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Guinea Pigs are singularly free from disease and the breeder has little
to fear along this line. Of course improper food, irregular feeding
hours, poorly ventilated or exposed quarters will often cause trouble
but it is almost an unknown thing for an epidemic to get in a herd and
kill them off. As long as they are fed judiciously and their quarters
are kept sweet and clean and well protected from wind, rain and snow,
you will have little trouble. They are remarkably healthy little animals
but of course will not stand neglect or improper care. Do your share and
you will but seldom lose a Cavy.
This is one of the most common troubles that a Cavy raiser has to
contend with. Too much green food, mouldy and half cured hay and a
sudden change of food is usually the cause. Give them plenty of good
sweet hay and cut out the green food for a while. A small spoon of olive
oil or a little castor oil is good to clean out the bowels.
Caused by not enough green food. This trouble is not apt to occur except
in winter when greens are scarce. Give them apple parings, any green
stuff you can get and a little olive oil. Always try and feed at least
once a day a little green stuff and you will have no trouble.
Females are occasionally lost when giving birth prematurely to little
ones and sometimes the young ones when born are so weak that they do not
live long. This is caused by too frequent littering, by fright, over
fatness or physical weakness. Over crowding in a cold drafty hutch in
severe weather may so weaken the mother that she bears weak ones. Take
especially good care of the pregnant females. Give them the choice food
and the best quarters. Do not let them breed too often or start too
young. Do not allow them to be handled or frightened.
If a Guinea Pig is a good feeder and still does not grow, if he looks
unhealthy and his coat is not glossy he may have worms. Give a half
teaspoonful of any kind of worm medicine such as children use. Feed
lightly and not at all until the medicine has taken effect.
Sometimes in spite of all you can do a Guinea Pig goes light. If the
treatment for worms has no effect it may be tuberculosis. Separate at
once from the others. Give special diet of milk and bread or bran and
oats. If it does not get better destroy it as it does not pay to have
such stock around.
When they have pneumonia there is usually no help for them. Cold, damp
and drafty quarters are usually the cause. About the only thing to do is
to move them to warmer quarters, give warm milk and a few drops of any
good cold remedy that you may have in the house. As an ounce of
prevention is worth a pound of cure you should use every care to see
that they do not catch cold.
Use any good insect powder or any poultry lice killer. Clean out the
hutches or pens and disinfect with any good disinfectant. They are not
often bothered if kept in good condition.
Males sometimes hurt each other in fights. Cleanse the wound with warm
water, remove the hair around it with sharp scissors and apply any good
Running at the Eyes.
This is often caused by a cold. Wash the eyes in a solution of boric
acid that you can get any druggist to put up for you.
Cavies sometimes have dragging of the hind limbs. Some say alfalfa will
cause it, but it is usually from some disorder of the kidneys. Give
about 25 drops of sweet spirits of nitre three times a day and rub the
limbs with a good liniment. Feed carefully for several days and they
will often get over it.
It is much easier to keep Cavies well than to cure a sick one,
therefore, try and prevent trouble. Sick ones should be separated from
the others and placed in comfortable quarters. Feed only choice food.
Keep their quarters clean, sweet and well ventilated. Give them all air
and sun you can and all the room for exercise you can. Feed no mouldy,
wet or half cured hay or grass. Do feed grass that is wet with dew or
rain. Just give your Cavies half a chance and you will find that disease
will bother your Caviary but little.
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