Guinea Pig Husbandry and Care

Last updated: May 3, 2017


I. Purpose

This Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) outlines the animal care requirements associated with the daily husbandry of guinea pigs to ensure consistent and uniform care. This procedure applies to all personnel involved in the care of guinea pigs housed in static micro-isolator caging in the Laboratory Animal Resources (LAR) facility on the campus of the University of Montana.

II. Policy

It is an LAR policy to meet or exceed all federal, state, and local regulations and guidelines and to comply with all institutional policies and procedures as they apply to the use of animals in research. LAR personnel must pass on-line animal training modules and attend applicable training in animal care and use, occupational health and safety, and equipment operation prior to performing activities outlined in this SOP. Animal housing rooms should be entered using appropriate personal protective gear for the species and disease or hazard containment level.

III. Husbandry and Care Procedures

Morning observation:

  • Record room temperature and cubicle temperature
  • Check for any special feeding or watering instructions
  • Observe animals for signs of disease, illness or injury
  • Check to see if guinea pigs have eaten and are drinking water
  • Note any changes in urine or fecal pellets on drop pans
  • Report any problems to the LAR facility manager.

Daily routine

  • Observe animals for signs of disease or illness as above.
  • Rinse and refill all water bottles daily checking to make sure lixits are free from debris before replacing on bottles
  • Feed Lab Diet 5025 in J feeders and clean out fines from eating area daily. Add a handful of alfalfa/grass hay to each cage
  • Wipe down cage with Rescue RTU
  • Sweep and mop cubicle
  • Sweep and mop the floor with disinfectant
  • Empty trash
  • Replenish bedding and feed bin as needed
  • Fill out checklist sheet, census sheet and initial daily log

Weekend routine

  • Follow daily routine except do not mop floor
Bedding change: M, W, F
 
  • Follow daily routine
  • Place guinea pigs in a clean "rat" box with autoclaved Carefresh while cleaning drop pans
  • Dump dirty bedding from drop pans into garbage
  • Add clean, autoclaved Carefresh bedding drop pan
  • Gently place guinea pigs back into cage
  • Dump and refill water bottles with fresh water; add food and hay

Complete cage change: every other week

  • Exchange housing unit with clean guinea pig housing unit
  • Prepare cages with clean autoclaved Carefresh bedding, clean feeders, clean water bottles, and new enrichment devices
  • Remove guinea pig from dirty cage and gently place into the clean cage and transfer cage card
  • Wash dirty caging unit, bottles, J feeders and drop pans in cage washer.  Store in HS020

ASC: once a month

  • Wash walls, feed bin, sink, counters, light diffusers, floor, door and threshold with disinfectant.  Let stand 10 minutes.
  • Rinse with clean water
  • Dry with paper towel if necessary
  • Initial checklist and ASC sheets and daily log