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Vets bills for guinea pigs and other questions.

(6 Posts)
curlytoes Sun 21-Aug-11 21:09:39

I am thinking of getting guinea pigs and wondered what would be a sensible ammount to put aside in case they get ill or injured. If you have guinea pigs what kind of vets bills have you had?

Also my son is three and loves animals. Do you think he'd be too young to hold a guinea pig - supervised obviously?

I also have a daughter who is 16months who I am imagining I will just have to keep away from the pigs for their safety. Do you think I am mad to get the pets now? Does anyone else have guinea pigs and young kids? Would it be better to wait a year?

ragged Mon 22-Aug-11 16:14:37

Guinea pigs aren't fighters, if they get any problem they'll likely give up quickly; don't take surgery well either. I would not expect to budget much. To give you a feel, it's 26-30 quid around here to talk to a vet for 10 minutes, with Baytril antiBs another 3-6 quid. So you could budget for 1-2 vet visits/doses of Baytril per year, and I doubt you'll need more.

Your DD would get more out of GPs at an older age (2-3 yrs from now), that's true of any pet, I imagine. She could stroke one fine, she needn't be kept away completely, but problem you'll find is making sure the cage & run are secure & neither of the children can open on their own. My 3yo can hold our GPs with a little supervision, but sometimes the GPs scratch so he's not that keen any more.

curlytoes Mon 22-Aug-11 20:44:52

Thanks for the info. It's good news about the vets bills. I'm still a bit undecided whether to wait a while before getting some guinea pigs but I'm finding out lots which should be handy either way.

PonceyMcPonce Mon 22-Aug-11 20:50:48

Our piggies have died en route when poorly, or rather injured.
Treating mites is expensive at vets but you can buy treatment OTC.

Much sturdier than rabbits.

DoesItWearingWellies Thu 25-Aug-11 02:04:58

My DD spent about £50 buying her 5 guineas (2 this time last year and the other 3 just before xmas) and has spent in excess of £400 in vets bills already.

The older 2 were having some massive fights and she decided to get the aggressive one castrated (at a cost of nearly £200) when he drew blood, including splitting his brother's lip in 2 places (luckily his brother avoided stitches).

One of the younger 3 was having trouble eating and lost a lot of weight - it turned out his teeth hadn't been meeting properly so had sharp burrs on them, causing blisters and ulcers on his tongue and cheeks so needed an operation to file his teeth down and will most likely have to have this procedure many more times, at £150 a time.

The same lil guy has also broken his leg - the vet was good and said there was no point in a £100 x-ray as the treatment would be no different. He has had to have daily painkillers (Metacam at about £10 for 6 weeks worth, plus a £40 consultation fee). Luckily his leg seems to be healing otherwise he'd need a £200 operation to remove the head of his femur.

This, plus antibiotics for 2 upper respiratory infections, another leg injury, an ulcerated eye and mange hmm has made them very expensive little furries!

You should also be aware that they can live for up to 8 years (one of our first ever guineas died at the grand old age of 7 years and 4 months) so are a longer commitment than other small furries.

Don't forget the cost of food, bedding (esp. as wood shavings shouldn't be used) and hay. Just lately DD has said she thinks it'll be cheaper in the long run for her to buy an acre of land to use as a hay meadow than keep buying the hay to meet their insatiable appetites! Even with spending 8hrs on grass during the day when the weather is nice (we purposefully keep the grass in back garden longer so guineas have more to eat), the second they are brought in at night they go straight for the hay and food bowls.

We have had guinea pigs before from when youngest (DD2) was about 7 but couldn't be trusted to help with cleaning out/feeding etc. I'm not sure if I'd trust a 3 year old to not accidentally hurt a guinea pig, but with careful supervision, I'm sure guinea would be fine. You also need to bear in mind that they can be wriggly, fast little critters and can be easily dropped if not careful. I agree with ragged that your DD would enjoy them more when she's older.

They also need a LOT of room to live in - the indoor cages sold in pet shops usually aren't even big enough for 1 guinea pig, let alone 2, and they really should be kept in pairs. It's also better that they are kept indoors where they can interact with the family, but not really in a kitchen because of the temperature fluctuations, or in a child's bedroom as they really should be a family pet IYSWIM.

This website gives guidelines on what should really be the minimum size requirements for guinea pig housing.

Sorry for the super long post, I just wanted to give you as much information as possible.

curlytoes Sat 27-Aug-11 18:54:42

Thanks for the info. I'm glad your piggies are doing ok now Doesitwearingwellies.

We are thinking we will get guinea pigs. We've cleared a space for them in our study/ utility room We're going to make a cage that will be approx 10 sq ft using wire cubes and correx as on www.cavycages.com/ We're thinking this will be big enough for 2 guinea pigs.

We're now wondering about making them timber houses for their cage. What kinds of wood are safe to use and what size should they be roughly?

Any other tips at this stage?

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