No matter what kind of animal it is, pregnancy is always an exciting event. The advent of a new life, the ability to observe the development of newborns in the first place – all this brings unique emotions. But while pregnancy and childbirth are such a primal and fundamental part of life and nature, these processes pose a serious threat to some animals. A perfect illustration of this fact is the guinea pig – a relatively common domestic animal in Bulgaria.
Female guinea pigs reach sexual maturity at an early age of 4 weeks. Guinea pig pregnancy it lasts between 59 and 73 days – meaning female guinea pigs may not leave a generation until 12-14 weeks after their appearance in the white world. With such a presentation, it would be logical to think that guinea pigs are a real baby machine!
However, the facts are different – pregnancy in guinea pigs is a difficult, risky process that requires special care and attention!
This applies to virtually any pregnancy – no matter what species we’re talking about! Cavia porcellus (guinea pig) is still a special case – see why!
The first condition for the growth of problems is the ability of guinea pigs to conceive at a young age. The fact that the body is sexually mature and can become pregnant does not automatically mean that it is ready to bear and then raise offspring. For many young guinea pigs, pregnancy is extremely difficult!
It is made even worse by the fact that newborn guinea pigs are impressively large – they weigh about 100 grams. For comparison – the normal weight of an adult guinea pig is between 700 and 1,200 grams. Usually, the female gives birth to 2-3 cubs, but sometimes it can be 5-6. Even with the typical number of 2-3 fetuses, the mother’s weight doubles, her internal organs are under pressure, there is a risk of poisoning and poisoning. Hypocalcemia is also observed, and in some cases, prolapse of the uterus.
Pregnancy in this species can be difficult and risky, but its ability to conceive is proverbial – the guinea pig can conceive again 2 hours after giving birth!
Two hours is really the minimum time – sometimes it can take up to 15 hours for a woman to be able to conceive again. In any case, the mother can get pregnant with the new generation before the day of childbirth ends. This is inevitably associated with an increased risk of hypocalcaemia and uterine damage during the new pregnancy.
It’s best not to breed them at all for the health of your guinea pigs – but if you have other plans it would be wise to do so at least between 3 and 12 months of age. Not only early but late pregnancy is dangerous for an animal – although they are relatively long-lived (with a life expectancy of 4-8 years), females over 12 months are already beyond their best form to start a new life.
In order to avoid continuous and uncontrolled reproduction, females over 4 weeks of age should be separated from males. If you still have pregnant guinea pigHere’s what you need to provide:
The expectant mother should receive an adequate amount of high-quality, varied food, in line with the increased energy needs of her body!
Avoid taking a pregnant woman out of her apartment, don’t scare her, it’s best not to disturb her at all and never put pressure on her, especially on her stomach! Basically, a pregnant female can stay in the guinea pig community (if you have one), but be prepared to separate her into a separate cage if you notice aggression in the group!
If there are no complications, you can expect the following after pregnancy:
First week: nothing.
There are no apparent changes in the animal’s physiology and / or behavior during this period.
Second week: nothing + increased water consumption.
In the second week of pregnancy, expectant mothers usually start drinking more water – but drinking more water in itself is not a sign of pregnancy, especially if the temperature is high.
Third week: the animal begins to gain weight.
However, this can only be determined by weighing and comparing – changes are still mild to moderate.
Fourth week: fetuses are felt.
At least from a person who knows what he is doing, how to do it, and where to look. In any case, it is best to write down such procedures on the animal.
Fifth week: a woman’s belly swells.
Toddlers are already tangible to a non-specialist – you can feel them with your fingers even without medical education. And it is still undesirable!
Week six and seven: the belly continues to grow.
The little ones are moving. You can feel them move through your mother’s belly.
Weeks eight and nine: pregnant woman has difficulty moving.
The fetuses are now almost full-size, and that has its expression – movements pregnant female guinea pig are noticeably difficult. However, she is efficient, eats and drinks water normally. In the ninth week, the separation of the pelvic bones begins – the body prepares for childbirth!
Tenth week: birth is coming!
This usually happens during the period when the female is undisturbed – at night or in the absence of humans. The process is fast, the mother cleans and dries each newborn baby and most likely they will all be in top shape when you find this event!
The worst complications in pregnant guinea pigs this is known as pregnancy toxemia. Toxemia is generally the presence of toxic substances in the blood – but when it is caused by processes directly related to pregnancy, such as placental abnormalities, the condition is diagnosed as pregnancy toxicosis, pregnancy toxicosis, or pre-eclampsia.
Fully understanding the process requires at least a short course in obstetrics and gynecology, so we will limit ourselves to listing the signs that there is something wrong with a pregnant guinea pig:
– anorexia is observed in guinea pigs;
– its vitality decreases, it becomes apathetic and lethargic;
– the animal looks unhealthy, the guinea pig’s fur becomes dead and disheveled, hunched position;
– there is sometimes an increase in saliva production.
You can also smell an acetone-like odor in the animal’s breath (ketones – and acetone is the best known ketone) – the toxemia causes ketoacidosis.
Theoretically poisoning guinea pig during pregnancy it is curable but in guinea pigs it can be fatal. Symptoms of ketoacidosis are followed by a sharp deterioration, muscle spasms, and death.
The right time for conception, good living conditions and a balanced menu increase the chances of a trouble-free pregnancy and childbirth!