Neutering/Spaying your Guinea PigDr. Bobby Ortiz M.V.B
Neutering is a surgical procedure performed to prevent reproduction in both female and male guinea pigs. In males (boars) the testicles are removed, which causes a drop in the level of testosterone. In females (sows), the ovaries and the uterus are removed, preventing your guinea pig from falling pregnant. This is usually performed anywhere between the ages of 4 and 12 months.
Female and males are sexually reproductive by 2 and 3 months of age, respectively. Females are Polyestrus meaning they can have multiple litters a year, and litter sizes range from 1-6 young, with an average of 3.
In this blog post, I’ll explain the benefits of neutering your guinea pig, what to expect from the procedure, and how to care for your guinea pig once you’ve taken them home.
Dr. Bobby Ortiz, M.V.B.
Dr Bobby Ortiz, aka 'Dogtor Bob', is a small animal and exotic veterinarian based in Dublin. He has a strong interest in Small Mammal (rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets) and Reptile medicine and surgery.
He grew up in a family of avid animal lovers, which led him to work as an Aquarist at the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific in California. It was there he decided he wanted to become a vet, and specialise in exotic animals, that needed the same care and medical attention that dogs and cats are given.
He lives with his wife and Brittany Spaniel Bodhi, and has dreams to build a new tropical marine fish tank in the near future!
Neutering Your Male Guinea Pig
Unlike rabbits, neutering your male guinea pig will not reduce aggression or change his personality, nor does it prevent mounting or sexual behaviour. It will, however, prevent unwanted pregnancies, which is important if you have a bow and sow living together. If you have two boars living together, there is no need to neuter them.
Some males also have an active scent gland around the tail area with a noticeable waxy or greasy build-up. Neutering can help reduce this build-up.
Spaying your Female Guinea Pig
Spaying a female can be a riskier procedure as it is more invasive. An incision is made through the abdomen, and the ovaries and uterus is removed. Spaying does have health benefits for the female, such as a reduced risk of ovarian cysts, uterine cancers, mammary tumours, and obesity. Un-spayed females are also at higher risk at developing pyometra, which is a condition that causes the uterus to become filled with pus, and can only be treated surgically.
Your guinea pig will have already been seen by a vet before his appointment. Your vet may do a blood test to check for any hidden health problems, in which case they may wait to castrate until the guinea pig is completely healthy.
Stop feeding your guinea pig one or two hours before surgery. Don’t restrict access to food for too long as it can cause hypoglycaemia and gastrointestinal changes. They also cannot vomit, which is another reason fasting for too long is not necessary.
- After the procedure, your veterinarian will provide you with advice and instructions on caring for your guinea pig.
- Separate your guinea pig from other guinea pigs to allow for healing. Make sure he is in a quiet, comfortable, and stress free environment. Keeping him separated will also provide assurance that the procedure was successful.
- Make sure your guinea pig has plenty of access to food and water, while increasing the daily vitamin C supplement to 50-75 mg, depending on the weight of the guinea pig.
- Monitor the incision site frequently to ensure it has not been accidentally opened. Watch out for swelling and any pus. This could indicate your guinea pig has developed an infection, in which case he should be seen by your vet right away.
- Make sure you wait three to four weeks after surgery before placing your neutered male or spayed female with another guinea pig; regardless of sex. The male will need time needs time for any live sperm to die or work its way out of his system.
Any More Questions?
If you have any concerns regarding your guinea pig’s health, I recommend you consult with your local veterinarian. For more on feeding and caring for your guinea pig, speak to a member of the Petmania team in store today.