When full grown, they weigh around 1-2 pounds and are 8-10 inches long. Described as cuddly and comical, guinea pigs love to vocalize with squeals, chirps, squeaks, and whistles. They make wonderful pets for children and can be very social animals. Guinea pigs are hardy little animals, and their easy care makes them especially affordable pets!