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post #1 of (permalink) Old 10-12-2008, 12:02 PM Thread Starter
Jennicat's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 1,941
Lightbulb Quarantine: How, What, and Why

I've noticed a lot of members new to guinea pigs and new to Paw-Talk in general, so I wanted to do a quick post on the importance of quarantining animals brought into your house.

What is it?
So what is a quarantine? A quarantine is a period of time that a new animal is kept isolated from animals currently living in your house in order to make sure that the new animal is not carrying any type of infectious disease or parasites.

How do you quarantine a new guinea pig?
A quarantine must be done in a separate room! The animals cannot be sharing airspace, or the quarantine is pointless. (A sneeze can spread germs all over the room). During a quarantine, the animals also cannot play together, even in neutral territory (or again, they are exposed to the germs and parasites).

Finally, when a new animal is in quarantine, you should make sure to play with them last, after you take care of your own animals. Make sure that you wash your hands well, and that you are not carrying germs and parasites back to your own animals.

Why do I need to quarantine?
To keep your current pets healthy!

But I took my new piggie to the vet, and the vet said he/she was healthy!
That doesn't matter. The new piggie could still be carrying germs, or the eggs of parasites which have not had time to develop. A human can go to the doctor and be declared healthy and 2 days later have the flu. Piggies are the same way!

I don't believe you need to do this. I've never done it before and all my animals are fine!
I am always glad when people are lucky and their animals don't become sick. But just because it has never happened does not mean that it won't happen. It's better to be safe than sorry when it comes to small animals, because they are so sensitive to respiratory problems.

I'm not going to keep quarantine, because if my pig gets sick, I'll just take him or her to the vet!
First of all, thank you for taking your piggies to the vet when they need to see them! But simply seeking a vet's care does not guarantee that an animal will survive an infection.

Last year, my very first piggie, Gizmo, developed a respiratory infection. In less than 12 hours, I had him at the vet's office and on antibiotics. I handfed him every 3 hours, got IV fluids to give him, and even put him on a nebulizer! After $800 and 4 days of heart ache, he passed from pneumonia.

Different animals react differently to different strains of infection. One pig may barely become sick and recover well, while another may be on death's door within a couple of days. The only way to know is for them to be infected! So you can see that it's much better "safe than sorry" when it comes to our little wheeking friends.

We are as gods to the beasts of the fields. We order the time o' their birth and the time o' their death. Between times, we ha' a duty. - Terry Pratchett.

"Men have forgotten this truth", said the fox, "But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
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