All animals have needs which, as an owner, you have a legal duty to meet under the Animal Welfare Act* and guinea pigs are no exception. The Animal Welfare Act 2006 in England and Wales and the Animal Health and WelfareAct 2006 2 Your guide to keeping guinea pigs healthy and happy Environment - the need for somewhere suitable to live This may sound obvious but it is simply not enough to have a small hutch at the end of the garden with your guinea pigs crammed in like battery hens. 4 Your guide to keeping guinea pigs healthy and happy Diet - the need for a good diet and fresh water Guinea pigs’ wild relatives spend much of their time above ground eating grass and similar foods. Guinea pigs often pick out the bits they like and leave the rest, leading to an unbalanced diet and some guinea pigs may eat too much and become overweight. Friends Guinea pigs need the company of other guinea pigs and shouldn’t be kept alone. 7 Caring for guinea pigs Companionship - the need for social contact with the right animals Guinea pigs are very social animals which means they need contact with their own kind. These are very different animals and rabbits can seriously injure guinea pigs.
Guinea pigs are also prey animals which means they will be fearful of many other animals like cats, dogs, foxes and birds of prey. You need to make sure that your guinea pigs can hide from and avoid such animals and be totally secure when they do tuck themselves out of sight. 8 Your guide to keeping guinea pigs healthy and happy Health - protection from illness and injury and providing treatment when needed On the whole guinea pigs are very healthy pets when cared for correctly. 9 Caring for guinea pigs Parasites Guinea pigs can pick up parasites. 10 Your guide to keeping guinea pigs healthy and happy Grooming Long-haired guinea pigs should be gently groomed every day to prevent matted fur.
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.
Essendon Vet Clinic
Guinea Pigs make fantastic pets for those people limited by space, and those that love an affectionate and social companion. Regular health check-ups are the cornerstone of a preventative health program for your Guinea Pig. A regular visit to the vet will help detect illness early and you can find out about the latest options in Guinea Pig medicine. Parasite control Parasites can be a problem in many pets but generally Guinea Pigs are lucky when it comes to creepy crawlies. Guinea pigs have teeth that continually grow hence overgrown incisors and molars can occur.
Guinea Pigs can start breeding at 6-8 weeks of age and may be desexed at 5-6mths of age. A female guinea pig should have her first litter before 6 months of age. Guinea Pigs have continuously growing nails that need to be trimmed regularly. There are a variety of hutches and cages available to house Guinea Pigs. Generally Guinea Pigs should be kept indoors as warmer weather can cause heat stroke.
Indoor cages should allow at least 0.5 square metres of floor space per guinea pig. Staff at Littlefriend’s Farm in Pontypridd, South Wales, have now secured Sooty’s pen – and begun looking for new homes for his guinea pigs.