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Study reveals most common guinea pig disorders
Overgrown nails were the most commonly seen condition.
Researchers examined clinical records of over 3,500 guinea pigs.

Overgrown nails, ringworm, and eye ulcers are the most common conditions seen in pet guinea pigs in the UK, a new study has found.

Researchers from the VetCompass research programme at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) analysed anonymised clinical records from a random sample of 3,785 guinea pigs which were under primary veterinary care in the UK in 2019.

The records showed that overgrown nails were by far the most recorded disorder, seen in 26.55 per cent of guinea pigs. The second most common issue, ringworm, affected 6.02 per cent of the animals in the study, and 4.99 per cent had an eye ulcer. Other common health issues included anorexia and abscesses

Males were found to be more likely to have bite injuries, anorexia and dental problems such as overgrown incisors, whereas females were more likely to have eye disorders, such as coreal ulcerations, and abdominal masses

The research also revealed that females lived longer than males, with female guinea pigs having a life expectancy of 4.56 years compared to the males’ 3.74 years.

As several of the most common disorders are linked to sedentary lifestyles, the authors believe that the findings can help veterinary professionals advise guinea pig owners about providing the right conditions and care to keep their pets healthy.

Dan O’Neill, lead author of the study, said: “This study highlights that many of the most common health issues of pet guinea pigs are related to how we keep them as pets in captivity.

“With this new awareness, owners can better understand the world from the guinea pigs' perspective and provide exercise, bedding and nail care to ensure these wonderful creatures enjoy healthier lives.”

The study has been published in the journal PLOS One.

Image © Shutterstock

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Charities' XL bully neutering scheme closes

News Story 1
 A scheme that helped owners of XL bully dogs with the cost of neutering has closed to new applications due to high demand.

The scheme, run by the RSPCA, Blue Cross, and Battersea, has helped 1,800 dogs and their owners after XL bullies were banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

In England and Wales, owners of XL bully dogs which were over one year old on 31 January 2021 have until 30 June 2024 to get their dog neutered. If a dog was between seven months and 12 months old, it must be neutered by 31 December 2024. If it was under seven months old, owners have until 30 June 2025.

More information can be found on the Defra website. 

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News Shorts
Avian flu cattle outbreak spreads to tenth US state

Cattle in two dairy herds in Iowa have tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), making it the tenth state in the USA to be affected by the ongoing outbreak of the disease in cattle.

Since March 2024, more than 80 herds across the USA have been affected by the virus and three dairy workers have tested positive. Authorities have introduced measures to limit the spread of the virus and farmers have been urged to strengthen their biosecurity protocols.

Mike Naig, Iowa secretary of agriculture, said: "Given the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza within dairy cattle in many other states, it is not a surprise that we would have a case given the size of our dairy industry in Iowa.

"While lactating dairy cattle appear to recover with supportive care, we know this destructive virus continues to be deadly for poultry."