Department of Veterinary Sciences, Stanford University, USA
Received: 01-Aug-2022, Manuscript No. JVS-22-92321; Editor assigned: 03-Aug-2022, Pre QC No. JVS-22-92321 (PQ); Reviewed: 17-Aug-2022, QC No. JVS-22-92321; Revised: 24-Aug-2022, Manuscript No. JVS-22-92321 (R); Published: 31-Aug-2022, DOI: 10.4172/2581-3897.6.S6.003
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Guinea Pigs are rodents belonging to the family Caviidae and the genus Cavia. Despite their common name, the animals are not pigs nor do they come from Guinea. Male guinea pigs are called boars, female’s sows and babies are called pups. They are originally native to the Andes and while they are no longer extant in the wild, they are closely related to several species which are commonly found in the grassy plains and plateaus of this region. The guinea pig plays an important role in the folk culture of indigenous South Americans, especially as a food source, but also in folk medicine and in community religious ceremonies.
As prey animals, guinea pigs have evolved to hide any signs of illness, as long as possible in order to avoid becoming the main targets of the dangerous predation. This can make it difficult to recognize an illness or ailment. The best way to check for them is to place the cavy carefully on its back and check the belly. Their feet should be clean-looking and not red or irritated; with no broken or extraordinarily long nails. Check their teeth for length and evenness. It is also important to check their eyes and nose, to make sure that there is no mucus or crust there. These are signs of an upper respiratory infection or URI and can be deadly if left untreated. The most common kinds of guinea pig are the short-haired "American" or "Self" breed and the "Abyssinian", which has curly, cow-licked hair. Long-haired guinea pigs are very beautiful pets but they need daily grooming to be healthy, thus making them not usually suitable for children. The hair near the rear of the Guinea Pig must be cut and cleaned on a regular basis or it will get caked with feces and the bedding from the cage. Short hair guinea pigs take less effort in the hygienic and cosmetic categories but still need to be properly cared for. Therefore, the Peruvian guinea pig breed is the most difficult breed to care for due to the long hair. It gets tangled extremely easily and is not recommended for anyone without extensive time to care for the cavy's hair every day. Guinea pigs are active during the day but are actually crepuscular. Guinea pigs are very gentle and even untamed guinea pigs will not bite unless you are causing them pain or they have been abused in the past. Guinea pigs have a poor sense of sight but well-developed senses of hearing and smell. Vocalization is the primary means of communication between members of the species. While some older guinea pig resources may say that housing them outdoors is acceptable, this is simply not the case. Wind can blow a hutch over easily it is also the perfect place for molds to grow. Spiders and insects may bite guinea pigs left outside. There is also no guarantee that temperatures will be acceptable for your guinea pigs to live in. It is also very hard to notice signs of disease in guinea pigs if they are constantly out of sight and out of mind. Even indoors, sudden drafts or radical shifts in temperature may adversely affect the health of your guinea pig. Outdoors, guinea pigs may still be subject to predators such as raccoons, opossums, birds of prey and cats. Even a guinea pig physically protected from a predator may suffer from the ill effects of stress from the presence of a predator. Guinea pigs in the Andean region of South America are often kept outside on roofs or in milk crates. But these are livestock, not pets. A pet guinea pig is a member of your family and will benefit from the most interaction available. Being inside your home will make it easier and more appealing to care for and play with your guinea pig. Additionally, most secure hutches are designed for rabbits and as such have mostly wood or wire floors that are unsuitable for guinea pigs. These wire floors are extremely painful for rabbits and cavies alike and will damage their delicate feet.