Best Friends Animal Society
Mini pigs, miniature pigs, micro mini pigs, dwarf pigs and pygmy pigs are but a few. Originally bred in Vietnam, the potbellied pig is a domestic pig that is indeed miniature when compared to the average farm pig. While calling them micro mini teacup pigs is a stretch, it’s not incorrect to call Vietnamese potbellied pigs mini pigs within that context. Jen Reid, manager of Marshall’s Piggy Paradise at Best Friends, explains that whether or not a pig is miniature really depends on your frame of reference. If someone has been promised a micro teacup pig, and that pig grows to 100-plus pounds as an adult miniature pig, suddenly that pig is not going to seem so cute anymore.
Potbellied pigs can keep growing until they are five years old, which can be problematic for people who simply want tiny pigs for pets – especially those who take their pig home to live in a small house or an apartment. Even if having a pig is legal where you live, having enough room to house him or her is crucial because most of the time, a pig sold as a baby teacup pig will keep growing far beyond breeders’ predictions. If pigs can’t root around in the ground, they’ll turn to the next best thing, which may be the new carpet or that expensive couch. Though George Clooney had a pet pig for 18 years, the nano pig trend seems to have taken off in 2009, when Paris Hilton got a so-called teacup potbelly pig she named Princess Pigelette. While some celebrities have kept their baby mini pigs even after they grew into adult mini pigs, the pocket pig craze has had some serious ripple effects.
The best defense against poor pig health and homelessness. An educated public is the best defense against poor pig health and homelessness resulting from the teacup pig craze.
Animal transplants coming ‘soon’
Using animals as a source of organs for transplantation into humans was once one of medicine’s next big things – a solution to transplant waiting lists. Using stem cells to build more complicated organs such as a heart is a long way off and mechanical body parts are used in the short term before an actual transplant. Whole organs The pig is the donor of choice despite non-human primates, such as the chimpanzee, being much more closely related to humans. Another problem with primates is that they may be too closely related, with the risk of diseases jumping between species when an organ is donated. Finally pigs have organs of a similar size to humans.
Dr David Cooper from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre is one of a group of researchers arguing in the Lancet that the problems with organ rejection are being overcome. While therapies are distant on the whole organ level, they believe researchers are getting closer to transplanting small numbers of cells. Transplanting organs from animals fit uncomfortably into medicine. At the moment the best treatment for organ failure is generally a human organ transplant. Animal organs do not have a proven safety and effectiveness record so cannot meet the demand.
Doctors would like to use personalised stem cells to make replacement organs, which would match the body’s tissue and have no chance of rejection. Animal organs do have considerable potential, but only if they can be proved safe, effective and if nothing better comes along first.
Guinea Pig Grooming and Nail Trims
The grooming needs of short haired guinea pigs are minimal but if you have a breed with longer hair you will need to invest more time into caring for them. Regardless of their hair length though, all guinea pigs require regular nail trimming. The hardest part of doing a nail trim on a pet guinea pig is trying to hold them still. With patience and practice, nail clipping will become part of your regular routine and your guinea pig will squirm less over time. Hold your guinea pig upright and onto their hind legs with its back against your body by placing your hand lightly around your guinea pig’s chest.
The trick with nail trims is to cut the sharp tip off the nail without cutting into the quick. If you cut into the quick the nail will bleed and it will hurt your guinea pig. If your guinea pig has light or translucent nails, the quick will be visible as the pink part inside the nail. If you have any doubts about trimming your guinea pig’s nails, have a groomer, veterinary team member, or other experienced owner demonstrate a nail trim before you attempt it on your own. The need for brushing depends on how long your guinea pig’s hair is and whether your guinea pig is shedding excessively.
Bathing is quite stressful for guinea pigs but thankfully there are only a few reasons why your guinea pig would ever need to get a bath. If you do give your guinea pig a bath, use a shampoo designed especially for guinea pigs.