ISSN 2398-2985      

Stampeding behavior

6guinea pig

Synonym(s): Trampling of young


Introduction

  • Cause: frightened guinea pigs in a group cage.
  • Signs: smaller, younger guinea pigs may have been trampled by older, larger guinea pigs. They may have limb fractures, luxations, lacerations. If neonates are trampled, they may be found dead from internal injuries. Wounds or lacerations to any on plantar, palmar surfaces of the feet.
  • Diagnosis: history and signs.
  • Treatment: social group preferably does not have many of varying weights and ages: if neonates or juveniles are present, then only 1-3 adults should be present to prevent trampling and injuring of the smaller guinea pigs.
  • Prognosis: depends on the extent of the injury; neonates may die.
Print off the Owner factsheet on An overview of guinea pig behaviour to give to your clients.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Frightened guinea pigs in a group cage:
    • When abruptly frightened, will run around the cage, usually around the perimeter.
    • Younger, smaller guinea pigs may be trampled by older, larger guinea pigs.
    • If bedding is not sufficient, wire or hard cage floor exposed, wounds can happen to plantar and palmar surfaces of the feet, particularly if nails are overgrown and get caught.

Predisposing factors

General

  • Cage that has inadequate hides and barriers that prevent smaller guinea pigs from seeking shelter.
  • Cages that contain large numbers of guinea pigs, particularly those with a wide range of ages and weights.
  • Caging that may have inadequate substrate so that wire, hard floors are exposed.
  • An environment where abrupt, loud noises, or overhead abrupt motion occurs.

Specific

  • Neonates housed with large number of adults, in a large cage, without hiding shelters.

Pathophysiology

  • As a prey species, a guinea pig will run and hide when frightened.
  • In large groups, they will stampede, usually around the perimeter of the cage en masse.
  • Larger guinea pigs will trample smaller guinea pigs in their stampede to get away from what frightened them.

Timecourse

  • Happens very fast: sometimes in under a minute.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

Other sources of information

  • Murray J & Craine M (2017) Guinea pigs. In: Exotic Animal Medicine for the Veterinary Technician, 3rd edn. Eds: Ballard B & Cheek R. Wiley-Blackwell. pp 595-612.
  • Harkness J E, Turner P V, Vandewoude S & Wheler C L (2010) Harkness and Wagner’s Biology and Medicine of Rabbits and Rodents. 5th edn. Wiley-Blackwell. pp 45-57.
  • Bradley Bays T (2006) Guinea Pig Behavior. In: Exotic Pet Behavior. Eds: Bradley Bays T, Lightfoot T & Mayer J. Saunders Elsevier. pp 207-238.
  • Harkness J E, Murray K A & Wagner J E (2002) Biology and Diseases of Guinea Pigs. In: Laboratory Animal Medicine. 2nd edn. Eds: Fox J G, Anderson L C, Loew F M & Quimby F W. Academic Press. pp 203-246.

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