Questions from Guinea Pigs: Common Diseases and Critical Care Webinar

We had loads of questions from the great Guinea Pig Webinar that was presented by Molly Varga on 26th April. Molly has very kindly gone through all the questions and answered them for us. I have attached them below. If you missed the live webinar the recording is available to watch at http://thewebinarvet.com/supremepetfoods-webinars/

Any tips re encouraging guinea pigs to swallow when assist feeding?
I would only offer a small volume of relatively liquid food (1ml) at a time and allow plenty of time to swallow as well as letting the pig move its own head around if it wants.

Great webinar. A client of ours has guinea pigs and a rabbit that all get on really well, but one of the guinea pigs coughed a few times one day. Would it be advisable to separate the guinea pigs from the rabbit?
That’s difficult, if they are bonded then the stress of separating would be detrimental, however you might need to if the guinea pig becomes really ill

HI – how concerned would you be with calcium carbonate crystals in a urine sample – regarding risk of urolithiasis?
Most guinea pig urine contains some calcium deposits, I would monitor carefully and make certain there is sufficient fluid intake. I would also advise against supplementing vitamin C

You said that Neo-mercazole can be crushed but not felimazole, I understood it was the other way round?
No I believe this is the correct way around

What sized probe. ? Phased array??
7-10mhz probe with phased array

Why might ovarian cysts cause a bilateral alocpecia?
Because the alopecia is hormonally stimulated, bilateral symmetrical alopecia is a hallmark of endocrine skin disease

Is there any available data on wave size values for ecgs in gps?
Yes there is, a quick pubmed search should bring you the info: Cieslar et al, Acta Physiol pol: 1986 37(3):139-149.

Do pigs get the porphyrin pigmentation from ffod in Urine that rabbits do?
Yes

Presumably the temperature issue is disregarded post op? And follow the keeping them warm until maintaining a good temp?
I would still be very careful post-op as pigs really do not tolerate increased temperatures well. So close monitoring is required

What dose of pimobendan do you use in guinea pigs?
0.25-0.3mg/kg BID

What is the reccomended daily dose of vitamin C?
Should be available from the diet, supplementation shouldn’t be needed. However an adult pig should get 25mg daily.

Would you treat a case of cystitis with antibiotics in the first instance if owner doesn’t want investigations?
Yes, but also with nsaids

Which antibiotics do you use in gps?
I’m happy to start with enrofloxacin
Can we use our routine T4 snap tests as for cats and dogs??
No, its better to send this sample to the lab.

How much is too much vit c in a diet??
In a healthy guinea pig eating pellets that are properly stored and within date as well as fresh food, then there shouldn’t be an excess, however once owners start supplementing this can become a problem

Just wondering about your thoughts on giving probiotics to pigs being treated with antibiotics? Are any particular brands better?
I always give probiotics, I tend to use avipro by veark and Lacto B

Is urolithiase related to bacterial infeccion in guinea pigs? What is the best antibiotic?
Yes it can be, I usually start with enrofloxacin

Helllo, my nam is vera pisco and i´m assiting from Portugal. One question is, in chronic cystitis can we use products as cystaid (glicosaminoglicans)?
Yes absolutely, its a very good idea especially in chronic cases.

WHAT IS NORMAL T4 LEVEL , WHEN TESTING FOR HYPERTHYROID?
Guinea pigs run slightly lower than cat so anything under 30 is ‘normal’. Sometimes response to treatment is the only way to diagnose hyperthyroidism

Do you always use GA to take blood and what site do you find best?
Yes I do, and I use either the jugular or the anterior vena cava

Which analgesia did you say you like to use for interstitial cystitis?
I use meloxocam +/- buprenorphine or gabapentin

Do you have normal ultra sound measurements for the heart. What does normal look like?
Yes there are normal published values: try www.guinealynx.info

Onto which parts of the guinea pig do you attach ECG leads
Onto each limb as for cats and dogs, we do not use the chest leads

How do you actually put the intra osseous catheter in. Ie just select the spot and push/twist?
Yes pretty much: prepare site surgically, introduce needle/catheter until it engaes in the bone and advance using minimal lateral motion, just twisting and pushing until it pops into the medullary cavity.

Can you please repeat the drugs you would use in case of a thyroid disease?
I tend to start with neomercazole compounded into a liquid for easy dosing.

I have a doubt! What can make appear blood from the rectum?
Diarrhoea, rectal polyps/neoplasia, something sharp within the faeces.

Do you advise replacing a guinea pig when it’s mate dies
It really depends on the individual, and often they like company so it’s a good idea, however if the remaining pig is very old and the owner is committed to providing company and the guinea pig enjoys this then that can be a good solution.

We are now taught that guinea pigs should be bred from about 12 weeks old and before 9 months because their pelvic symphysis fuses afterwards, is this true?
Yes

Is it possible that in Guinea pigs is a diabetes mellitus?
Yes

If needing to assist feed a guinea pig for more than a few days, is it necessary to add extra Vitamin C to the critical care formula? How would you advise doing this?
Yes it would be (although Supreme Recovery Plus has this added already!) I would either use paediatric drops or a portion of one of the soluble tablets you can buy.

Can you use rabbit v-gels in guinea pigs?
Not as yet as far as I’m aware but you could contact the company

What does precocious mean?
Born with hair, able to see and rapidly become independent of the mother.

Recently I had a case of weakness of hind limbs with no obvious history of trauma.( gpig is 1 year old,not using them at all appears to be incontinent but fine otherwise )Could it be anything else than possible spine injury?
The same differentials would apply re a guinea pig as a rabbit, so trauma, spinal shock, blood clot etc, any of these may be difficult to prove. Weakness due to metabolic causes can also present in this manner.

Is the oral dose of buprenorpine solution 1:1 with water 0.1ml per kg or 0.1ml per guinea pig?
I assume most guinea pigs to be approximately 1kg for the purposes of my talk, so yes on both counts!

Hi. Is there a way to determine, if the urolith is small enough to pass through urinary tract without surgery? Thank you!
Females can pass larger uroliths than males, however I would look at the size of the stone in relation to the pelvic size etc however there is no calculation/rule that I am aware of to determine this, its more first principles and common sense.

Do you need to worry about the parathyroids if doing thyroidectomies
Yes, I would certainly try to preserve the parathyroids.

Is there a particular product you prefer for supportative feeding?
I use Supreme Recovery Plus (but then I work for them:) )

How do u flush the food out?
Using a little water from a syringe squirted into the mouth

Do we have to use the spot on due to the cascade first?
Yes

Could u give us a good sedation protocol for guinea pigs?
I use the triple combination (medetomidine 0.06ml/kg, ketamine 0.02ml/kg and butorphanol 0.02ml/kg) these are VERY low doses, I then control the depth using isoflo or sevo, and if necessary I can top up the dose of injectable drugs.

Do we have to reduce the dose of vetergesic that comes in the formulary like with rabbits?
I certainly go for the lower end of the dose range to start, however I think the formulary dose for gpigs is much lower.

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