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GUINEA PIG MANAGEMENT. Cavia porcellus. Origin. Cavia porcellus – domesticated Cavia aperia – wild wild – Peru, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay also known as Cavies domesticated 16 th century – England. Varieties of Guinea Pigs. Traditional American or English – short hair

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GUINEA PIG MANAGEMENT

Cavia porcellus


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Origin

  • Cavia porcellus – domesticated

  • Cavia aperia – wild

  • wild – Peru, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay

  • also known as Cavies

  • domesticated 16th century – England


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Varieties of Guinea Pigs

  • Traditional

    • American or English – short hair

    • Abyssinian – whorls of short rough hair

    • Peruvian – long hair


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Varieties of Guinea Pigs

  • 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









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American crested – contrasting whorl on head




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Basic Guinea Pig

  • compact stocky body

  • tailless

  • diurnal – actually

    • short naps night and day

  • sebaceous marking glands - rump

  • open rooted teeth


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Additional characteristics

  • vocalize – at least 11 sounds

  • good swimmers

  • seldom jump

  • rarely bite or scratch

  • need frequent handling

  • lifespan – 5 yr average, ~8 yr max.


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Uses of Guinea Pigs

  • Pets

  • Scientific research

  • Food


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Home Sweet Home

  • Temperature: 70, 65 – 79

  • Space

    • < 350 gm 60 sq. in.

    • > 350 gm 101 sq. in.

    • max size 1.2 x 3.8 cm mesh or solid


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Home Sweet Home

  • Bedding

    • wood shavings – not cedar, pine

    • shredded paper

    • not dusty

    • timothy hay overlay optional

    • clean weekly


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Home Sweet Home

  • Humidity 50%; 40 – 70

  • Light cycle 12:12

  • Air changes 10 – 15 per hour


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Digestive System

  • Strict herbivores

  • Hind gut fermenters – cecum

    • Lactobacilli sp.

    • primary fatty acid – propionic acid


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NUTRITION

  • require vitamin C

  • have higher folic acid requirement

  • sensitive to excess Ca, Vit. A, Vit. D

    • leads to metastatic calcification

    • mineralization of soft tissues


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Feeding

  • Additional Requirements

    • ~ 6 gm feed/100 gm body weight

    • 18-20 % protein

    • 10-16 % crude fiber

  • Use guinea pig feed!!!

  • NOT RABBIT FEED

    • no vit. C and high in vit. D


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Feeding Management

  • Messy feeders

  • Use J-feeders not bowl


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Water Management

  • Glass/clear bottles preferred

  • Like to play with waterers

    • will empty water bottle and/or

    • stop up the opening

    • check frequently

  • Change & Clean water bottle daily

  • Automatic waterers

    • check daily; acidify water at source

    • reduces pseudomonas


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Water Management

  • Glass/clear bottles preferred

  • Like to play with waterers

    • will empty water bottle and/or

    • stop up the opening

    • check frequently

  • Change & Clean water bottle daily

  • Automatic waterers

    • check daily; acidify water at source

    • reduces pseudomonas


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Water Management

  • Glass/clear bottles preferred

  • Like to play with waterers

    • will empty water bottle and/or

    • stop up the opening

    • check frequently

  • Change & Clean water bottle daily

  • Automatic waterers

    • check daily; acidify water at source

    • reduces pseudomonas


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REPRODUCTION

  • age to sexual maturity 68-70

  • estrous cycle 15-17 days

  • gestation 59-72 days


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SEXING

male: straight slit female: Y-shaped


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SEXING male: straight slit


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SEXING female: Y-shaped


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BREEDING

  • females pair at 400gm; 2-3 months

  • males pair at 600 gm; 3-4 months

  • breed females before 6 months

    • otherwise pubic symphysis fuses

    • must relax at parturition


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Care of Young

  • 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)


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Care of Young

  • milk

    • 3.9% fat

    • 8.1% protein

    • 3.0% lactose


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DISEASES

  • genetic

  • infectious

  • environmental

  • nutritional

  • others


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DISEASES

  • malocclusion – over growth of teeth

  • causes

    • environmental

      • inadequate opportunity wear down teeth

    • genetic

      • teeth do not meet properly

  • in guinea pigs

    • lower premolars may be tilted inward

    • eventually tongue is trapped


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INFECTIOUS DISEASES

  • Bordetella bronchiseptica - pneumonia

    • do not house with subclinical carriers

    • rabbits, cats, dogs

  • other infectious diseases are much less common


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OTHER DISEASES

  • vitamin C deficiency – scurvy

  • metastatic calcification

    • mineralization of soft tissues

  • heat stroke

    • 85º F+, high humidity, lack of ventilation

  • barbering

    • small bald patches


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Public Health Risks

  • minimal

  • diseases guinea pigs may carry

    • Bordetella, Salmonella, Yersinia pseudotuberculosis, Streptococcus


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