ISSN 2398-2985      

Venipuncture

6guinea pig

Synonym(s): Blood collection, Blood sampling


Introduction

  • Blood sampling is required for diagnostic purposes.
  • In a healthy guinea pig, sample volume that can be safely removed is equivalent to 1% of its bodyweight or approximately 10% of its circulating blood volume. For most that is 0.5-3.0 mL.

Uses

Advantages

  • Peripheral vein access usually does not require sedation or anesthesia.
  • A Toenail clip can be used to obtain a very small volume like a hematocrit tube.
  • Jugular or cranial vena cava will yield larger volumes.

Disadvantages

  • Toenail clip is painful: guinea pig will vocalize and be stressed. Not recommended!
  • Peripheral veins require restraint, and in some animals, sedation or anesthesia.
  • Jugular vein restraint position is very stressful to the awake guinea pig.
  • Cranial vena cava requires anesthesia.

Technical problems

  • Guinea pigs lack readily accessible veins.
  • For small volume, the lateral saphenous or cephalic are used.
  • The jugular vein and cranial vena cava will supply larger volumes but require knowledge of the anatomy, and anesthesia.
  • Femoral artery and vein have been used in laboratory situations and can yield up to 8 mLs.
  • Cardiocentesis is used followed by euthanasia in laboratory situations to obtain larger amounts of blood.

Alternative techniques

  • Toe-nail clip has been used for obtaining a very small volume.
  • The nail must be thoroughly cleaned first.
  • Discard the first drop of blood as it will be contaminated with tissue fluid.
  • The next drop can be collected using a hematocrit tube or microvolume (microtainer) blood tube.
  • Hemostasis is ensured by applying digital pressure to the site or by placing a small amount of styptic powder on the clipped nail.

Time required

Preparation

  • Administration of sedative such as midazolam Midazolam at 0.2-0.5 mg/kg IM or inhalant anesthetic such as isoflurane.
  • Allow 10 min.
  • Assemble clippers, alcohol or skin antiseptic wipes, tourniquet if using saphenous or cephalic veins (such as an elastic band with a pair of hemostats), 25-27 ga needles: these can be on insulin-tuberculin type 0.3-1 mL syringes, or separate if insertion of the needle alone and then collection of the blood using hematocrit tubes or microvolume (microtainer) collection tubes are used; small gauze squares, glass slides, types of collection tubes (like EDTA for CBC, heparin for serum biochemistries, etc).

Procedure

  • Under 5 min.

Decision taking

Criteria for choosing test

  • Condition of the guinea pig – how ill, is it dehydrated, how stressed it is with restraint alone.
  • How much blood is needed for diagnostic tests.
  • Visibility of saphenous, cephalic veins.

Risk assessment

  • Restraint alone without sedation or anesthesia may be very stressful.
  • Anesthesia requires careful monitoring and adequate ventilation, but may overall be quicker and less stressful, as well as yield a sufficient volume of blood for diagnostics.

Requirements

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Preparation

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Procedures

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Aftercare

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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.
  • Sirois M (2005) The Guinea Pig. In: Laboratory Animal Medicine: Principles and Procedures. Elsevier Mosby. pp 115-138.
  • McClure D (2002) Basic Rabbit, Guinea Pig and Rodents AVMA Wet Lab. AVMA Convention, Nashville.
  • Johnson-Delaney C A (1996) Guinea Pigs. In: Exotic Companion Medicine Handbook for Veterinarians. Wingers Publishing.

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