Citizen Science! One day we'll know more about guinea pigs

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Mon Jul 04, 2016 10:34 am


" In truth ... the history of science is rooted in research carried out by independent devotees, driven by resourcefulness, passion and curiosity."

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/jul/03/citizen-scie ... eur-research

This interesting article with several examples, says to me that one day, with the interest of pet owners and availability of detailed information, we may know more about things like managing/preventing bladder stones in guinea pigs (in my opinion, one of the worst problems).

I hope genetic info can be gathered along with detailed dietary and care advice (amount of exercise :-) to put together better guidelines for promoting our pets' health.

Talishan
You can quote me

Post   » Tue Jul 05, 2016 4:40 am


I saw that and immediately thought of our pigs.

GL is invaluable in this regard. All our empirical experience, research records, observations, findings and results to date are right here, in one place, and categorized.

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pigjes
Cavy Comic

Post   » Tue Jul 05, 2016 6:53 am


I have a Neuro who wants me to send new info I can find, which isn't all over the media. It's a rare change from all the other specialists I met, who always sneer at me when I referred to some study that I read online. I then reply that the internet saved my life, and that not all people are hypochondriacs looking for a new illness to complain about, but that people like me need the internet for vital info as no specialist is able to help. You then should see the look on their faces.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Tue Jul 05, 2016 7:14 am


I was thinking of you, pigjes, when I posted this. You are so smart and focused. I hope for not only saving your life but one day improving the quality of your life beyond your imagination.

GL is not very organized though. We would need much better organization to be able to examine diet and stones, for example.

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pigjes
Cavy Comic

Post   » Tue Jul 05, 2016 10:01 am


If I can help, lemme know. I have a background in chemistry, quality management and IT, should be able to be of some use.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Tue Jul 05, 2016 8:12 pm


The only thing I can think of at the moment is starting to set up a record system. It perhaps could primatively be a collection of flat files in the Records forum with a tag introducing a variable that could be used to format some of the info into elements for a table. Because things change over time (diet changes some, variables in the amount of a potentially helpful herb like shilintong, etc.) it would be imperfect. But a in another thread in this forum about throwing all kinds of things at alzheimers, perhaps throwing enough at guinea pigs to control stones would help.

The eventual affordability of genetic testing might help isolate those pigs that did not respond to any dietary changes.

Talishan
You can quote me

Post   » Wed Jul 06, 2016 3:17 am


You both rock. :-)

Pigjes -- I can indeed imagine the looks on their faces. With delight.

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pigjes
Cavy Comic

Post   » Wed Jul 06, 2016 5:11 am


Lynx, can you give an example? Does't have to work with links, just to have an idea.

Thanks both. I never took no for an answer, unless I had to. It saved my life more than once.

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JaneDoe

Post   » Wed Jul 06, 2016 5:23 am


Piggy dental disease is another one. With Puzzle it was apparently hereditary. I hope they can find help for that, too.

One of the first vets we ever went to was fresh out of vet school. I gave him permission to try new stuff (at least what was new to him). He is now one of the finest exotics vets in Virginia, if not the whole region/country. It's amazing how veterinary medicine has progressed in the 13 years since I got Lightning yet also how some things haven't changed :(

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Wheekers3

Post   » Wed Jul 06, 2016 10:45 am


Pigjes, I need to copy that quote of yours. Excellent.

I agree with the article saying we're becoming "didacs" Any info, right or wrong is at our fingers. I too know in my heart and head G.L. haas helped tons of guinea. pigs and their owners. I came for info, and stayed because of the people.

Do we have a documents thread? Or threads?

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Wed Jul 06, 2016 4:04 pm


"Lynx, can you give an example? Does't have to work with links, just to have an idea."

It's the choosing and setting up of a records system that would include many variables and perhaps data time points that would allow examination of an illness taking into account multiple factors.

I don't know enough to suggest a format. Have several things going on right now so can't really concentrate on it. I may be able to come up with something primative from which it could be vastly improved. A medical history that could offer visual representation of some changes over time.

We would be limited by testing and the ability to know (without it) if changes we make (in diet, in herbs, etc.) are making a difference.

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Wed Jul 06, 2016 4:24 pm


I don't want to throw cold water on this idea, but I have some reservations.

To do adequate data collection and reporting, you need controls on the data. I don't think we have, or can get, anything resembling that. Never mind that we only have anecdotal evidence about what may[/may] or may not have worked, we have NO clue about the genetics of the guinea pigs involved, and no way to get it.

We've got no controls on the diets, and even if we could institute some, we don't know anything about the combinations of foods and how they affect each other. One example: we all know that high calcium foods can be a problem. But I know one 7.5 year old pig that has been fed several sprigs of parsley per day plus many other herbs, has been on Oxbow pellets with their relatively high calcium content all his life, doesn't drink water at all, and has had not one sign of stone in all that time. Another example (actually many): we've seen many pigs develop stones even on a very low calcium diet, sometimes within days of surgical removal of stones.

There's no way to reconcile the physiology of the pigs to explain that, and no way to sort out any of the other factors that may have applied.

The only way we could get good data that would result in possible improvements is by having hundreds of guinea pigs bred for specific traits that are suspected to apply, carefully control their diets/water/medications/etc., and monitor them over several generations. While that's about the mildest form of animal testing you can get, it would still be an issue for many on this board, I suspect.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Wed Jul 06, 2016 9:00 pm


Good points. It would also be very difficult to decide how to record data (even if imperfect) in a useful way.

My first post, I hoped that getting genetic information would be easier so this could be incorporated into any analysis.

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pigjes
Cavy Comic

Post   » Thu Jul 07, 2016 3:17 am


I witnessed several issues with pig "data" as well, first hand. I often get asked for help, but when my opinion is countered by the vet and they refuse to believe me, the pig then dies anyway, then that data has no value. I have seen far too many mistakes made about ovarian cysts, meds, heart and skin issues, close up. I even lost a few friendships over it, as I was ridiculed over my info, the pig died and they still could not believe that I was right, sigh. I do not want to be right, as then a pig would be fine, but I refuse to be ridiculed.

Also, I have noticed that many people who claim to put their pig on a low calcium diet, actually make so many mistakes, that there is no real low calcium diet, but then claim that the diet didn't help. Also, the factor "but the pig likes his parsley treat, a few sprigs a day does not make a difference, as the rest of the diet is OK" plays a big role. We can't see what people and vets do in each case.

It reminds me of my mum, who eats no sugar a week before her blood is drawn to check her diabetes. Yeah, right.

Bookfan
For the Love of Pigs

Post   » Fri Jul 08, 2016 2:01 pm


Ditto bpatters. IMO, without randomized, controlled, double-blind studies any conclusions are just guesses. However I do think identifying trends, such as gp's losing the use of their legs after stone surgery, can be very useful and supply topics for study.

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