Issues with Ache Reduction in Guinea Pigs
A dialog between The Guinea Pig Vet, Ellie Whitehead and visitor blogger Sue Tate, Founding father of Cavy Nook – Guinea Pig Sanctuary
It has lengthy been my feeling that the supply of ache aid for guinea pigs is one thing we may do higher. That is one thing that was just lately compounded by a dialog I had with my good friend, Sue, at Cavy Nook. On this weblog I wish to spotlight the issues that exist in offering ample ache aid but additionally enhance consciousness of the choices which might be accessible.
Using ache aid, or analgesia, is broadly talking primarily based on two issues; an acknowledgement of the existence of ache (in addition to the diploma of ache) and a information of the attainable analgesic brokers accessible. Since guinea pigs are prey species they’re superb at hiding indicators of sickness and ache. Nonetheless, cautious monitoring of a guinea pigs posture, behaviour and vocalisations may be noticed as indicators of ache. These observations are finest achieved in a hands-off means, from a distance, or utilising CCTV. A instrument to make the dedication of the diploma of ache extra goal relatively than subjective has been utilized in human, canine and cat
drugs for a while.
These instruments are referred to as ache scales, they offer a quantity to the severity of ache noticed primarily based on a set of standards, such that two totally different individuals observing the identical affected person will reliably award the identical rating. Extra just lately a ache scale, often known as the grimace scale, was developed for rabbits after which rats and mice. The grimace scale makes use of modifications in ear place and facial features to indicate diploma of ache. Sadly a verified ache scale for guinea pigs doesn’t but exist. This
makes the primary job, acknowledging the existence and diploma of ache, tougher.
Analgesics accessible for guinea pigs are, on the floor, very restricted. There is just one ache aid treatment that has obtained a license to be used in guinea pigs. Veterinary surgeons are required to prescribe medicines beneath what is named the prescribing cascade. This requires you to prescribe a medicine that has a license for that use, in that species on the licensed dose
first; until there is no such thing as a such treatment accessible, or there’s an evidenced cause to not. Within the majority of circumstances ache aid for guinea pigs must be prescribed ‘off license’ beneath the cascade.
The selection of which ache aid to make use of and at what dose ought to be proof primarily based. The place this proof doesn’t exist (as is usually the case with guinea pigs) the choice could also be primarily based on extrapolation of data from different species and private expertise. It ought to be famous that drug absorption in hindgut fermenters, comparable to guinea pigs, differs considerably from different species.
Oral analgesic choices:
For my part non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAID’s) are the mainstay of ache aid on this species, in each oral and injectable kinds. Analysis revealed by Ghent College entitled ‘Pharmacokinetics and absolute oral bioavailability of meloxicam in guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus)’ suggests using doses as much as 1.5mg/kg body weight twice each day for increased ranges of ache. In my
expertise, doses of this stage produce observably higher ends in controlling ache than the licensed dose for this drug. Different choices embrace gabapentin and tramadol.
Injectable ache aid that your vet might use embrace meloxicam (as mentioned above) and opioids (this class contains medicine referred to as buprenorphine, methadone, morphine, fentanyl and butorphanol).
If surgical procedure is being carried out by your vet then nerve blocks and splash blocks may be utilised to scale back post-operative ache.
Ideas from Sue at Cavy Nook:
As Ellie states the results of inadequate ache aid are severe and far too widespread. Being in ache can result in a spread of recent problems arising or exacerbate the unique difficulty; for instance a Guinea receiving dental remedy who has inadequate ache aid could also be extra reluctant to aim to eat independently. Following surgical procedure Guineas might pull out their very own stitches or chew at a wound, presumably even negating the good thing about the unique process. Situations of Guineas being despatched dwelling after surgical procedure with none analgesia are widespread, as are doses that are too small or spaced too far aside to be efficient. In his webinars, eminent Vet John Chitty BVetMed, CertZooMed CBiol, MSB, MRCVS makes reference to the necessity for ample analgesia and the truth that Vets can use their medical judgement in a person state of affairs to prescribe off -license. As an proprietor search out Vets who’re serious about Guinea Pigs and prepared to take heed to your issues.
House owners know their very own Guinea finest so be taught to acknowledge the ache indicator indicators so to precisely report the info to your Vet. Caring for a Guinea Pig with un-managed ache is a distressing state of affairs for each Guinea and proprietor and sometimes entails a number of medical visits, ( as house owners attempt to supply assist) extra stress on an already sick Guinea and additional expense.
The sheer variety of Guinea Pig Rescues inside the UK demonstrates what a well-liked animal they’re, and that they deserve good primary care. I significantly respect the Veterinary occupation, their coaching and abilities however extra must be achieved to fulfill the essential wants of the Guinea Pig.
In abstract good remark of your guinea pig and their behaviour will help you decide up on indicators of ache and the severity of that ache. It is crucial that this ache is then managed appropriately. A guinea pig that’s nonetheless in ache might not eat, or transfer, might develop intestine stasis or illeus and in excessive circumstances they could self mutilate. Most significantly a guinea pig nonetheless in ache just isn’t receiving the extent of care they deserve.