Saturday, March 25, 2017

Product Review: Supreme Petfood's Science Selective Guinea Pig Food

Hello there, readers. The humans recently went away on travel, and as we discussed in our post on guinea pigs and airplanes, it's usually best not to take your guinea pig with you on flights. Therefore, we were boarded at the vet until they get back, which is a little like going on vacation for us. There's all kinds of exotic sights and sounds to see there. (We honestly don't get why humans like exotic sights and sounds so much. They're a little scary, seeing as how they could indicate predators!)

Anyway, while we were being dropped off, we saw samples of a new guinea pig food called Science Selective, so we decided to make time for a new product review since we knew we'd have plenty of time. We couldn't even wait until we got home to try them, so the humans fed them to us in our travel carriers.

We like how the packaging looks. That doesn't really factor into our rating, though.
I'll try some!
She will too!
It tasted pretty good, although it was a little hard to stay focused on the merits of the product while we're in the midst of such anxiety-provoking change. But there are other considerations besides just taste, of course. We also have to look at the ingredients, which include the following: Alfalfa meal, whole wheat, wheat feed, soybean hulls, soybean meal, flaked peas, linseed, sugar beet pulp, soybean oil, fennel seeds, monocalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, dried dandelion, dried nettle.

Here are some concerns about some of these ingredients:

  • Alfalfa - Appropriate for young and pregnant guinea pigs, but not for general adult use. It has high levels of calcium, which can lead to stones. The product information page does say that it contains "Calcium 0.8%, Phosphorus 0.5%," which means that it falls within the recommended ratio of calcium to phosphorous of 1.5:1 to 2:1. However, even if the ratio seems good, we'd still be concerned about the total amounts of calcium and phosphorous being too high, even if the ratio is good.
  • Beet pulp - "Considered low-quality fiber that can clog the villi of the intestine"
  • Fennel seeds, Soybean oil - Seeds and oils are too high in fat, and often come from seed byproducts with little or no nutritive value
  • Calcium carbonate - As we've previously noted, we're having a tough time reaching a decision on this one. Oxbow uses it, and they use an advisory board of scientists and vets, but some have raised concerns about it anyway.

Unfortunately, due to these ingredient concerns, we're going to have to only give Science Selective Guinea Pig Food 2/5 stars. There are worse foods out there so we won't give it our lowest rating, but you can certainly do better. We're going to stick with our Oxbow pellets!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Lola's trichofolliculoma removal and Deslorelin implant placement surgeries

Well, hello there, readers! We first wanted to let you know that the humans have caught and removed that little furry jerk that's been scampering around at all hours of the night. Good riddance, I say! Finally some peace and quiet.

But wouldn't you know it? As soon as you solve one problem, life throws another one at you. And this new problem is of the medical variety, which I would say in worse than our little home invader. You may remember way back when I was first introduced to the blog almost a year ago (has it really been that long?), I wrote: "I had a small lump on my back, but the vet said it was just a clogged oil gland, similar to a pimple, and that the vitamin C would help with that." That turned out to not really be the case; the lump just got bigger and bigger, which the humans asked about on subsequent vet visits, but they kept saying it was best to leave it alone. Just recently, a new symptom appeared: there was some fur loss near the lump. The humans made another vet appointment for me when they noticed this.
I am not a fan of this.

Diagnosis, please?

After giving me a physical exam, the vet said that I had two issues: trichofolliculoma (a benign follicle tumor), and cystic ovaries ("solid or fluid-filled pockets in or on your ovary"). They diagnosed this by noting crustiness by the nipples, areas of thinning hair (not consistent with mites or other causes), and a lump they could feel on the ovaries. I then had surgery to take care of both issues: removing the lump, and getting a Suprelorin (Deslorelin) implant, which will slowly release hormones into my body. The hope is that this will take care of the hair loss and the cystic ovaries; they said it might even make me feel calmer.

 In the aftermath of the surgery, the humans are now giving me Enrofloxacin (antibiotic), Meloxicam (pain killer), and Cisapride (GI mobility drug). I've also got a shaved patch with stitches on it, so I'm not looking my best at the moment. Hopefully, I'll be back to normal soon, though!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Mice in the house with Guinea Pigs

Earlier this week, the humans were sitting on the couch, watching television, when we overheard one say to the other: "Are the piggies still in their cage?"

"Yes. Why?" The other human asked.

That was the moment the humans realized they had a mouse in the house, and began a minor panic. Humans can be really funny that way. They love us, but they're terrified of another much smaller rodent species?

Anyway, the humans got down all all fours, shining flashlights to confirm what they saw. Once confirmed, they immediately rushed out to Home Depot and bought some non-kill, humane traps to catch it.

Image of the mouse the humans saw not available, but here's a picture of a mouse invading a guinea pig cage from the Happy Cavy blog. (image source)
So what's the big deal about mice? Well, according to the CDC, "Worldwide, rats and mice spread over 35 diseases. These diseases can be spread to humans directly, through handling of rodents, through contact with rodent feces, urine, or saliva, or through rodent bites. Diseases carried by rodents can also be spread to humans indirectly, through ticks, mites or fleas that have fed on an infected rodent." Huh. I guess the humans weren't being so silly after all. Get that jerk out of here, humans!

Here are some things you should know if you have mice invade your happy guinea pig home:
Wish us luck catching the interloper!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Guinea Pig Attractions Around the World: Fortune-Telling Guinea Pig in Bulgaria

It's time for another installment in our guinea pig attractions series! Last year, when we posted about a fortune-telling guinea pig named Ganesh in India, we figured that was a pretty unique attraction. Today, we learned it's not quite as unique as we thought. It turns out that there's another fortune-telling guinea pig in Sofia, Bulgaria:
What does it say? I'm dying to know! (source: The Inconsistent Nomad)
This guinea pig attraction was described by Carla on The Inconsistent Nomad blog. While exploring Sofia, Bulgaria, Carla and her friends came across a man on a street corner with a guinea pig on a newspaper-covered plate:
Andre turned to us to translate.  "He says it's a fortune-telling guinea pig.  We pay him, and the pig tells us our future." Who needs the Nevsky Cathedral when you can get a guinea pig to predict your future?
We paid out the hefty sum of about 25 cents.  The man pulled out a box of of cards wrapped in very thin paper, very similar to that box of cards containing the god-awfully impossible questions in Trivial Pursuit.  He held the box in front of the guinea pig.  The pig leapt onto it and began to rifle through the cards with his front legs.  He suddenly stopped, bit down onto a single card with his teeth, and pulled it out for the man to take.  He unwrapped the divinely inspired/randomly selected card and proudly presented it to us. 
Unfortunately, they'll never know what was in their future, as the card was in Bulgarian. If any of our readers happen to visit Bulgaria, keep an eye out for fortune-telling piggies, and make sure you have a way to actually read the card!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Yu Choy?

Yu choy goes by several alternative names, including: "Green Choy Sum, Choisum, You Cai, Cai Hua, Yai Tsoi, Caisin, Flowering White Cabbage, Mock Pak-Choi or False Pak-Choi." We're going to stick with Yu Choy, which is what Blue Apron calls it. It's popular in China, and is similar to Bok Choy. According to the diet expert at Guineapigcages.com, yu choy is "similar to broccoli and contains high amounts of A and moderate amounts of calcium ... It can... be fed once or twice a week in small portions."

Yu choy is also the latest in a series of new foods we've been able to try, thanks to our human's subscription to Blue Apron. Keep up that cooking thing you guys like to do, humans!
This is yu choy (image source: specialtyproduce.com).

Not bad.

What do you think, Lola?

Not bad.
Before giving our rating, I'd like to provide a disclaimer. The pictures above show way more Yu choy on our plates than we're actually supposed to eat. The humans would have taken it away well before we ate anywhere close to that amount. It makes for better photos if you're actually able to see the food we're eating, but we don't want anyone thinking this is actually the proper amount to feed your guinea pig.

Now, back to our review. Lola got a little bored and wandered off after a minute of munching on Yu choy. I was a bigger fan of it, but eventually got bored as well. It's not a bad food, but it's no carrots. And the health warnings about vitamin A and calcium should also be taken into consideration. We'll give Yu Choy 3/5 stars!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Guinea Pig World Records, Part 2

Last year, we posted about some interesting guinea pig world records, including the oldest guinea pig, the longest jumper, the highest jumper, and the fastest runner. It looks like another guinea pig world record may be on the verge of being set:
This is Ginger. She might be famous soon! (image source: Union Leader)
Ginger is a guinea pig who lives with her human, Briana Drouin, in Hooksett, NH. Just this month, Ginger gave birth to 10 baby piggies at Northside Animal Hospital. While 2 of the 10 were stillborn, the other 8 are alive and thriving so far. Their names are: Bean, Coffee, Ginger Jr., Peanut, Almond, Coco, Chocolate and Brownie Jr. Ginger's human Briana was quite surprised, as she was told to expect about 3 baby guinea pigs.

Briana thinks that Ginger may have broken the world record for the largest litter of guinea pigs. The previous she record she found was 9 baby guinea pigs, set in 1992 in Australia. Guinness is investigating, and it will probably take them a few weeks to verify if this is a new record or not.

If you live close to NH, be aware that Briana will be putting them up for adoption. It could be a chance to take home an adorable piece of guinea pig history!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Guinea Pig Molar Trims and Malocclusion

Broccoli here, everyone. I've got to tell you all about the latest chapter in my ongoing dental problems. The humans recently noticed that when I eat, I would occasionally open my mouth very widely and tilt my head. That, along with a 50 gram weight loss, led them to take me to the veterinarian to get checked out.

Give it to me straight, doc. Will I be able to continue chewing on things normally?

The veterinarian said I needed a molar trim. Guinea pig teeth are constantly growing, and we need to wear them down by eating consistently. If the teeth start getting too long, that makes it harder to eat, which means they get less worn down and grow even longer. It's a nasty cycle that can get worse and worse if left untreated. Fortunately, our cavy savvy humans know that regular weigh ins are the best way to detect problems, and seeing a minor but consistent weight loss made them more vigilant for other issues.

The technical term for overgrown teeth is malocclusion. Guinea Lynx gives the following malocclusion warning signs checklist:
  • Does your guinea pig seem to work at chewing like he has something caught in his mouth that he or she is trying to unstick?
  • Is there exaggerated ear movement when he chews?
  • Is there discharge from the eyes or nose (can indicate an abscess)?
  • Does he seem to chew to one side?
  • Are the front teeth even and lined up?
  • Does he eat at the same rate/speed the other pigs eat at?
  • Can he rip and tear?
  • Can he eat the peel as well as the apple from an apple slice?
  • Does he chew (carrots in particular) and let little pieces drop out of his mouth?
  • Does he pick up a pellet in his mouth and let it drop out again?
  • Does he show great interest in food, yet not eat?
  • Is he steadily losing weight?
  • Is he drooling?
If your guinea pig shows these warning signs, make sure you take them to the vet as soon as possible to get checked out. After my molar trim, I'm back to eating normally, and feeling good!