Do guinea pigs sweat?

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Post   » Fri Feb 15, 2002 1:51 pm

I´ve run across a few sites that state guinea pigs have no sweat glands, this being the reason they are so susceptible to heatstroke.

One of those subscribing to this theory is Vedra S.S. of the Cambridge Cavy Trust. All these sites use similar wording and I think they must all have used the same source. I can´t find the source though.

However, other sites, including one dealing with laboratory guinea pigs make reference to substances excreted through sweat glands. A few mammals don´t have functioning sweat glands, including the naked mole rat. Some, such as dogs, have sweat glands only on the soles of their feet and have developed other methods of regulating heat, such as panting.

This interests me. What do we think about this?

Has anyone noticed their pig sweating? I can´t say I have, even in the summer heat.


Post   » Fri Feb 15, 2002 2:17 pm

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Post   » Fri Feb 15, 2002 2:18 pm

I noticed Snowflake quite damp after her surgery when I got her home. She was under alot of stress and I am convinced she was sweating. Her ears seemed sweaty too.

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Post   » Fri Feb 15, 2002 9:21 pm

The first week I had Alfie and Oscar, I had them in a metal cage. One warm day I came home and found both of them very damp. Moved them out of the metal immediately, but I do think they were sweating.

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Post   » Fri Feb 15, 2002 10:12 pm

I hate to bring in this subject, but after my friend´s guinea pig died from heat stroke, he was rather damp.

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Thanks for the Memories

Post   » Mon Feb 18, 2002 9:58 am

I was thinking of that, too.


Post   » Mon Feb 18, 2002 7:33 pm

I´m still searching for information. I remember the Hardesty site from when I needed pictures of the digestive system. Unfortunately nothing relevant this time.

I´ve never seen a pig with heat stroke, thankfully, but I´ve read they drool and slobber a lot. Perhaps that caused the dampness, I don´t know. I´m determined to get a definitive answer on this though!


Post   » Wed Feb 20, 2002 3:32 pm

I´ve read everything I could find relating to this subject and this what I´ve discovered:

The only place guinea pigs sweat is on the soles of their feet, nowhere else.

Guinea pigs, along with most other mammals, do not have widespread eccrine sweat glands like humans do.

The eccrine sweat glands produce the thin, watery secretion which aids the human body in maintaining a constant temperature. In most mammals, with a few notable exceptions e.g. the naked mole rat, the eccrine glands are found only on the of the soles of the feet and palms of the hands, where the secretions aid in friction rather than regulating body heat. Pigs (hogs, not guinea pigs) also have eccrine glands in the hairless skin of their snouts.

All references I have found to the use of rodents in laboratory experiments relating to eccrine glands make use of the skin from the soles of the footpads.

Guinea pigs use several methods to regulate their body temperature:

They seek shade to cool off or huddle with others to keep warm.

They shiver and fluff up their fur to keep warm, as well as burning brown fat deposits.

Their bodies respond to heat by increasing the blood supply to the skin, where it is cooled by the surrounding air (particularly in hairless, thin areas like the ears). In pink skinned animals you can see the skin of the ears reddening as the blood supply increases. Other rodents use the naked areas of their tails in the same way. Being tailless, the guinea pig is at a disadvantage and therefore particularly susceptible to heatstroke when the temperature of the surrounding air rises above it´s body temperature.

Correspondingly when in a cold environment, the supply of blood to the skin is reduced, thus conserving body heat.

So, there you have it folks. Keep those pigs in a comfortable temperature, around 65 - 75deg F is ideal.

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Post   » Wed Feb 20, 2002 5:30 pm

At least out of heat. I think they conserve heat better than they are able to cool themselves.

But I still could swear Snowflake seemed sweaty. I´ll have to ask the doc if she was spritzed before being handed over to me.


Post   » Wed Feb 20, 2002 7:27 pm

You´re probably right Lynx, mine certainly have a lot of body fat to insulate them from the cold!

Maybe your vet sponged Snowflake down prior to pick up? I expect they get a bit messy during surgery and need a clean up. I recall waking up with yellow stains all over me!
Last edited by pigpal on Wed Feb 20, 2002 7:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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