Guinea Pig Handout

Background

The wild cavy or guinea pig occurs in South America from Columbia and Venezuela southward to Brazil and northern Argentina. Guinea pigs inhabit a wide variety of habitat such as rocky regions, savannas, the edge of forests and swamps. In the wild forms the hair is fairly course and long but in the domestic guinea pigs it varies from smooth and short to smooth and long to course and short in some for-ms the hair even radiates in rosettes. Although domestic guinea pigs exhibit an extremely wide range of color, the wild forms are generally gray or brownish. Guinea pigs have stocky bodies, fairly short hind legs, short ears and lack a tail. The hind feet are long with sharp claws. Guinea pigs in the wild are burrowing animals. Sometimes they live in the abandoned burrows of other animals. They generally associate in small groups, usually 5 to 10 individuals, and are always prepared to flee at the slightest indication of danger. They are nocturnal feeders and the diet consists of various forms of vegetation. South American native Indian tribes, particularly the Incas, raised them for food since their flesh is of excellent quality. During the second world war a project conducted by the Navy investigating the palatability and nutritional value of various laboratory species for the human population determined that the Guinea Pig was the most desirable of the common species. The Guinea Pig was introduced into Europe in the 16th Century by 1 the Dutch and their use spread quickly throughout the Continent. They were known by a variety of common names: "Sea Pig," "Barbary Rabbit," or "Little Sea Pig". The name Guinea Pig has become synonymous with of "experimental subject" in the that English language.

The unique characteristics of the Guinea Pig that differ from other experimental animals include the highly developed young at birth due to the long gestation period and the udder type mammary gland. The young at birth are fully developed. Their eyes are open, they are fully haired, and completely mobile. They begin eating solid food at approximately 2 to 3 days of age and can be easily weaned at 10 days. The mammary gland consists of a two section udder, each section with a single teat. Milking machines have been easily developed to utilize this udder for milk secretion research studies. The Guinea Pig is unable to synthesize an adequate supply of vitamin C and therefore must be supplied with either a supplement or a fortified diet.

Handling techniques

Guinea Pigs are probably the easiest of all the common laboratory animals to handle and restrain. They are nervous, high-strung animals compared to other laboratory rodents and are rather noisy. These sounds consist mainly of squealing, whistling, and grunting sounds. To restrain a Guinea Pig, grasp the animal around the thoracic area from above with the thumb and forefinger right behind the front legs and lift. The other hand should be placed under the Guinea Pig's hind quarters for support. Failure to restrain and support the hind quarters may result in injury to the Guinea Pig as well as injuries to the operator from scratching. Guinea Pigs rarely if ever bite. Since they have short legs and heavy bodies they are unable to climb or jump. In some instances they are housed in open-top cages or pens because of this inability to escape. IP injection of the Guinea Pig is accomplished by restraining the animal as indicated above and injecting in one of the lower quadrants of the abdomen. Subcutaneous injection can be accomplished by lifting the loose skin of the back, particularly over the neck and shoulder, and injecting under the fold. The Guinea Pig may be bled by heart puncture, anterior vena cava puncture, or small samples may be obtained from the medical canthus of the eye. Repeated blood sampling utilizing these methods can be accomplished if a suitable period of two or three days between drawings is allowed. In males the lateral vein the penis may be used for IV injections.

Experimental Uses

As the common usage of the term Guinea Pig implies, this species is widely employed as a research animal. The Guinea Pig has been used in antibody production, tumorigenesis, nutrition, genetics, radiation research, and dental studies including antibacterial action of saliva and production. The Guinea Pig is used extensively in laboratory studies of disease, nutrition and heredity, and in, development of sera. The Guinea Pig has been widely employed in biomedical research since 1780. Lavoisier used the cavy for measuring heat production. Much of the work relating to the discovery of Vitamin C, the diagnosis of tuberculosis, and the research on anaphylaxis has been performed in this species.

Strains and Sources

The majority of Guinea Pigs used in this country are random bred Guinea Pigs. Although inbreeding of Guinea Pigs was initiated at the Bureau of Animal Industry facility near Washington, D.C., in 1897, only two inbred strains, 2 and 13, still exist and these are not widely used,. The Guinea Pig, because of its large size and caging requirements, is not as widely used as the other laboratory species but does lend itself as an animal model to many research studies. When selecting a particular inbred or many research studies. When selecting a particular inbred or random bred strain of Guinea Pig for utilization, the availability and source should be closely considered. Because of its limited use, only a small number of breeders supply Guinea Pigs. The investigator is encouraged to investigate fully the suggested commercial sources before utilizing the animals these sources. As the quality of the animal received and supplied may vary greatly from one supplier to another, once a particular strain and supplier is selected they should be utilized throughout the entire study. Strain differences between individual breeders may be considerable. Therefore one supplier should be used if possible.

PHYSIOLOGICAL AND GENERAL DATA

Breeding season no definite season
Estrous cycle 16 ½ days (range of 16 to 19 days)
Estrous duration 6 to 11 hours
Gestation period 63 days (range of 59 to 72)
Birth weight 70 - 100 grams 
Litter size 2 to 5
Weaning weight 150-200 grams (14-21 days)
Male breeding age 3 to 4 months
Female breeding age 2 to 3 months
Adult Male weight 1000 to 1200 grams
Adult female weight 850 to 900 grams
Male reproductive life span 4 years
Female reproductive life span 1.5 to 4 years (4-5 litters)
Body temperature 39.1'C (range of 38.4 to 39.8)
Diploid number 64
Respiration rate 90 per minute
Food consumption 6 grams of feed/100 grams of body weight/day
Water consumption 10 ml/100 grams of body weight/day
GI transit time 13-30 hours
Heart rate 280 (range 260 to 400)

Guinea Pig

Anesthesia/Analgesia Anticholinergic Antiparasitic Euthanasia
Anti-inflammatory Antibiotics Miscellaneous Notes
ANESTHETIC, ANALGESIC Dose Back to Top
ACETAMINOPHEN (TYLENOL) 269 MG/KG IP *7 NONSTEROIDAL ANTI-INFLAMMATORY
ACETHYLSALICYLICATE ACID (ASPIRIN) 269 IP/300 PO/20 SC MG/KG NONSTEROIDAL ANTI-INFLAMMATORY
ACETYLPROMAZINE (ACEPROMAZINE) - DOSAGE 1-2 MG/KG IM TRANQUILIZER-PHENOTHIAZINE
BUPIVACAINE (MARCAINE) AS NEEDED LOCAL ANESTHETIC
BUPRENORPHINE (BUPRENEX) 0.05 MG/KG SC* Q8-12H**/**** NARCOTIC AGONIST-ANTAGONIST V
CHLORAL HYDRATE 5% 200-400 MG/KG IP HYPNOTIC
DIAZAPAM (VALIUM) DOSAGE 2.5 MG/KG IP * TRANQUILIZER - BENZODIAZEPINE IV
DIAZAPAM - DURATION TO EFFECT 1-2 HOURS TRANQUILIZER - BENZODIAZEPINE IV
DIAZAPAM - TIME TO EFFECT 2-5/5 MIN TRANQUILIZER - BENZODIAZEPINE IV
DOXAPRAM -DOPRAM V-DOSAGE 5MG/KG IV*** ANALEPTIC
FENTANYL/DROPERIDOL (INNOVAR-VET)-DOSAGE 0.66-0.88 ML/KG IM * (CAUTION) NEUROLEPTANALGESIC, NARCOTIC/BUTYROPHENONE TRANQUILIZER II
FENTANYL/DROPERDOL - DURATION EFFECT 20-40 MIN NEUROLEPTANALGESIC, NARCOTIC/BUTYROPHENONE TRANQUILIZER II
FENTANYL/DROPERIDOL - TIME TO EFFECT 15/5 MIN NEUROLEPTANALGESIC, NARCOTIC/BUTYROPHENONE TRANQUILIZER II
FENTANYL/DROPERIDOL/DIAZEPAM-DOSE 1 ML/KG IM/2.5 MG/KG IP * NEUROLEPTANALGESIC, NARCOTIC/BUTYROPHENONE TRANQUILIZER,BUTYROPHENONE II
KETAMINE (KETASET, VETALAR) - DOSAGE 50-200 MG/KG IM * DISSOCIATIVE
KETAMINE-ACEPROMAZINE 125/5 MG/KG IM*/** DISSOCIATIVE/TRANQUILIZER
KETAMINE-XYLAZINE (ROMPUN) 40-100 IM/4-5 SC IM MG/KG/ OR 87/13 MG/KG IM* DISSOCIATIVE/ANALGESIC
KETAMINE-DIAZEPAM (VALIUM) 100/5 MG/KG IM*/** DISSOCIATIVE/TRANQUILIZER
MEPERIDINE (DEMEROL) 20 MG/KG IPIMSC Q2-3H NARCOTIC II
METHOHEXITAL (BREVITAL/BREVANE) 31 MG/KG IP ** ULTRA SHORT BARBITUATE IV
MORPHINE 10 MG/KG IM SC * Q2-4H ** NARCOTIC II
PENTAZOCINE (TALWIN-V) 10 MG/KG SC IM IV NON-NARCOTIC ANALGESIC IV
PENTOBARBITAL Na (NEMBUTAL) 35-40 MG/KG IM IP* BARBITUATE SHORT II
PHENCYCLADINE - DOSAGE 3 MG/KG IM TRANQUILIZER
PHENCYCLADINE - DURATION 20-60 MIN TRANQUILIZER
PHENCYCLADINE - TIME EFFECT 5-10 MIN TRANQUILIZER
PHENCYLADINE - TIME FULL RECOVERY 2 HOURS TRANQUILIZER
PHENYLBUTAZONE (BUTAZOLDIN) 150 MG/KG IP *7 NONSTEROIDAL ANTI-INFLAMMATORY
THIAMYLAL (SURITAL) 20-50 MG/KG IV,IP BARBITUATE ULTRASHORT III
THIOPENTAL (PENTOTHAL) 20-55 MG/KG IV IP // 20 IV **** BARBITUATE ULTRASHORT III
XYLAZINE (ROMPUN)- DOSAGE 3-5 MG/KG IM ALPHA-2-ADRENERGIC AGONIST SEDATIVE, ANAGESIC, MUSCLE RELAXANT
ANESTHETIC GAS Dose   Back to Top
HALOTHANE - MAC 0.95 INHALANT
ISOFLURANE - MAC INHALANT
METHOXYFLURANE - MAC 0.22 INHALANT
NITROUS OXIDE-MAC 150 INHALANT
ANTI-INFLAMMATORY Dose Back to Top
DEXAMETHASONE (AZIUM) 0.06 MG SC IM IV IP STEROID
PREDNISONE (METICORTIN) 0.05-0.22 MG SC IM STEROID
ANTIBIOTIC Dose Back to Top
AMOXICILLIN TOXIC** ANTIBIOTIC
AMPICILLIN (POLYFLEX) TOXIC**/*** BETA LACTAM ANTIBIOTIC
BACITRACIN NEVER ANTIBIOTIC
CEPHALORIDINE (LORIDINE) 25 MG/KG IM Q24H**/*** BETA LACTAM ANTIBIOTIC
CHLORAMPHENICOL PALMITATE (CHLOROMYCETIN) 50 MMG/KG PO TID *** BACTERIAL STATIC BROAD SPEC.
CHLORAMPHENICOL SUCCINATE (CHLOROMYCETIN) 20 MG/KG IM Q24H **/*** BACTERIAL STATIC BROAD SPEC.
ERYTHROMYCIN NEVER BACTERIAL
GENTAMICIN (GENTOCIN) 5 MG/KG SC IM SID *** 14D* AMINOGLYCOSIDES
GRISEOFULVIN (FULVICIN U/F) 25 MG/KG PO IN FOOD *** ANTIFUNGAL
NEOMYCIN (BIOSOL) 10 PO/ 30 SC MG/KG Q24H **// OR 5 PO Q12H/30 SC Q24H MG/KG *** DIARRHEA
OXYTETRACYCLINE (LIQUAMYCIN) TOXIC **/*** BACTERIAL STATIC BROAD SPEC.
PENICILLIN NEVER ANITBIOTIC
PENICILLIN - BENZATHIN/PROCAINE(BICILLIN)(FLOCILLIN) BACTERIAL
STREPTOMYCIN (BIOTEC) NEVER BACTERIAL
SULFAMETHAZINE OR SULFAMERAZINE DW 1 MG/ML *** BACT. COCCIDIA,CIT,B
SULFAQUINOXALINE (SULQUIN) DW 1 MG/ML *** EIMERIA,KLOS. PAST.
TETRACYCLINES TOXIC *** BACTERIAL STATIC BROAD SPEC//FROG RED LEG
TRIMETHOPRIM (40MG/ML)/SULPHADOXINE (200MG/ML) (TRIBRISSEN) 0.5ML/KG SC**// OR 30 MG/KG SC Q24H (YOUNG 15 MG/KG SC Q24H)*** TRIMETHOPRIM / SULPHONAMIDE
TYLOSIN 66 MG/L 21D MACROLIDES
ANTICHOLINERGIC Dose Back to Top
ATROPINE - DOSAGE 0.05 MG/KG SC IM**/*** ANTICHOLINERGIC
ATROPINE - DURATION EFFECT 15 MIN ANTICHOLINERGIC
ATROPINE - TIME TO EFFECT 10 MIN ANTICHOLINERGIC
ANTIPARASITIC Dose Back to Top
CARBARYL POWDER (DIRYL) 5 D ECTOPARASITIC
DICHLORVOS (TASK) 500 MG/KG IN FEED/24H ECTOPARASITIC-SYPH, HETER
DICHLORVOS (VOPONA STRIPS) STRIP 48H/WK // OR 1/5 OVER CAGE FOR 3D*** ECTOPARASITIC
FURANACE NEVER BACTERIAL
IVERMECTIN (IVOMEC) 200 MCG/KG PO SC*** ANTI-NEMATODES/ECTOPARASITIC
MEBENDAZOLE (TELMIN) 10 MG/KG PO 5D*** NEMATODIASIS COSMOCE
NICLOSAMIDE (YOMESAN) 100 MG/KG PO*** CESTODES-HYMENOLEPSIS
PIPERAZINE 100 MG/KG PO***//3 MG/ML IN WATER + SYRUP *9 ANTI-NEMATODES-SYPHACIA & HET & PINWORMS
SUCCINYSULFATHIAZOLE 1% IN WATER EIMERIA
THIABENDAZOLE (TBZ; OMIZOLE) 100 MG/KG PO 5D*** ANTI-NEMATODES - OPHIDAS
HORMONE Dose Back to Top
OXYTOCIN 0.2-3 UNITS/KG SC IM *9 UTERINE/MILK HORM.
EUTHANASIA Dose Back to Top
Sodium pentobarbital 150 mg/kg IP Controlled substance
Halothane To effect High Concentration, Rapid flow
Isoflurane To effect High Concentration, Rapid flow
CO2 To effect Requires some other method to ensure death
CO To effect See hazards under euthanasia training
Potassium chloride 1-2 mmol/kg IV IC Requires general anesthesia
Cervical dislocation Unacceptable Too much musculature
Decapitation  Conditionally acceptable Requires scientific justification by user and approval of IACUC, Requires special training and monitoring, Hazard, requires special training for hazard, Equipment has to be maintained. Only on very young.
Chloral hydrate Unacceptable  Not used in Guinea Pigs
Notes Back to Top
*= Anesthesia and Analgesia in Laboratory Animals: American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine: 1990
** = Laboratory Animal Anesthesia: Flecknell: 1989
*** = Drug Dosages for Small Mammals: McKellar: 1989
****= Recognition and Alleviation of Pain and Distress in Laboratory Animals: NRC: 1992
*5= Current Veterinary Therapy 2 Food Animal Practice
*6 = University of Calif., San Fran., Morrish
*7 = Basic Care of Experimental Animals
*8= Therapeutic Guide and Anesthesia, O'Harndley
*9= The Biology and Medicine of Rabbits and Rodents
*10= ???????? Continuing Education Vol. 5, No. 4, April 1992
*11 = USUHS Formulary
*12 = LAB ANIMAL OCT 91 PAGE 34
*13= ANESTHESIA AND ANALGESIC DOSES, SCHAEFFER, KNOXVILLE, TN





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