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Breeding What's your thoughts on satin guinea pigs?

pandaloki

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I've recently adopted a satin guinea pig, I did a little research and found out that they are prone to having bone problems.

Satin guinea pigs are starting to get popular here and are highly prized among breeders who like to show, which worries me. It's sad how people breed them for aesthetic purposes and not think about their welfare. Same situation with bulldogs.
 

mufasa

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From what I know, it seems like it's the same situation with skinny pigs, too. I agree that's sad how so many breeders, judges, etc. put an unnatural aesthetic before an animal's health.
 

pinky

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I had a female teddy that was not a Satin that died from osteodystrophy. I had a Satin that never developed bone problems. I don't think they should be intentionally breed Satins if there is a proven link but after having a non Satin being stricken with osteodystrophy, it tells me the malady is not exclusive to Satins.
 

doganddisc

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They are beautiful.

Which is why it would be worth a breeder's time to be breeding away from osteodystrophy in satin guinea pigs.
 

schavarry

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breeding a pig that looks pretty but is more likely to succumb to a very painful disease is just plain unethical.

I wish that wasn't a problem for Satins. I love how they look, but that's just not worth it.

I agree with the first half of this quote - it's wrong to breed them if you know there is a link between the breed and a specific generic disease. But at the same time I wouldn't turn one down simply because the breed might have more genetic issues if I were rescuing a guinea pig. I hope that makes sense....
 

mufasa

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I agree about rescuing, too. I've adopted special needs animals before, and when I was looking for piggies to adopt, I didn't care about the breed (ended up with American and Abby). if a Satin happened to come into my life needing a home, it would be welcome here and I'd work around the problems.

It turns out Borat might have congential tooth problems that require regular treatment (apparently malocclusion is often genetic), and of course he'll live with me for life and have the vet care he needs. Same goes for any of the animals that drop into my life.
 

Wildcavy

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[MENTION=22122]doganddisc[/MENTION], if we stipulate that it is possible to breed a Satin away from the osteo problem (and I am not convinced that it is), is it worth it to all of the pigs that are sacrificed between the starter pig and the goal pig? IE, what about all of the pigs that carry the problem gene between now and the ultimate, problem-free pig?

Aren't you intentionally bringing lives into this world KNOWING that statistically, some of them are going to be unhealthy / discards?
 

Cavylier

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They are beautiful.

Which is why it would be worth a breeder's time to be breeding away from osteodystrophy in satin guinea pigs.

Yes, but it would not be worth the life of a guinea pig who dies in the process.

I'm not sure about your comment though - are you saying that it's why breeder's should breed the disease-carrying gene away or just stating the reason for it happening?

I don't want to jump on someone who's just stating a fact. Sorry, if you are.
 

LostInReverie

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Aren't you intentionally bringing lives into this world KNOWING that statistically, some of them are going to be unhealthy / discards?

I agree. I think bringing animals into the world knowing they'll probably suffer later in life is very, very questionable. That's why I don't support the breeding of certain extreme-looking, very unhealthy dogs.

At the same time, I don't think breeding Satins necessarily means breeding more with this disease. I don't know much about breeding, or genetics, but I was told once in reference to breeding dogs that you don't get good genes from bad stock. In other words, the correct way to breed healthy Satins would be to find some without osteodystrophy. If it's possible to test pigs to see whether or not they have and/or carry osteodystrophy, that is.

In any case, I do not think it's justifiable at all to breed Satins if it's practically guaranteed that they'll have osteodystrophy. I'm going to do some more research on the condition.
 

LostInReverie

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Okay, I found this here: Guinea Pig Welfare » Symtoms, Diagnosis and Prognosis…

It appears that Osteodystrophy cannot be ‘bred out’ of Satins by using carriers or healthy stock. OD is, it seems, carried through the generations maybe not showing for a while. Satins are one of the most out crossed varieties of guinea, nearly every variety has been Satinised.

:sad:
 

foggycreekcavy

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But at the same time I wouldn't turn one down simply because the breed might have more genetic issues if I were rescuing a guinea pig. I hope that makes sense....


Unfortunately, satins tend to stay longer here at the rescue. I always tell any prospective adopters about the possibility that satins will develop problems, and so usually they opt out of adopting them. Most of my adopters are first time pig owners, and they don't want to adopt a pig that may have health issues.

I recently took in a satin silky and two satin Abyssinians. I have an American satin that's been here for a few years now.
 

Wildcavy

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@LostInReverie -- the "reply with quote" function isn't working, so I'm excerpting part of what you note above:

At the same time, I don't think breeding Satins necessarily means breeding more with this disease. I don't know much about breeding, or genetics, but I was told once in reference to breeding dogs that you don't get good genes from bad stock. In other words, the correct way to breed healthy Satins would be to find some without osteodystrophy. If it's possible to test pigs to see whether or not they have and/or carry osteodystrophy, that is.

You bring up something that has been on my mind, which is repeated by so-called "responsible" breeders -- the possibility of testing, tracking, appropriately logging, and sharing the data for genetic traits in a certain breeding pool. I'm not saying that you are arguing this is the right thing -- you've helpfully brought it up and I'd like to bring out the point.

As someone who has a family (immediate and extended) with multiple genetic challenges, I know what researchers go through to try to locate, isolate, test for / remediate etc human genetic "flaws." I'm talking about FraXa, trisomy, and number of congenital issues. Well-trained, well-funded researchers have enormous databases with comparatively large sums of money (compared to, say, a cavy breeder -- they are underfunded in human terms). And yet there is no "cure" or "fix" for these genetic issues despite decades of research.

I try to get my mind around an animal breeder trying to tell me that they are so competent and technically advanced that they can track things like the gene that carries the Satin/osteodystrophy trait, specifically breed it out, with reliable charts, databases, funding and so forth. I cannot picture any breeder of cavies, dogs, etc. that has a system that approaches what they have at the NIH or major research universities, and yet they allege that they can figure out a way to fix this and end up with the Perfect Satin (or other animal).

And in time alone -- with the hit-or-miss type of breeding, you'd have to be back-breeding your pigs to end up with any kind of remediation in a reasonable amount of time. But then the people who say they are "responsible" breeders say that they don't back-breed. So what are we talking about, then? Being willing to wait 15 years to create one perfect Satin with zero genetic flaws (again, assuming this is even possible)? Who is going to buy your $250,000 pig?
Advocates for "responsible" breeding don't make any sense. THere is no internal logic to what they are saying, when it comes to vanity breeding like building the perfect Satin. And there is no justification for bringing into the world the "rejects" just because someone wants a piece of living jewelry.

Again, I'm just building on Lost in Reverie's point -- I am not at all saying that Lost in Reverie is saying that breeding Satins is okay! :*)
 
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doganddisc

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@LostInReverie -- the "reply with quote" function isn't working, so I'm excerpting part of what you note above:

At the same time, I don't think breeding Satins necessarily means breeding more with this disease. I don't know much about breeding, or genetics, but I was told once in reference to breeding dogs that you don't get good genes from bad stock. In other words, the correct way to breed healthy Satins would be to find some without osteodystrophy. If it's possible to test pigs to see whether or not they have and/or carry osteodystrophy, that is.

You bring up something that has been on my mind, which is repeated by so-called "responsible" breeders -- the possibility of testing, tracking, appropriately logging, and sharing the data for genetic traits in a certain breeding pool. I'm not saying that you are arguing this is the right thing -- you've helpfully brought it up and I'd like to bring out the point.

As someone who has a family (immediate and extended) with multiple genetic challenges, I know what researchers go through to try to locate, isolate, test for / remediate etc human genetic "flaws." I'm talking about FraXa, trisomy, and number of congenital issues. Well-trained, well-funded researchers have enormous databases with comparatively large sums of money (compared to, say, a cavy breeder -- they are underfunded in human terms). And yet there is no "cure" or "fix" for these genetic issues despite decades of research.

I try to get my mind around an animal breeder trying to tell me that they are so competent and technically advanced that they can track things like the gene that carries the Satin/osteodystrophy trait, specifically breed it out, with reliable charts, databases, funding and so forth. I cannot picture any breeder of cavies, dogs, etc. that has a system that approaches what they have at the NIH or major research universities, and yet they allege that they can figure out a way to fix this and end up with the Perfect Satin (or other animal).

And in time alone -- with the hit-or-miss type of breeding, you'd have to be back-breeding your pigs to end up with any kind of remediation in a reasonable amount of time. But then the people who say they are "responsible" breeders say that they don't back-breed. So what are we talking about, then? Being willing to wait 15 years to create one perfect Satin with zero genetic flaws (again, assuming this is even possible)? Who is going to buy your $250,000 pig?
Advocates for "responsible" breeding don't make any sense. THere is no internal logic to what they are saying, when it comes to vanity breeding like building the perfect Satin. And there is no justification for bringing into the world the "rejects" just because someone wants a piece of living jewelry.

Again, I'm just building on Lost in Reverie's point -- I am not at all saying that Lost in Reverie is saying that breeding Satins is okay! :*)

I don't have a lot of time for a response right now, so I'll come back to this one later. But it IS possible to breed away from certain genetic flaws- the genes you are referring to are presumably of unknown origin.

There are breeders of German Shepherds who see very few to no dogs with hip dysplasia. Rat breeders who have few to no tumors in their rats. Mouse breeders who are getting mice that live well beyond their expected lifespan. Obviously all that careful tracking and tedious study of an individual animal's genetics is working.

Do I believe that every single genetic issue can be bred out of an animal? Absolutely not. For one, we have these problems to control population in the first place. It's part of nature's way of saying "There's too many of you, time to tone it down a bit." On the other hand, certain mutations that are typically seen as being a disadvantage to most, are actually an advantage to some. Take sickle cell anemia- those affected have a multitude of health problems, but are virtually immune to malaria. Natural selection made sickle cell a common mutation- those who had it in Africa survived and bred, those who did not have it died.

The problem is when natural selection doesn't apply. In satin guinea pigs, nobody seems to actually know what is causing osteodystrophy. If it is absolutely impossible to breed away from the issue (as I have only seen stated on a single website, so I'm not entirely convinced this is the case), I would say that breeders should cease breeding satins. I would be interested in seeing the percentages for guinea pigs who carry/are affected by the disease though.

As for whether it would be necessary to sacrifice some guinea pigs to create satins without this issue- that's hard to say and I don't have an answer. I can say, however, that if I had the perfect working Border Collie except that he had bad hips, I would not breed him. To do so wouldn't be fair to him, the offspring, and any potential owners down the line.

Sorry if I'm just talking nonsense- I'm half asleep while I'm writing this! Busy day :)
 

xXMaggieXx

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I have an American Satin piggy that I rescued. She is the sweetest pig ever <3 I had no idea about the health problems. I really hope my piggy never gets it. I couldnt bear the thought of her being sick :(. Do they normally develop it in a certain age range?
 

pandaloki

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I have an American Satin piggy that I rescued. She is the sweetest pig ever <3 I had no idea about the health problems. I really hope my piggy never gets it. I couldnt bear the thought of her being sick :(. Do they normally develop it in a certain age range?

No, they just have a higher probability of having the problem compared to other guinea pigs.
 

xXMaggieXx

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Alright. Im hoping she doesnt develop it
 

doganddisc

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Alright. Im hoping she doesnt develop it

They are born with the issue- it doesn't develop. You can have her tested by a guinea pig savvy vet.
 

xXMaggieXx

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Oh. okay I will look into that
 

derralou

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I have a satin in my current herd she is approaching 3 with not a single sign of any bone/mpvement/walking faults or difficulty whatsoever. i think it does depend on the individual pig and the stability of the genetic line more than anything
 

bpatters

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I believe there's ongoing research in Europe (either Germany or the Netherlands) on whether or not all satin pigs have osteodystrophy. Some apparently do not develop the painful bone and joint dysfunction as soon as, or the same degree as, others do. But some researchers think they all have it, and I think that's what that research is designed to find out.
 
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