What is Neutering? Neutering is the surgical removal of all or part of an animals reproductive organs. It is a method used so that the animal will become sterile and unable to reproduce. The most common recent an animal may be neutered is to prevent unwanted litters.
Neutering your guinea pig is a decision that should be made only if absolutely necessary for example if you have a male guinea pig who for whatever reason will not house with another male comfortably yet you still want your male to have a friend and visa versa with females...in this instance neutering your guinea pig can be an option so that your guinea pig will be able to have a companion of the opposite sex without the risk of them breeding.
Will neutering change my guinea pigs behavior? This is a question commonly asked and the answer is ' no '. Your guinea pigs weight will remain the same, their personality will not change nor how they interact with other guinea pigs. Some guinea pig owners believe that neutering their male guinea pig will help the male to get along easier with other male guinea pigs. This is not true if a male guinea pig has issues with other males they will not resolve through the male being neutered.
Pictured left - A male guinea pig successfully neutered. 1 day post op.
Neutering a male guinea pig vs neutering a female guinea pig
Neutering a female guinea pig is considered alot riskier than neutering a male guinea pig. The procedure is more invasive the surgery involves removal of the ovaries and the uterus. In male guinea pigs neutering is a relatively straight forward procedure where the male testes a removed. It is recommend to neuter a male guinea pig rather than a female if you have the option between the two.
As with any surgical procedure their are always risks involved. General risks of surgery can include risk while under the general anesthetic, surgical complication during surgery or post op, bowel blockage post op, hemorrhage ( internal bleeding ) and infection post op. Since guinea pigs are such small animals the procedure is more delicate than that of a larger companion animal such as a dog or a cat. It is always advisable to know the risks involved in any surgical procedure and to be prepared emotionally for the outcome when making the decision to neuter your guinea pig. With any surgical or general vet consult it is highly advisable to make sure you see a vet that you can rely on and trust and that has appropriate good knowledge and a background in working with small animals and that they have the surgical instruments needed to operate on small animals....see below for further information. This information may be the vital difference in the outcome for your guinea pig.
Which vet to see?
The results of neutering your guinea pig will often depend on which vet you take your guinea pig to. In most cases neutering your guinea pig should have a positive out come without complications although ACS have in the past received calls from guinea pig owners where the results have been negative after neutering their guinea pig. We cannot stress enough how important it is to see a vet with good knowledge of small animals. A vet with UK experience will generally have good knowledge of small animals and also have the experience needed to perform the delicate operation on the guinea pig. In the UK vets perform many small animal procedures and have good experience working with small animals. Another recommendation is to see an exotics vet. Exotics vets will generally have instruments they use on small animals and will also have good experience working with smaller animals they regularly work with rodents, reptiles and birds.
Ask your vet if they have experience neutering guinea pigs, how many operations have they performed, when was the last neuter they performed and was it successful and ask about their success rate. If a vet regularly neuters dogs and cats with success this is not something to go by. A procedure on a guinea pig is a procedure that differs.
Ask your vet what anesthetic will be used. Their is a new general anesthetic for guinea pigs and small animals that is now days used and is far lighter on the animal. The anesthetic used helps the guinea pig to go under quickly and they will come out from the general a lot quicker. The risk of complication under the general anesthetic with the newer anesthetic being used for small animals, is low compared to the later.
Tread with caution If you approach a vet and they mention low cost for the procedure e.g. under $50 or if they mention their is a high risk of your guinea pig not surviving. A vet who feels confident in performing the procedure will generally charge anything from $68 - $120 and will feel confident they can do the procedure with a successful outcome for the guinea pig.
Pre Surgery Checklist
Your vet should do a complete health checkup and confirm your guinea pig as healthy before any operation takes place.
Guinea pigs should not be neutered under 2 months of age. Your vet will check the weight and size of your guinea pig to make sure they are a healthy size/weight to undergo surgery. Vets will generally not put any guinea pig under a general anesthetic if they weigh less than 500 grams. This is a very low weight and the risk of complication under the anesthetic is high if your guinea pig has low weight.
We hope the above information has helped you in your decision to neuter your guinea pig. If all of the above are checked and taken onboard your guinea pig should have a successful neuter. For further information, questions, advice or for vet recommendations please contact ACS.
(c) Copyright 2006, Australian Cavy Sanctuary. All rights reserved.