Pet store determining pregnant guinea pig - ?

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Post   » Wed Feb 06, 2002 1:25 pm

I am responding to an email I received from a pet store employee defending their store against my generic statements on my website about not believing anything anyone tells you in pet store without getting confirmation.

She tells me that this store takes excellent care of their guinea pigs. Okay. She made a comment countering my statement that many pet stores sell pregnant guinea pigs. And this comment concerns me.
If we suspect a guinea pig is pregnant, we keep her in the back for two weeks, bouncing her occasionally to see if she is pregnant. If she isn´t, or if she re-absorbs, then we will sell her.
Is there something I don´t know about determining if a guinea pig is pregnant? Bouncing? And what I´m really wondering about is the ´re-absorb´ part. Can someone explain this to me? I´m assuming that this means a guinea pig is pregnant, then something happens and the fetuses are absorbed back into her body??

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Post   » Wed Feb 06, 2002 1:33 pm

Oh, sure, didn´t you know that bouncing pregnant animals was good for them?

Guess our pigs weren´t bounced enough in the past or there was an immaculate conception because more than once we got more than we bargained for.

Hey, does that bouncing technique work on other critters? How about hamsters?

...and yes, the re-absorb part sounds like a miscarriage to me. Not that bouncing would have anything to do with it.....


Post   » Wed Feb 06, 2002 2:33 pm

The bouncing doesn´t sound like a good idea AT ALL never mind in a pregnant pig.

Fetal reabsorption can occur in pregnant dogs in the first half of pregnancy. Sometimes the whole litter is reabsorbed by the bitch or only some of the pups., with the others being carried to full term. Having never bred cavies, I have no idea if guinea pigs also reabsorb or whether the fetus is expelled as in a human.

I´ll see if I can find a link:

OK. Here´s more info on canine fetal reabsorption, couldn´t find anything on guinea pigs, but it seems rats, mice, horses, llamas and others do this too.
Last edited by pigpal on Wed Feb 06, 2002 2:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post   » Wed Feb 06, 2002 2:56 pm

Reabsorption can occur in humans, too. Very early in her pregnancy, a friend of mine had an ultrasound that showed she was carrying twins. A few weeks later, only one heartbeat was detected, although she had shown no signs of miscarriage or other problems. The rest of her pregnancy was uneventful. Apparently more of us start out as twins than we realize.

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Post   » Wed Feb 06, 2002 2:59 pm

Bouncing! What will they think of next! Actually, some horse people swear that if you thump up on a mare´s stomach, and you feel a bounce, then she is pregnant. However, I have tried that on mares, geldings, stallions, and they all bounce.

As for the reabsortion part, it doesn´t sound right. People also say that horses "reasorb", but it really means miscarriage. I imagine it is the same with pigs.

I feel very bad for those poor sows in their back room.


Post   » Wed Feb 06, 2002 3:08 pm

Sounds to me like you have a new candidate for the horrible petshops website and a forum entry all in one. Gee, and you didn´t even need to go looking, this one found you!

Reabsorb certainly sounds like a miscarriage -- or if you will, an intended abortion on the part of the bouncer.

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Post   » Wed Feb 06, 2002 3:15 pm

Thanks Pigpal, I see that it is referred to as well in Richardson regarding guinea pigs (thanks Rosalee).
Clinical signs: This may occur before pregnancy is detected and therefore go unnoticed, it just being assumed that the sow is taking her time in conceiving, or that she is infertile. Any stress such as a sudden diet change may lead to resorption, as will a period of poor feeding. Sows with severe mange mite infestation are likely either to resorb or abort their litters. If foetal loss occurs in the very early stages of gestation the sow may not outwardly appear sick.

Treatment: Avoidance of sudden stress and provision of an adequate diet should prevent the occurrence of resorption.
So, my next question would be, who, other than a very good breeder who is monitoring the cavy in a breeding program, would be able to diagnose resorption? Would not the average person simply assume the guinea pig is not, after all, pregnant?

Richardson goes on to talk about miscarriage and abortion, which occurs when the foetuses have reached a later stage in their development.

Richardson also says that abortion and resorption can occur as a consequence of a systemic infection and been associated with Bordetella bronchiseptica, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Salmonella infections.


Yes, I wanted to be very clear on my facts before I respond. If I stretch the word bounce to ´lightly bounce a finger off the abdomen,´ maybe I could stretch bounce into palpate, but somehow, I doubt that´s it.

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Post   » Wed Feb 06, 2002 3:38 pm

The average person would assume she was not pregnant. How many of us have gotten pigs that we weren´t sure about until we felt the babies move? Or pigs that just got fat and weren´t pregnant in the first place?

The way I translate "bounce" is to jostle them. I get the image of a baby bouncing on someone´s knee. It never occured to me to translate it as tapping on them.


Post   » Wed Feb 06, 2002 3:45 pm

My vet could not palpate pregnancy in a sow (weren´t sure if she was preg or not). She delivered 4 healthy pups 39 days later.

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Post   » Wed Feb 06, 2002 6:28 pm

Yes, the only way I know of to be sure about pregancy is either the waiting game until you feel babies move or x-rays which of course are not recommended.

No doubt regular weighing will give you a good indicator, but even that is not a 100% fool-proof method, especially depending on circumstances.

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