ISSN 2398-2985      

Heart disease

6guinea pig

Synonym(s): Cardiomyopathy, Congestive Heart Failure, Acquired heart disease, Congenital heart disease, Cardiovascular disease


Introduction

  • Cause: most heart disease in pet guinea pigs is rarely recognized ante-mortem. Aging, obesity, dietary deficiencies, Streptococcus zooepidemicus has been found with pericardial effusion, congenital defects include atrial (ASD) and ventricular septal defects (VSD).
  • Signs: may be vague with lethargy main clinical sign.
  • Diagnosis: auscultation during full physical examination, ECG, ultrasonography: echocardiogram.
  • Treatment: depends on type of cardiac disease.
  • Prognosis: guarded to poor if presented with symptomatic cardiac disease. Congenital defects: guarded.
Print off the Owner factsheet on Heart problems to give to your clients.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Largely unkown for acquired heart disease.
  • Aging factors.
  • Obesity may play a role.
  • Diet may play a role.
  • Vitamin E/selenium dietary deficiency can result in changes to the myocardium.
  • Vitamin C deficiency Vitamin C deficiency may play a role in muscle function which affects the myocardium.
  • Congenital heart defects: exact genetics have not been published.
  • Atrial septal defects and ventricular septal defects may be found as incidental findings in many.
  • In the author's experience, these guinea pigs tend to be smaller than their littermates and often are less active.
  • They may be acceptable as a pet, but should not be bred.

Predisposing factors

General

  • Guinea pigs need to have a diet with adequate vitamin E/selenium for skeletal and cardiac muscle health.

Specific

  • Vitamin C deficiency Vitamin C deficiency may contribute to skeletal muscle, cardiac muscle and general health problems.

Pathophysiology

  • Guinea pig hearts and cardiovascular system are used as animal models for various human heart diseases due to their similar structure.
  • Mechanisms involved in cardiomyopathy are as in other species.

Timecourse

  • Generally slow for acquired heart disease in adult guinea pigs.
  • Congenital defects may be present at birth.
  • Heart disease is usually progressive.

Epidemiology

  • Individual problem usually.
  • Breeding colony or large household may encounter problems if using a deficient diet.
  • Congenital defects: ok for pet, but should not be bred.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

Other sources of information

  • Johnson-Delaney C (2010) Guinea pigs, chinchillas, degus and duprasi. In: BSAVA Manual of Exotic Pets. 5th edn. Eds: Meredith A & Johnson-Delaney C. British Small Animal Veterinary Association. pp 28-62.
  • Goodman G (2009) Rodents: respiratory and cardiovascular system disorders. In: BSAVA Manual of Rodents and Ferrets. Eds: Keeble E & Meredith A. British Small Animal Veterinary Association. pp 142-149.

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