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Guinea Pigs/gaining weight

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Question
hello!
my guinea pig, andre is going to be 5 years old in april. we got him when he was (approximately) six weeks old. he has always been tiny, i was thinking it's possible that he could have been the runt of his litter (i'm not sure if that's even possible with guinea pigs or not) when i compare him to other boars he just seems so little! we weigh him weekly, stays at 2.2 pounds, and i have read that it is a healthy weight for his age.

my question is, is there a healthy way to make him a little chunkier? like i said, he has always felt a little bony just because he is so little but i'm wondering if he is just too skinny. his little hipbones are pretty prominent when we are petting him. he eats a steady diet of romaine lettuce, fresh timothy hay, and we get him vitamin c fortified food (he always picks out the dried carrots and treat first before getting to the actual pellets)

he is perfectly healthy, eats a TON, and stays pretty active and vocal for a five year old boy. just want a little more junk in the trunk:) or if you could tell me if it's normal for him to be so bony!

thank you!

Answer
Just like people not all animals will get fat. It sounds like he's an active and healthy pig. 2 pounds is an average size for an adult pig.  As pigs age they often start to thin down more than when they were younger. You rarely see obese elderly humans. And you don't often see obese old pigs. There are exceptions to everything of course, but as a rule older pigs are seldom overweight.

Humans are rarely obese at an old age because obesity doesn't allow them to reach that age. They typically succumb to their obesitiy with heart attacks, diabetes, and other conditions that take them before they get old.

Five is an average lifespan for most guinea pigs. Andre has reach the time in his life when he is considered elderly. If he's eating normally he is still healthy, so I wouldn't worry about him getting thinner. The appetite is the gold standard for how a pig feels, and he obviously feels very good or he wouldn't be eating like he is.

There really isn't any diet or foods you can give him to fatten him up. You've done a marvelous job of keeping him healthy for five years. Just continue what you're doing and don't worry about trying to put more fat on him. He doesn't really need it.  

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Pat VanAllen

Expertise

As is sometimes the case, people in urgent need of information have a higher degree of expectation than those of us as experts are able to give. The experts on this site do their best to give the most accurate and responsible answers possible. We ask that you remember that it is not our intention nor place to criticize the professional advice given by your veterinarian, nor is it appropriate for us to comment on the correctness of a diagnosis made by a licensed physician. Our knowledge is experience based. Although many years of breeding and showing cavies gives me a wealth of experience it cannot change the fact that we as experts are not veterinarians and therefore may occasionally have to reject questions that appear to be asking us to criticize advice given by the licensed professional. Having raised and exhibited cavies for many years I have extensive experience in cavy care and husbandry. I currently have an active breeding program for pedigreed show animals but do not encourage backyard breeding for inexperienced owners. Although I don't encourage breeding for fun I'm always happy to answer any questions from an owner who is in sincere need of help. Pet owners wanting to breed should understand that even experienced breeders have litter losses. The mortality rate is high in cavies. The chance for losing both sow and pups is always present, even with experience. Although this is a site for experts to assist owners, there is no expert in any field who has all the answers. The wisest thing a good expert can know is their limitations. Not having an answer does not diminish one's ability or knowledge. It simply shows that we recognize our limitations and operate within them.

Experience

Raised and shown cavies for many years, having aquired my first cavies in the early 1970's as pets. My caviary currently handles 65 + animals in two different breeds and several varieties. Having been in the health care industry as a licensed nurse for 35 years I have hands on experience with care and needs in both humans and cavies. Member of American Rabbit Breeders Association and American Cavy Breeders Association.

Organizations
Awarded Lifetime Membership in of one of the oldest cavy clubs in the United States, on whose Board I served as Sec/Treas for six years and currently serving as President. Also editor/publisher of the club's quarterly newsletter. We are strong supporters of our youth exhibitors, most of whom are 4H members who are working on cavy projects. Through these projects they become good responsible citizens. We deal with all aspects of showing, breeding, caring for and sharing experiences in the fancy. The cavy fancy is not a new one but in some areas is still relatively unknown. Our goal is to inspire interest in high quality, responsible breeding to improve the species, not just the reproduction of guinea pigs. Our job is to educate owners to help them make the right decisions and choices in the care of their cavies.

Education/Credentials
Graduate in nursing. Certified in emergency medicine.

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