Care of Guinea Pigs Introduction Guinea pig is the common name for a cavy. The guinea pig neither comes from Guinea, nor is it a pig. Wild herds of guinea pigs maintain a strict dominance ranking; a single, dominant male serves as the head of a harem of females. If you are planning to buy two or more guinea pigs so that they might keep each other company, remember that two adult males will not tolerate each other’s company and housing them together can lead to fighting, resource hoarding and eventually death for the submissive, weaker guinea pig. Remember, guinea pigs are quite precocious and can start breeding as young as 4-6 weeks of age unless you want lots of guinea pigs, it is best to get either the male or female or both guinea pigs neutered if you are housing a male and a female together.
Bedding in guinea pig cages serves three purposes: it is the litter box, it serves as a substrate in which the guinea pig may nest and burrow, and it provides a soft surface on which to walk. Guinea pig pellets are also an important part of your guinea pig’s diet. Supplementing your guinea pig’s diet with fresh vegetables and fruits will help prevent boredom, as well as make sure that your guinea pig ‘s diet is optimum. Upper respiratory infections can quickly lead to pneumonia in a guinea pig and guinea pigs with these signs should be seen by a veterinarian. Never house Guinea pigs and rabbits in the same hutch, and limit dog/guinea pig interactions.
Reproduction Most people who buy guinea pigs for pets aren’t buying them to breed guinea pigs unfortunately, sometimes the pet stores unknowingly sell pregnant females. Any person considering a guinea pig as a pet should spend some time around guinea pigs before adopting them.
Understanding Animal Research
Guinea pigs are used to test the vaccine against anthrax. Guinea pigs are used in the testing of vaccines against anthrax, currently an important area of biodefence research. The guinea pig is also widely used to provide tissues and organs for research. Guinea pig blood components are widely used, and isolated organ preparations such as guinea pig lung and intestine are extensively used in research to develop new medicines. Guinea pig intestines have been used to study the ‘gut-brain’ which contains as many nerve cells as the spinal cord.
Guinea pig intestine has also been extensively used to study the ‘little brain’ in the gut, which contains as many nerve cells as the spinal cord. Guinea pigs’ airways are sensitive to allergens, so it has been widely used in asthma studies. Vitamin C was discovered through research on guinea pigs. Vitamin C was discovered through research on guinea pigs, and they have since been important in nutritional research. Guinea pigs are ideal animal models to study auditory systems.
Guinea pigs are therefore a preferred animal model for studying auditory systems, and in 1961 Georg von Békésy was awarded a Nobel Prize for describing the mechanical mechanisms of the cochlea in guinea pigs. In 1919 research showed that inoculation of guinea pigs with a small amount of blood from Yellow Fever patients produced a mild reaction in the animals.
Guinea Pig Preventive Care
The guinea pig is a rodent that derives from South America. On average, the life span of a guinea pig is 7 years. Commercial chows are best, but avoid using other rodent or rabbit chows, as these are not properly balanced for guinea pigs. Guinea pigs have a dietary requirement for Vitamin C and this may be provided in the water or in cabbage or oranges as well as crushing vitamin C tablets into fresh water daily. Guinea pigs may be housed together and males and females often form permanent couples.
Never leave your guinea pig alone with dogs or cats! You may scoop up and cup guinea pigs with the palms of your hands but support their bodies close to yours. In spite of good nutrition and sanitary housing, guinea pigs can develop various ailments. Lameness may be present and painful, lame guinea pigs are not likely to eat very well. If parasites are present then all who came in contact with guinea pigs should be treated with an appropriate medication.
Please provide the best diet and care possible so that your guinea pig may enjoy a longer, healthier life. We recommend that you purchase a good reference book for guinea pig care.
Harringtons for Healthy Pets
Rabbits and guinea pigs need access to fresh hay and water at all times. Hay is essential to help them maintain a healthy digestion. They enjoy variety and appreciate the addition of fresh food in their diet several times each week. It is unkind to overfeed your pet, so adjust the amount you feed to keep them at their ideal weight. Chewing small twigs from trees such as apple and hazel helps to keep their teeth strong and healthy.
When changing food, do so gradually over a 7 to 10 day period.