07.02.2014

Guinea pig pregnancy facts

All guinea pigs enjoy burrowing down in hay, but do not nest specifically because of pregnancy. Pet shops are notoriously bad for sexing guinea pigs and may have mis-sexed one of your guinea pigs. Pet stores also often house both genders together, and some breeders do not separate the genders early enough so it is possible the sow was already pregnant when you bought her. If your pregnant guinea pig does not meet the age requirements, talk to your vet about a pregnancy plan. This is because sows who are too young are at a greater risk of vitamin deficiencies during pregnancy.
Lethal guinea pigs are white in colour (not albino) are born blind, usually in both eyes, have crooked or deformed teeth, are often also deaf and often suffer from internal deformities particularly to the digestive organs. Pregnant guinea pigs are particularly vulnerable to illness as a result of stress during pregnancy.
Make any changes as early as possible in the pregnancy, when the stress will have less of an effect on the sow. The boar must be removed by 50 days as he may continue to mount her which can be stressful or painful in later pregnancy, and she could become pregnant again as early as 2hours after the birth. Selective feeding is where the guinea pig chooses the tastier bits of food over less tasty – but often more nutritious – foods. Alfalfa hay is great for pregnant, nursing and young guinea pigs but the calcium content is too high for normal guinea pigs as a build-up of calcium can cause bladder stones. Fruits should usually be given sparingly to guinea pigs because the acid can give them mouth ulcers. Pregnancy toxemia and calcium deficiency are most common in the last 7 – 10 days before the birth. Expect that the pups are born alert and ‘ready to run’ as miniature versions of adult guinea pigs. If you are not certain that the pups are weaned at 21 days, the males should be removed anyway to prevent pregnancy. Just because they are the pups of a familiar guinea pig, this does not mean that they will be accepted immediately. Pet stores often keep both genders together, resulting in many people being sold sows which are already pregnant. Remember guinea pigs are social animals and should be kept in groups, so if you own both a boar and a sow make sure to provide company of the same gender for both of them.
As a general rule, guinea pigs do not respond well to anaesthetic so if it is possible, separating the genders is a safer option.
Females can become pregnant immediately after giving birth so make sure that there are no males nearby.[2] Back-to-back pregnancies are nearly always fatal.


The guinea pig may die during or after pregnancy due to complications during pregnancy or birth, or from toxemia after birth. This version of How to Care for a Pregnant Guinea Pig was reviewed by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS on June 17, 2015. Guinea pigs mate early and often, so when kept as pets, they should be separated according to sex. Getting PregnantA female guinea pig goes into estrus three or four times every year, giving her and her mate plenty of opportunities to breed. After BirthingGuinea pig pups eat solid food from birth, but they also get nutrition from their mother. Physical signs of pregnancy are hard to detect, and often only become apparent towards the end of pregnancy. Either, the sow was already pregnant when you purchased her or one of the other guinea pigs she has had contact with was a boar. For young guinea pigs, this may include supplementing her diet with Critical Care of a similar product. If you are not prepared to care for them yourself, a more experienced guinea pig owner may be willing to take them or you may make the decision to have them put down. It's very important to check on your guinea pig several times a day, ideally every 3 - 4 hours. If you have multiple sows, remove the boar immediately to prevent others from becoming pregnant as well. The pregnant sow can be kept with other companions of the same sex if she gets on with them. Ammonia irritates the lungs of pigs and will predispose the pregnant mother to lung infections. All guinea pigs should always have access to clean water, but this is even more important when they are pregnant. All guinea pigs should be given at least one cup of fresh vegetables a day, but as the pregnant sow begins to eat more you can increase this to 1? to 2 cups a day. They become ineffective quickly and may put the sow off the water, leading to dehydration which could be fatal during pregnancy.
Guinea pig pups and new mothers can decline quickly and the only real way to tell is from their weight. Pregnancy in guinea pigs carried as 1 in 5 chance of death, and there is also a high risk of stillbirth. She starts estrus when she's just older than two months, so don't be surprised if a relatively young pet gets pregnant.
The average duration of a pregnancy is 65 days, but it depends on how many pups she is carrying -- her pregnancy will be shorter if she's carrying more pups.


If your guinea pig takes longer than this or shows signs of struggling, she may need immediate veterinary attention, as they sometimes require assistance giving birth. There is a high maternal mortality rate for guinea pigs (about 20%) as they are vulnerable to complications and illnesses such as toxemia. Nevertheless, you may notice your guinea pig begin to eat and drink more, and their belly begin to grow – see How to tell if your Guinea Pig is Pregnant. For older guinea pigs, this may include her carrying out her pregnancy and birth housed at the vets, as she is more likely to need intervention. If your sow was overweight before she became pregnant, discuss with your vet what her diet should be during pregnancy as this is obviously a bad time to restrict her diet. If the sow is long haired, cut all of her hair short towards the end of the pregnancy as the sow will find it harder to clean herself and the hair may become knotted or dirty.
If this is the only sow you own, the boar must be removed before the sow reaches 50 days in her pregnancy. Only use an anti-bacterial spray if it has been specifically made for use on guinea pig housing. In these cases, and only if you are sure the mother will not do it herself, carefully pick up the pup with a clean towel and remove the sac yourself, clearing any fluid from the face. If you would like another guinea pig, your local rescue center will have many pigs in need of caring and loving homes. If your guinea pig does get pregnant, though, the stages of her pregnancy are relatively predictable and consistent, so you always can know what to expect from her and her pups. An average littler is three or four pups, which is enough for a guinea pig to become noticeably bigger during the pregnancy.
Whilst guinea pigs should never be bred intentionally, coming home from the pet store with a guinea pig who is already pregnant is a common story.
There are other hereditary diseases that can affect guinea pigs, so where possible check the parentage of the pregnant sow and the boar who fathered the pups. It is important to keep her active to prevent obesity and keep a healthy blood flow, but do not chase her or force her to exercise as pregnancy, particularly large litters, puts pressure on the circulation in guinea pigs and they are prone to heart attacks.
Make sure hay is freely available at all times, and provide in a large ball the guinea pig can burrow in.
Be mindful of her behavior after birth, as guinea pigs won't hesitate to become pregnant again right away.
However, with the proper care this risk can be significantly reduced and your pregnant guinea pig can be kept in good health.



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