Guinea Pig Health
Guinea pigs are charming little pets with great big personality. Most of the diseases we see associated with these little friends are rooted in husbandry problems. It is hard to know exactly how to house and feed your guinea pig since recommendations have changed over the years. Here is an updated discussion of the guinea pigs husbandry needs.
It is a good idea to gradually expose young guinea pigs to a variety of foods so they will develop a palate for a broad range of food choices. Grasses should compose 80 percent of their diet and should be available at ALL times. Any grass hay is sufficient, but avoid the use of alfalfa. Guinea pigs do not produce their own vitamin C but it is easy to provide your guinea pig with adequate vitamin C through food. Vitamin C water additives and citrus are a poor choice, opt for feeding red bell pepper instead.
Guinea pigs can be housed within enclosures made of a variety of materials. It is important that the flooring is not abrasive, so that the chances of foot damage are reduced. Broken legs are common in guinea pigs that fall through wire mesh and panic to escape. Although solid flooring requires more effort to keep sanitary, it is safer for the guinea pig.
Bedding materials must be clean, non-toxic, absorbent, relatively dust-free, and easy to replace. Acceptable beddings are shredded paper, processed ground corn cob, and commercial pellets. Make sure the ground corn cob is properly processed and stored to reduce fungal spore problems. Cedar shavings have been associated with causing respiratory difficulty and liver disease in some guinea pigs, and thus should not be used.
Guinea pigs should be kept in groups of at least two. Pigs kept together since youth are likely to live harmoniously, however, guinea pig relationships can deteriorate and sometimes previously harmonious animals may need to be separated. Castrated males often live well with one or two females although intact males will often fight in the presence of a female.
Please call Copper Hill Animal Clinic at 661-296-8848 to schedule an appointment.
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