Critical care of the guinea pig: a veterinary nurse's guide part 1
Guinea pigs are a popular pet choice and are often encountered in veterinary hospitals, as they are susceptible to husbandry and stress-related conditions and do not readily show the early stages of an illness. Consequently, they are often presented in a critical condition and requiring ‘life-saving’ treatments which can be challenging, mainly owing to their stoic yet easily stressed nature. A full physical examination will allow for priorities in the treatment plan to be determined, and species-specific considerations could improve patient care. Veterinary nurses should be encouraged by their team to pursue developing skills in clinical techniques such as venepuncture, to ensure efficient relief from suffering. Consequently, nurses can play a vital role in applying the initial critical care and therapies such as heat, fluids, oxygen and nutritional support. This article aims to review the relevant characteristics of guinea pigs as patients and their commonly encountered critical illnesses. Part two of this topic will address the nursing initiatives that can facilitate the critical care and recovery of pet guinea pigs
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