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Guinea Pig Cavia porcellus. Biology and Anatomy. Origin. Cavia porcellus – domesticated Cavia aperia – wild Wild – Peru, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay Also known as Cavies Domesticated 16 th century – England. Uses of Guinea Pigs. Pets Scientific research Food.

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Guinea pig cavia porcellus

Guinea Pig Cavia porcellus

Biology and Anatomy


Origin
Origin

  • Cavia porcellus – domesticated

  • Cavia aperia – wild

  • Wild – Peru, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay

  • Also known as Cavies

  • Domesticated 16th century – England


Uses of guinea pigs
Uses of Guinea Pigs

  • Pets

  • Scientific research

  • Food




Cuy chaqtado
“CUY CHAQTADO” around 1530, when Pizarro conquered Peru. The rodents were used for food and religious sacrifices.

A recipe for fried Guinea Pig

Fried Guinea Pig (Ayacucho-style)

1 guinea pig, de-haired, gutted, and cleaned

1/2 c. flour

1/4 - 1/2 t. ground cumin salt and black pepper to taste

1/2 c. oil

Pat dry the skin of the guinea pig and rub in

the cumin, salt, and pepper. Preheat oil. Dust

the carcass with the flour and place it on its

back in the oil, turning to cook both sides.

Alternately, the guinea pig can be cut and fried

in quarters.

Serve with boiled potato or boiled manioc

root, and a salad of cut tomatoes and slivered

onion bathed in lime juice and a bit of salt.


Taste like chicken
“Taste like chicken” around 1530, when Pizarro conquered Peru. The rodents were used for food and religious sacrifices.

“Have some Pisco in hand”


Taxonomy
Taxonomy around 1530, when Pizarro conquered Peru. The rodents were used for food and religious sacrifices.

  • The guinea pig is in the order Rodentia, the largest mammalian order, which includes rats, mice and squirrels.

  • Guinea pigs are placed in the suborder Hystricomorpha, along with chinchillas and porcupines, and in the family Caviidae.

  • The Caviidae, which include the capybara, are herbivorous South American rodents characterized by a stocky body, vestigial tail and long gestation.


Uncle Skeeter around 1530, when Pizarro conquered Peru. The rodents were used for food and religious sacrifices.

Erethizon dorsatum

Cousin “Booger”

Hydrochoerus hydrochaerus

Aunt Charlene

Chinchilla laniger

Cousin “Bubba”

Octodon degu


Varieties of guinea pigs
Varieties of Guinea Pigs around 1530, when Pizarro conquered Peru. The rodents were used for food and religious sacrifices.

  • Traditional

    • American or English – short hair

    • Abyssinian – whorls of short rough hair

    • Peruvian – long hair


Varieties of guinea pigs1
Varieties of Guinea Pigs around 1530, when Pizarro conquered Peru. The rodents were used for food and religious sacrifices.

  • New varieties

    • Silky – medium length soft hair

    • Teddy – short, coarse hair

    • American Crested – short hair with contrasting whorl on forehead

    • Rex – very short, soft hair

    • Hairless


Traditional varieties of guinea pigs

Traditional varieties of guinea pigs around 1530, when Pizarro conquered Peru. The rodents were used for food and religious sacrifices.





New varieties of guinea pigs

New varieties of guinea pigs Guinea pigs of each variety may be mono-colored, bicolored, or tricolored


Silky soft medium hair
Silky – soft, medium hair Guinea pigs of each variety may be mono-colored, bicolored, or tricolored


Teddy short coarse hair
Teddy – short, coarse hair Guinea pigs of each variety may be mono-colored, bicolored, or tricolored


American crested contrasting whorl on head
American crested – Guinea pigs of each variety may be mono-colored, bicolored, or tricoloredcontrasting whorl on head


Rex very short soft hair
Rex – very short, soft hair Guinea pigs of each variety may be mono-colored, bicolored, or tricolored


Hairless well almost
Hairless – (well, almost) Guinea pigs of each variety may be mono-colored, bicolored, or tricolored


Lab stocks outbred
Lab stocks-outbred Guinea pigs of each variety may be mono-colored, bicolored, or tricolored

  • In the laboratory, the stocks include the Hartley, also known as the Dunkin-Hartley, an outbred shorthair albino; the NIH Outbred, a multi-colored guinea pig; and the hairless, euthymic guinea pig.


Basic guinea pig
Basic Guinea Pig Guinea pigs of each variety may be mono-colored, bicolored, or tricolored

  • compact stocky body

  • tailless

  • diurnal – actually

    • short naps night and day

  • sebaceous marking glands - rump

  • open rooted teeth


Additional characteristics
Additional characteristics Guinea pigs of each variety may be mono-colored, bicolored, or tricolored

  • vocalize – at least 11 sounds

    http://www.guineapigs-online.com/html/piggiesounds.html

  • good swimmers

  • seldom jump

  • rarely bite or scratch

  • need frequent handling

  • lifespan – 4- 5 years

  • Group housed guinea pigs establish male-dominated hierarchies. This is often expressed by circling and vocalizations.


Uses in research
USES IN RESEARCH Guinea pigs of each variety may be mono-colored, bicolored, or tricolored

  • According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in 1990 approximately 350,000 guinea pigs were used in research, teaching and testing. This number is in contrast to the estimated number of mice and rats used annually, which is 10 to 20 million.


Similarity to humans
Similarity to humans Guinea pigs of each variety may be mono-colored, bicolored, or tricolored

  • Guinea pigs have anatomical and physiological features that make them excellent models for specific studies. Guinea pigs and humans share several features, including a need for dietary vitamin C, similar placentation and hormonal control of pregnancy, delayed hypersensitivity reactions, and susceptibility to tuberculosis.


Other research uses
Other research uses Guinea pigs of each variety may be mono-colored, bicolored, or tricolored

  • Other research uses of the guinea pig include immunological studies, for which they are a source of serum complement; auditory research; teratology and toxicity research;

  • The guinea pig is also being used as a model for spontaneous diabetes mellitus


Anatomy and physiology

ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY Guinea pigs of each variety may be mono-colored, bicolored, or tricolored



Dental formula
Dental formula sacral and

  • Guinea pigs are monophyodont, that is, they get one permanent set of teeth. Their dental formula is unique for rodents, as most rodents do not have premolars. All the teeth are hypsodont, or open rooted.

    Dental formula:

    2(I 1/1 C 0/0 PM 1/1 M 3/3) = 20


Digits
Digits sacral and

  • Guinea pigs have four digits on the forelimbs and three digits on their hindlimbs.


Ears sacral and

  • The ears of the guinea pig are small and access to the veins is difficult. Guinea pigs have large tympanic bullae and the internal structures of the ear are easily reached features that facilitate auditory research.


Teats
TEATS sacral and

  • Both the male and female have teats. The female has a single pair of inguinal mammary glands.


The thymus
The thymus sacral and

  • The thymus of the guinea pig surrounds the trachea. This is in contrast to rats, mice and other murid rodents, in which the thymus is deep within the thoracic cavity, overlying the heart.


The adrenal glands
The adrenal glands sacral and

  • The adrenal glands are bilobed and large compared to most rodents. They are situated cranial to each kidney. In this image, in which the animal's head is to the left, the kidney is obscured by renal fat, but the left adrenal gland is indicated by an arrow.


Gastrointestinal
Gastrointestinal sacral and

  • Guinea pigs are monogastric, but they have a lower intestinal tract typical of herbivores. The large intestine occupies most of the abdominal cavity, and the cecum, identified by the arrow, contains up to 65% of the total gastrointestinal contents.


Vaginal closure
Vaginal closure sacral and

  • The female guinea pig (sow)can be distinguished from the maleby a shallow, U-shaped break in the ridge between the urethral orifice and the anus. This break is covered with a vaginal closure membrane which is only open during estrus and parturition.



Everted penis
Everted Penis sacral and

  • Sexing is more easily accomplished by applying gentle pressure to evert the penis of the boar, or male. The mature boar has extra-abdominal paired testes, which lie in the scrotal pouches and open inguinal canals.


Penile style
Penile style sacral and

  • The os penis, or baculum, is found within the dorsal surface of the entire length of the glans. The intromittent sac, unique to hystricomorph rodents, is in the ventral aspect of the glans. When the penis is erect, the intromittent sac everts, revealing two keratinaceous, horn-like styles attached to its caudal end.


Female and male reproductive tracts
Female and male reproductive tracts sacral and

  • The male guinea pig, on the left, has large vesicular glands, shown by the larger arrow, that are bilateral, smooth and transparent. These may be mistaken for the uterine horns of the female, which are identified by the smaller arrow on the right.


Physiologic values
Physiologic values sacral and

  • Normal body temperature of the guinea pig is 99.0-103.1 F and the average life span is four-five years.

  • Respiratory rate is 42-104 per minute

  • The heart rate is 230-380 beats per minute.

  • Adult body weight for the sow is 700-900 grams and, for the boar, 900-1200 grams.

  • Page 154


Physiologic values cont
Physiologic values cont.. sacral and

  • Puberty 45-70 days

  • Breeding age 3-4 months

  • Gestation period 59-72 days

  • Litter seize 2-5 pups

  • Weaning age 14-21 days


Unique future
Unique future sacral and

  • Guinea pigs are the only rodents known to require a source of vitamin C in their daily diet. This is because they lack L-gulonolactone oxidase, an enzyme required for the synthesis of vitamin C.


Reproduction sow and boar
REPRODUCTION sacral andSow and Boar

  • The sow is a nonseasonal, continuously polyestrous breeder, with an estrous cycle of 15-17 days. The sow also exhibits a fertile estrus approximately 12-15 hours postpartum.

  • Usually the sow is bred at two-three months of age, which corresponds with a body weight of 350-450 grams. A sow should be bred for the first time before 7 months of age.

  • For the boar, age at first breeding is typically three-four months (600-700 grams body weight)


Placentation
Placentation sacral and

  • Placentation in the guinea pig is discoid and hemomonochorial. Gestation is between 59 and 72 days, with an average of 68 days; gestation length varies inversely with litter size.

discoid placenta

a placenta in which the chorionic villi are arranged in a circular plate as in human and rodent placentae.

hemochorial placenta

a type of placenta in which all maternal layers are lost so that fetal tissue is in contact with frank maternal blood, as occurs in insectivores, rodents, rabbits and most primates.


Handier w sow
Handier w/sow sacral and

  • In late gestation, abdominal distention is obvious and body weight may nearly double. The pubic symphysis begins to separate in the last half of gestation due to increased production of relaxin. The diameter of the separation 48 hours prepartum is approximately 15 mm and may be as large as 22 mm at parturition.


When are you due
When are you due? sacral and


Within 24 hrs
Within 24 hrs! sacral and

Hey doc, can’t you at

least wear a glove?


Newborns
Newborns sacral and

  • A litter of two to five piglets is born within about 30 minutes, with 3 to 7 minutes between births. Each newborn weighs between 60 and 100 grams, with individual birth weights inversely proportional to the litter size


Care of young
Care of Young sacral and

  • precocial – born

    • furred, eyes open, teeth erupted

    • walking within 2 hours

  • two nipples – inguinal region

    • can care for four young

    • litters 3-4 (range 1-6)


Identification
Identification sacral and

  • Guinea pigs may be identified individually. Permanent methods include color pattern records, ear notching, microchip, and tattoos. An ear tag, as shown here, is another acceptable identification method


Resources
Resources sacral and

LABORATORY ANIMAL MEDICINE AND SCIENCE -SERIES II

GUINEA PIGS:

Biology and Use in Research

V-9023

L. J. Tambrallo, DVM, MS

R. E. Fish, DVM, PhD

Office of Laboratory Animal Medicine

University of Missouri

Columbia, Missouri


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