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Thread: About My Guinea Pig

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    Smile About My Guinea Pig

    My name is Rhys and I am 20 years old and a certified Vet Assistant.

    In early August my neighbor found a Guinea Pig under a pine tree, she was abandoned. Earlier in July, she found a different one that she gave to a shelter. I overheard her and asked if I could adopt her and thus I now have an unaltered sow named Cookie. Recently I found out Cookie may possibly be pregnant! I plan to take her to the vet to confirm. This is my first Guinea Pig and I am looking for any tips possible because I studied dogs and cats, not exotic pets!

    This is Cookie
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    Re: About My Guinea Pig

    Some things that are different to guinea pigs than cats and dogs on a very base level are their digestive systems and teeth.

    Guinea pigs are unable to vomit, and constantly secrete stomach acid (thus must have food constantly moving through their systems, a guinea pig that is not eating can experience life threatening complications very quickly, the lack of ability to vomit also means they don't have to fast before surgery beyond giving enough time so they don't have anything in their mouths when they go under).

    They digest all their food twice, they have cecal poops which are half digested and are re-eaten - you almost never see these as they bend over and eat them as they do them. They don't produce their own vitamin C so need it in their diet.

    Basic care tips when it comes to food are they should have an unlimited supply of grass hay that they have access to 24/7 (unlimited in the sense it is always topped up before it runs out), 1 cup of vegetables per guinea pig per day (bell peppers are good for getting them their vitamin C), and 1/8 cup of high quality pellets per guinea pig per day (oxbow is generally the recommended brand for both quality and availability).

    Bladder stones are a relatively common health complication, thus high calcium foods should be avoided in adult guinea pigs who are not pregnant or lactating. They also have teeth that are constantly growing (grass hay is what keep these ground down, thanks to the silica content of hay and the grinding motion of chewing).

    Guinea pigs are also sensitive to some medications that dogs and cats aren't. For example penicillin based drugs can cause lethal complications in guinea pigs (like GI stasis).

    Guinea pigs being prey animals are very good at hiding symptoms of illness, weighing them weekly and recording it is a good habit to form as often the first sign that something is wrong will be sudden drastic, or small but sustained, weight loss.

    They also need large flat areas to be able to run, so small or small but multi level cages aren't suitable. The recommended size is 10 square feet on a single level, this size is suited to both a single guinea pig or a pair, but more space is always better so they can exercise on their schedule.

    On the note of their scheduled, guinea pigs don't have a set sleep and awake period like we do. They instead take frequent naps (napping with their eyes open almost all the time). Guinea pigs are crepuscular animals so they are most active at dawn and dusk but in our homes they can be doing their thing at any hour of the day morning or night.
    They do however like consistency whenever possible, having a good feeding schedule helps cut down on unwanted noise. They run like clockwork, so if they know when food is coming they will week, if food can come at any time of the day so they don't know when to expect it you might find yourself with guinea pigs wheeking even in the middle of the night at the slightest hint of movement thinking that they could be getting food.

    Guinea pigs are also herd animals so it is advised to house them with another of their own kind, but you do have to introduce them the right way as they will need to establish a hierarchy, see this link for more info about introducing guinea pigs https://guinea-pigs.livejournal.com/3002707.html


    If you would like to read more about both the basic care and medical care of guinea pigs I would suggest checking out these links:
    http://www.guinealynx.info/healthycavy.html
    http://www.guinealynx.info/medical_guide.html
    http://www.guinealynx.info/medical.html
    http://www.guinealynx.info/dangerous_medications.html

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    Re: About My Guinea Pig

    If your girl is pregnant you might be surprised by how large and well developed guinea pig pups are when they are born, and also how fast they become sexually mature. Male pups need to be separated from the girls at 3 weeks of age, female pups are fine to stay with mum and any other sows that the mother is housed with indefinitely provided they get along and the cage is big enough - this also eliminates the need for introductions.

    However the large size of the pups in relation to the mother does put guinea pigs at a higher risk of experiencing pregnancy or birthing complications so having the information for a good exotic vet in your area and seeing if emergency vets in your area can/will treat guinea pigs ahead of time is a good idea (even for non-pregnant guinea pigs this is good info to have in case of an emergency).

    I forgot to mention earlier, welcome to the forums .

  5. "Thank you, Soecara, for this useful post," says:


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    Re: About My Guinea Pig

    She is lucky that she has found you. Wishing her a long, happy and healthy life with you. She is very cute.

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    Re: About My Guinea Pig

    Thank you everyone! I need all the info I can get.
    Last edited by Rhysberry; 09-12-18 at 11:25 am. Reason: forgot a word

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