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Desexing / Neutering

The process of desexing/neutering should only be done with male guinea pigs. The surgery is far too intrusive for female guinea pigs and the risk of death is far higher. That being said, there may be problems in later life such as uterine cancer where this may be the only recommended path.

Why would you desex a male guinea pig?

If you did not want to have babies resulting – then it is wise to have this done.

Guinea pig males will fight over a female and when they are desexed, this does not change things ( like it does for rabbits). Do not think that desexing male guinea pigs will enable them to live happily around females. For this reason, I would recommend that you only have 1 male with a single or herd of females.

Male and female Guinea pigs will all fight over a lack of space, or a lack of food. There is also a natural hierarchy within a herd or a “Pecking order”. However when there are females around, then this alone will cause Male guinea pigs to show their dominance and will fight other males in this process. They will as a result badly injure each other which leads to terrible injuries and infection and possibly death.

The operation that is required for desexing a male guinea pig should only be undertaken when the piggie is at least 6 months of age and 500 grams in weight.

The surgery should only be done by an experience cavy vet as the surgery that is required although not time consuming is delicate.  The guinea pig will be put under an anaesthetic for this procedure. Guinea pigs will need pain management following the surgery and they must be allowed to eat before and after the surgery to ensure that gut stassis does not occur (which can be fatal). The pain relief will assist the guinea pig in feeling well enough to eat. If this is not the case, and the guinea pig is not eating, you will need to assist with hand support feeding for a time.

Following the surgery, the guinea pig should not be kept on anything other than soft clean cloth bedding to ensure that the stitched area remains free from any potential infection causing foreign bodies such as shavings. Regularly change the soft bedding to ensure they are not sitting on urine soaked areas. Your guinea pig will require a warmth source in the cage to ensure that shock does not become a problem. A warm water bottle under the soft bedding at one end so that your guinea pig can move towards it or away from it will be useful.

There will be stitches that need to be removed and you will be instructed by your vet as to when to return to have these removed. This is a quick process and does not require any medication or anaesthetic. Usually the weighting time is 8 – 10 days.