Archive for November, 2009


“Certificate of meritorious service presented to Chrissie Slade by the Council in recognition of many years loyal service to the Society.”

These were the words on the framed certificate received by my wonderful home visitor this weekend, along with an RSPCA pin brooch.

Chrissie joined ‘the team’ in 2002 as a home visitor and was also responsible for the original website. All that aside Chrissie has adopted more guineas from me than anyone else. Chrissie adopts the older guineas, Mr Happy being the oldest- adopted at 5 years old. Over the seven years Chrissie has adopted well over 10 guinea pigs from me including 3 pairs of boars, the famous Florence who left us aged 9 after spending 6 years as a Gorgeous Guinea and Marvellous Marbles (also one of the pairs of boars), whose bladder issues are well documented and often used as an example for helping other guineas in similar situations.

Chrissie has also been there for the real emergencies when I’ve been full, one of whom was the Gorgeous Eclipse who was about to be put to sleep because of his ‘skin condition’ (but that’s another story!).

A home visitor that thinks along exactly the same lines as me is of prime importance, if we’re not thinking along the same lines and do not have the same ideals then it’s not a team that will work effectively for me. So a ‘thank you’ from me too, and all the guineas we have rehomed over the years 🙂
Karen (who thinks that words are not enough but some things need to be said 🙂 )

Eclipse, who spent his first wheeks with Chrissie who also treated his skin condition along with Jenny at Active Vetcare.


What’s my medicine?

The responsibility of what medical treatment your guinea pig receives is in your hands, ultimately; it is you that decides on who will treat your guineas and this is likely to affect the eventual outcome. However, one would hope that  your vet can guide you in this treatment with the benefit of their knowledge and, if you are fortunate, their good experience.

Information is much more accessible now, both to the veterinary proffession and to the general public. This, however, does not prevent mistakes. In the last 2 weeks RGPR have been aware of 2 vets prescribing Penicillin to guinea pigs- something they CANNOT tolerate! The problem is that the drug is not ‘called’ Penicillin which, unintentionally, disguises the active ingredient to those who might know that it should not be given. Generally speaking anything ending in ‘cillin’ or ‘mycin’ must be investigated further for the active ingredient. Unless all other options have been tried and the situation is a do or die one giving Penicillin is not wise!

The instances that RGPR are aware of were not ‘do or die’ ones and alternatives had not been tried. Never be afraid to ask your vet what’s really in the medicine, better still ask if it contains Penicillin. At the end of the day it’s your Guinea’s life in your hands…

See NOAH for more information, but feedback should be to your vet.

All by myself, (The Early Days)

don’t wanna live all by myself, anymore…

Violet’s Human contacted me when a sow she had taken in from a friend wasn’t reponding to being rehablitated and bonded with other guinea pigs. Previously Violet had lived with a sow where there had been much animosity and the situation escalated so much it got to point where the Human handed over Violet over to a friend who also had guineas.  The intention was to rehabilitate Violet and then rehome her. However after weeks of trying to bond Violet with several groups her new Human contacted me and asked for help, unfortunately it isn’t as black and white as just giving advice so I offered to take Violet in long term and, after working through her issues, to find her a new home.

Violet spent 7 days on her own in C+C caging next to my group (who have no issues and are a laid back bunch).

She had minimal handling from me, only a checkover daily, no cuddling etc. She’s also had a Melt and shampoo. That way she could adjust to the surroundings with nothing else to bother her.

She spent much of her time from day 2 onwards just stood up on the base of the cage watching the other guineas eat and sleep etc. They came over to have a look at her on day one but by day 2 they left her alone.

She had some time outside, I put a small run inside the big one so she was still with the group but couldn’t get with them. She moved ‘with’ them, as they moved up the run so did she, she seemed to follow one sow in particular. I put the others away and left Hope in the big run and opened the door of  Violet’s run, Hope went in and had a nosey and then hopped out again with Violet following her. They had about 5 minutes together (Violet doing lots of sniffing!) then I put them back in their pens (Violet on her own).

On SundayI took one of the C+C grids out, when Violet noticed it was gone she hopped over the plastic base and into the next pen. Rather sheepishly she had a look round. No one took any notice of her.
There was some ‘handbags at dawn’ with one of the rescue sows that is in there, (she also has problems socialising, or did, but has come on leaps and bounds), after a while they settled and went their seperate ways. When it had quietened down and they’d sorted their differences (no blood:) ) I took the other rescue sow out for a while. When I put her back she wasn’t interested in Violet. I was in the shed all afternoon so could keep an eye on them but there were no problems 🙂 Violet stayed with the group that night, and is still with them. She hasn’t made any friends yet, really, though my boar seems to like her.

I’ll leave her there for a while until she starts to come out of herself then try her with other rescue pigs, that will be  the true test!  I can see her fear, and that needs to go.

Strictly Guinea Pigs!

Getting compliments for the amount of help and useful information we give out when we rehome guinea pigs is always flattering, but when someone tells you that they only want RGPR to rehome their guineas and they’re happy to wait until there’s room in the rescue for them, it has to be the ultimate of all compliments.

There are many people who care desperately what happens to their guineas when they go into rescue and on many occasion I’ve been told that RGPR were ‘chosen’ because we are a guinea pig specific rescue. Whilst I could bluff my way through a few other animals I don’t believe that’s good enough for them and stick to what I know.

Recently I was referred to as having ‘strict rehoming policies’ by a couple wishing to find somewhere that would take their beloved guinea pigs. They viewed this as a positive feature of rescue, also the fact that we only rescued and rehomed guinea pigs.

I feel ‘strict’ is perhaps a little too harsh a word to use, more like firm but fair- firm with the Humans to achieve a fair placement for the guinea pigs in our care. Whilst we can’t map out the rest of their life for them and retain control over everything that happens to them we can arm their new Humans with information, get them off to a good start by ensuring the home meets the 5 Freedoms as outlined by the Animal Welfare Act 2007; and continue to keep the Humans up to date with information by inviting them to subscribe to our newsletter and come along to our Piggy PMs 🙂


Clover arrived at RGPR in late 2002 looking nothing like she does in the pigture! She was one of the first ever guinea pigs to trial Gorgeous Guineas shampoos, when veterinary treatments had failed.

Hormonally Yours…

This month we have 3 sows with Cystic Ovaries, each presenting with different ‘symptoms’. Sandy has the classic bilateral hairloss, hopefully we will see some fuzz growing back soon 🙂 Sandy has no dominance issues with the other guineas she lives with but does have crusty nipples- another sign of ovarian cysts/hormonal issues, but certainly not present on all cases.

Little Miss Lucky has hairloss in patches all over her body as well as the usual bilateral hairloss. She has been treated for mites and fungal problems but when this didn’t have any effect she had a course of Chorulon injections on day one and day ten. This ‘symptom’ is also seen in dogs and in very rare cases they do not regain their hair. Since the injections the irritation to her skin that Miss Lucky was experiencing has ceased. In Humans there is often discomfort with Cystic Ovaries, it is possible they were irritating Little Miss Lucky. Little Miss Lucky has had behavioural issues in the past, possibly due to cysts, possibly not…

Fern has no hairloss, but the day after she arrived on Planet Guinea she was having heavy blood loss. She immediately went to see Jenny at Active Vetcare, Tilehurst, who felt a cyst in one of her Ovaries. She was prescribed Baytril @ 0.4ml x2 daily and given a Chorulon injection with another to follow in 10 days. The bleeding has now stopped. The most suprising thing  with Fern was how ‘normal’ she was whilst losing huge amounts of blood! She continued to eat and drink as normal and was happy with her friends- no dominance issues that are sometimes associated with hormonal problems.

These girls go to show that there is no obvious one sign and it was simply by handling Fern that her bloodloss was noticed, had she been left because all seemed well it could have been a different story.postmelt

Sandy, who also had mites (note hairloss around face and general ‘broken’ hair), has bilateral hairloss.