Skinny Pig Data and T-4 count

User avatar
PinkRufus
Contributor in 2014

Post   » Mon Jul 21, 2008 1:54 am


I'm sorry to hear about Winky too. Do you still have Boots?

User avatar
Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Mon Jul 21, 2008 10:15 am


I'm so sorry, Charybdis.

Charybdis

Post   » Mon Jul 21, 2008 11:39 pm


Boots is our last Skinny.

Santo837

Post   » Sun Aug 17, 2008 7:37 pm


I don't mean to sound stupid - what is a skinny pig? I'm assuming its a breed - if so what does it look like - and i am assuming T4 is blood work right? The same with humans?

And OMG PinkRufus are those Guinea Pigs in your picture!!!?? If so what breed is that - they are SOOOOO frign cute! AHHH! =)

Thanks Guys and Gals

User avatar
PinkRufus
Contributor in 2014

Post   » Mon Aug 18, 2008 5:04 pm


Skinnies are a hairless breed of guinea pig, there is a lot of controversy about them and they need special care:
http://www.guinealynx.info/records/viewtopic.php?t=43

This thread is here to collect information about them (and T4 counts for all pigs), it's not supposed to be a discussion thread.

User avatar
allcreatures

Post   » Fri Oct 10, 2008 1:42 pm


I've got a non-skinny pig with confirmed hyperthyroidism. This is her on the left:

Image

Ms Piggy: Intact female, brown & black, 4-6 yrs old (rescued in 2005 as a 2-3 year old adult). I've always considered her a teddy because her fur is sort of rough and crinkly, but not as much so as some true teddies I've had. It's possible that her thyroid problem gave her fur abnormalities maybe?

Symptoms: high appetite, high water drinking, high activity levels (frequent frantic gnawing at bars), persistent low weight (~600g) despite nearly unlimited pellet intake.

T4: 5.6 ug/dL
T3-A: 143 ng/dL

Two young, healthy animals were also tested as controls:

Skunky (intact female born May 2006)

T4: 1.7 ug/dL
T3-A: < 40 ng/dL

Dozer (neutered male, brother to Skunky, born May 2006)

T4: 2.3 ug/dL
T3-A: < 40 ng/dL

Ms. Piggy has been put on compounded liquid Tapazole twice a day, and has put on nearly 30 grams in the week she's been on it.

User avatar
mmeadow
Supporter 2004-2017

Post   » Fri Oct 10, 2008 3:00 pm


Glad to hear Ms. Piggy is responding to Tapazole. What is her Tapazole dose?

I had an older teddy with hypothyroidism.

pinta

Post   » Sat Oct 11, 2008 5:15 am


The teddy connection to hyperthyroidism is intriguing. Is there some teddy in skinnies(genetic)? The hair skinnies have is teddy-like.

User avatar
mmeadow
Supporter 2004-2017

Post   » Sat Oct 11, 2008 8:49 am


I had an older teddy with hypothyroidism.
Of course I really meant hyperthyroidism.

pinta

Post   » Sat Oct 11, 2008 2:21 pm


That's what I figured.

User avatar
PinkRufus
Contributor in 2014

Post   » Sat Oct 11, 2008 6:38 pm


I have a Teddy mix who has a slow heartbeat. I think trying to sort things out by breed/race is a difficult approach; there are just too many variables to come up with anything useful. That being said, I may have stumbled across something that could help solve your mystery, Pinta. Some inbred strains of the hairless *mice* were in fact hyperthyroid and had accelerated aging. I have not found anything like that in the 'lab skinnies', because they are always bred to be hardy and are mostly used in skin studies. They wouldn't want their 'models' expiring before they can find out which tattoo inks and removal methods worked best. I have been doing a lot of research on the Skinnies and update my page (above link) as I find out/confirm information. Pinta, if you have any questions about my findings, you can email me.

Yes, Teddies are a common out cross for the Skinnies. Skinnies are out crossed to various haired guinea pig breeds (depending on country) routinely. I'm not a breeder, I have been doing this research for the Skinnies regardless of who they may belong to.

pinta

Post   » Sun Oct 12, 2008 7:10 am


I think trying to sort things out by breed/race is a difficult approach

I can see your point but breed really factors into a lot with pigs. When I initially raised alarm bellls about satins and calcium issues, there were a few people who thought I was going out on a limb and jumping to conclusions. Now it is common knowledge that satin pigs are prone to bone density problems.

It was my understanding that skinny lab pigs were bred with poor immune systems for testing drugs etc. (being hairless would make it easier to see if there were skin reactions to drugs). Most skinnies on this board seem to age and die prematurely. Whern my vet has done autopsies on 3.5 year-old skinnies, she has said they looked more like they were in the 7 year range. That said I have one skinny from my original trio left (Gretchen)and she will be 5(fingers crossed) on Dec. 24. But she acts like she is 7.5.

What set her apart from the other two is her markings - if she had hair she'd be black, red and white. The other two who died prematurely would have been PEWs. Does pigment offer extra protection? Her mom(Heart) died early of heart failure and the only thing that separated them was pigment. Gretch is on heart meds and has been all her life. She now does periodic course of prednisone to help with what my vet believes is scarred lungs.

I have a theory that if you mess with the hair the body is affected. Satins, skinnies, teddies - pigs with weird-ass hair(or lack thereof) seem to have a higher percentage of health issues than normal garden variety pigs. So I think sorting things out by breed is a sensible approach. And note it is only an "approach".

User avatar
PinkRufus
Contributor in 2014

Post   » Sun Oct 12, 2008 2:45 pm


I understand the points you're making Pinta, and they do sound logical. I haven't done any research on satins so I will refrain from any comment regarding them. However, with all due respect the 'lab skinnies' were NOT bred to have a poor immune system. I have reliable references to contradict that claim. I have also contacted Charles River Labs (who does not sell to the public) and as a courtesy they have answered some of my questions. They told me that the hairless guinea pig is not significantly different than the haired guinea pig. What you're saying would be considered a significant difference. I have known many healthy Skinnies, just as you have known of sick ones. It would be wrong for me to claim that they are all healthy, just as you cannot claim that they are all sickly.

However, because of this discrepancy in opinion, I have continued with my research to find out anything I can. Especially if it will be helpful to the Skinnies. Unfortunately, I will have to bring up the 'B' word to make my point and I do not like to do that on this board. But, because it directly relates to a health issue, I will. I am not advocating breeding of these or any guinea pigs on this board and I respect the views of the members here. What I found out is that Skinnies NEED to be out crossed to haired carriers to remain healthy. The hairless gene does not affect the guinea pig as strongly as some species and they can go for more generations than some. The breeders that are working to improve health of the Skinny out cross to a haired carrier every other generation. Too many generations of Skinny to Skinny and they will degenerate to what you have described there.

My theory is that many pet shop type breeders are severely limiting or eliminating the use of haired carriers altogether. This practice is self limiting, but at the expense of many pet owners and their Skinnies. I think I am right to assume this based on some of the things I have seen. The pet store breeder who had his stock seized by AC and were rescued by OCCH, had mostly hairless with very few haired carriers (it should have been vice versa). And to compound that, he had them all housed together where inbreeding could take place at random. It's not the breed per se, it's the breeding. I hope this helps to clear some things up. Again, I apologize for posting about this subject here. But maybe it will stop someone who may have been considering breeding them thinking they can be bred Skinny to Skinny indefinitely without cariers, which they cannot.

My fingers are crossed for Gretchen, bless her heart!

pinta

Post   » Sun Oct 12, 2008 3:17 pm


That is interesting about the lab pigs.

I believe my trio were from the OCCH rescue. Gretchen was born at the rescue. Bliss and heart died obscenely early. Though Gretchen is still going she is not as spry as other pigs her age.

Unfortunately the public has no way of knowing if the breeder of their skinny was responsible and they all look great when they are young. The chances that a pet store skinny or even a rescue skinny comes from doubtful stock is extremely high.

From what you say it does appear the inbreeding affects skinnies more than inbreeding affects garden variety pigs, which would mean breed is a factor. Genetically they don't seem able to "ride out the storm" as well as haired pigs. Indications are that weak skinnies are prone to specific problems that weak haired pigs aren't such as Melanoma and possibly hyperthyroidism.

We have another rescue skinny with much more hair than our first group. It will be interesting to see if the same problems befall her that befell the others.

Is there a link you can give for lab pig data? And is there a possibility that other labs have specifically bred skinnies to have lower immune systems. I ask because early on when skinnies first started showing up as pets, the background I had was that labs bred them with low immune systems for drug testing(get them sick fast and then test drugs). The pet store skinnies were derived from the lab skinnies but were bred to be stronger and healthier. I have no concrete data to back this info up and can't even remember what/who the source was. I do believe I first heard this background in '94 or '95. So a lot could have changed since then or mine was misinformation all along.

User avatar
PinkRufus
Contributor in 2014

Post   » Sun Oct 12, 2008 3:27 pm


There are references at the bottom of my page here:
http://www.guinealynx.info/records/viewtopic.php?t=43

If you need more I can give them to you. Regarding melanoma, there haven't been very many. If I'm not mistaken there are the two cases on this thread:
http://www.guinealynx.info/forums/viewtopic.php?t=18671
Plus one of yours with pre melanoma, is that correct?

I have some ideas about it which I do not wish to post publicly at this time. With your permission I will email you with what I have found.

User avatar
mmeadow
Supporter 2004-2017

Post   » Sun Oct 12, 2008 5:47 pm


I have a pair of year-old sisters, a skinny and a teddy from a teddy mother. I also have a year-old male skinny from the group who is probably their first cousin. He too has a teddy mother. They are from an inbred dump, possibly from a founding teddy and skinny pair. The herd is all TSWs and red/white.

In all, I have five of the family, Ledasmom has two, and an non-GL cavy loving friend has another. It will be interesting to observe this group's health issues as they age.

Anyone else think we need a general skinny health and care thread?

User avatar
PinkRufus
Contributor in 2014

Post   » Mon Oct 13, 2008 12:38 pm


mmeadow, if your pigs have medical issues it would be better to start a thread in the medical forum because more of the experts read there; and you can always start your own thread in the chat forum.

User avatar
PinkRufus
Contributor in 2014

Post   » Fri Oct 17, 2008 2:10 pm


Sorry to bring this up again but I feel that I need to clarify something.

Breeding hairless to hairless over multiple generations increases the chance of having a double hairless gene. I think this may also apply to inbreeding since it intensifies what's there.

From what I can gather, the double hairless are smaller, weaker and have a shortened life expectancy. This makes sense to me and would explain why some members of this board have had poor luck with their Skinnies despite their best efforts to care for them properly.

The single hairless gene is harmless.

pinta

Post   » Sat Oct 18, 2008 4:57 am


Yup - Eastman Kodak(checked your links) was the source I knew of for the first skinny pigs and there may have been confusion over the mutant strain. I did some googling and sadly there didn't seem a strong desire to keep the lab pigs alive since many were euthanized and disected to get the testing results. I am curious as to how the life expectancy is decided. Do they let pigs live out their natural lives in labs? Do they live long enough to get age related problems like arthritis and heart disease and if so would that make them useless for testing sklin products? Just musing.

It does make sense that the breed was weakened by irresponsible breeding. Unfortunately there is no way to stop irresponsibility which means the health/hardiness of a skinny pig is really a crap shoot.

Lethals weren't an issue until a breeder came up with dalmation pigs. I remember many years ago seeing them at the fair with an explanation of the breed and dire warnings never to breed dalmation to dalmation or offspring with birth defects would result. And now it appears that gene has gotten out and made lethal pigs commonly known. All it takes(to my limited breed understanding) a pig with a spot of roaning mated to another the same to increase the risks of lethal babies. Irresponsible breeding is like opening Pandora's box.

User avatar
PinkRufus
Contributor in 2014

Post   » Sat Oct 18, 2008 5:52 am


The Kodak strain appeared to be a different phenotype and they died out before long before the Skinny came about. The Skinny has the same mutation as the IAF Hairless that Charles River has. Not all hairless have the same gene code. I can't answer some of your questions about the lab pigs. I hate reading all of those lab reports, it's hard.

Some of the irresponsibility could just be because of lack of knowledge, that's why I feel the need to educate people about their needs. It won't stop all irresponsible breeders but it could help. I want to do everything I can to improve the lives of Skinnies. Having the most accurate information as possible will help.

I have been speaking up in breeder groups about not breeding dals or roans into the Skinnies. I hope they will listen to me. Skinnies already have a mutant gene of their own, why add in more? From what I understand about double mutants, they don't have to have two copies of the same mutant gene to be affected adversly, they can have two different mutant genes. I feel very strongly about it, how would someone know if their Skinny was also a hidden roan or not? And why do they need to have that color, it just looks like blotchy skin.

Is genetic testing available for guinea pigs? Could someone have their Skinny tested to see if there was a double hairless gene? I don't know what good it would do really, except ease their mind if there wasn't!

Post Reply
97 posts