Sunday, September 25, 2016

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Sweet Dumpling Squash?

The first official day of fall just happened earlier this week. We like the fall for a few reasons. First, the temperature drops closer to the ideal range for guinea pigs (at least in our area it does--can't speak for all the readers out there who might leave in really hot or cold places). And second, it means that the humans tend to find new squash for us to try, which we tend to like. And, right on cue, the humans brought home a new one!
The humans saw this at the farmer's market and thought of us. We got them trained well!  
As it turns, out, Dumpling Squash is also known as Sweet Dumpling Squash, and it's supposed to have "sweet, tender orange flesh." Well then, what are you waiting for, humans? Cut it open and let us try it!

Hurry up! Clean out the gunky stuff!
We can have winter squash like Sweet Dumpling Squash 2-4 times per week. As with other squash, just feed us the flesh--no seeds, stringy parts, skin, or stems.

Broccoli, I sure hope you wouldn't mind staying on your side. I believe that's a perfectly fair way to share the squash.
Hey! You're now on both sides! That wasn't our agreement!
The squash was delightful, even if Broccoli's manners were not quite at that level. We give Sweet Dumpling Squash 5/5 stars!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Product Review: Cuddy Cavies Creations Pokemon Go Costumes

Longtime readers might remember several years back when Lola (1) and Buffy entered a costume contest with costumes from Cuddly Cavies Creations, and won second place. With Halloween just around the corner, the humans decided that it might be nice to get us some new costumes. We don't really get why Halloween is so exciting to humans, but sometimes you just have to play along for their sake. I suppose Buffy and Lola (1) did look great in their costumes. But if the humans really want us to get excited about Halloween, they should give us some treats that we're allowed to eat, like pumpkin.

Anyway, Cuddly Cavies Creations has some new Pokemon costumes that I think a lot of humans will go crazy for. Have you heard about this Pokemon Go craze? It's apparently some big thing where humans will stand around on street corners, staring at their phones and trying to find and catch little creatures by throwing special balls at them. Humans, if we agree to put on these Pokemon costumes, you better not throw anything at us! Deal?

And some fussing (and biting), the humans got us into the costumes:

Top: I'm looking "hot" in my "Charmander-pig" costume! Bottom: Lola's looking adorable in her "Pig-achu" costume.
Costumes are no fun to put on. I'm a bit more relaxed about it, but Lola ended up getting a little nippy. We recommend that you have two humans put on the costumes; one who can support our feet, while the other can snap closed the Velcro. Also, make sure you listen to your guinea pig. If it seems like your guinea pig is getting too stressed out, give up on putting on the costume. It's not worth upsetting us over a few cute pictures.

Despite our complaints about having costumes put on us, we have to admit that we looked great once they're on. We give these costumes 5/5 stars!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

More Celebrities with Guinea Pigs

We did a post on celebrities with guinea pigs last month, and asked readers to let us know in the comments section of they knew of any others. Piggyfriends obliged, and pointed out: "Queen Elizabeth 1st. of England ( 1533-1603 ) had a pet guinea pig. Our ancestors must have been quite a novelty in those far off days when we were first brought back from South America." Unfortunately, there is no photo of her with a guinea pig. This was the closest thing we could find:

From the Being Bess blog: "The Ermine Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, by William Segar. Elizabeth is depicted with an ermine on her sleeve (a member of the weasel family, along with ferrets, a domesticated form of polecat used for hunting), representing her royal birth. Unfortunately, there is no Guinea Pig Portrait!" 
We also learned that journalist Soledad O'Brien had a guinea pig named CJ:
Soledad O'Briend, her guinea pig CJ, and Anderson Cooper. (Source.)
CJ even has his own Twitter account (which hasn't been updated in a long time, unfortunately):

In addition, we have more pics and information on the Roosevelt family guinea pigs, as first mentioned in our previous post:
"Roosevelt was the only president to own guinea pigs. Their names were Admiral Dewey, Bishop Doane, Dr. Johnson, Father O'Grady, and Fighting Bob Evans." (source: Reddit)
Thanks again to Piggyfriends for providing us the information on Elizabeth 1 of England! Again, if you know of any other guinea pigs who had famous human companions, please let us know in the comments section.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Carnival Squash?

Summer isn't quite over yet, but you can already tell that fall is right around the corner. The humans have been complaining less about sweating like pigs (even though I try to assure them that sweating isn't a problem for us), and more squash has been showing up at the grocery stores and farmer's markets. It was therefore only a matter of time before they managed to find a new one for us to review. Good job, humans!

Today, we're reviewing carnival squash. It turns out that carnival squash is a hybrid of acorn squash (which we've reviewed) and another type called sweet dumpling squash (which we've never heard of). Carnival squash is a winter squash, which means we can have it 2-4 times per week. Don't feed us the stem, skin, seeds or stringy parts around the seeds. Just feed us some small raw cubes of the orange flesh (not too much- sugar and all).
So colorful!
Come on, Broccoli! Share with me!
How about if I just reach in there?
More! More! More!

No more? Aw...
We have no complaints at all about carnival squash. It was nutty and a little sweet. We finished every last bite the humans gave us. We give carnival squash 5/5 stars!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Guinea Pig Attractions Around the World: Inokashira Park Zoo Guinea Pig House

We're both still recovering emotionally from Buffy's unfortunate passing, but are trying our best to keep bringing you the best guinea pig content. We're going to keep this one fun and lighthearted, though.

Today, we're going to take you the other side of the world for another guinea pig attraction! We're going back to Japan to look at the Inokashira Park Zoo.  (Regular readers may recall that we already showcased a zoo in Japan which had a guinea pig bridge. Just to be clear, this isn't the same zoo.) Inokashira Park Zoo is located in western Tokyo. It is not that big of a zoo, but it does have something of interest to Cavy Savvy readers: a Guinea Pig house!

The sign for the Guinea Pig house! (source)
Look at all the guinea pigs! (source)
You can even pick them up and pet them! (source)

So many guinea pigs!

Inokashira Park Zoo is said to be relatively-inexpensive, too: 400 yen (about $3.93 US), for those humans who worry about that money stuff.

Still on the fence about going? Then check out this quirky Japanese video, which Google translates as "Inokashira Park Zoo song of Befriend a Guinea Gig":

10 amazing minutes long!

The humans are already sold on this, and have been talking about planning a trip in the winter. We'll post more if and when they actually go!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Goodbye, Buffy

It is with heavy hearts that we have to announce the passing of Buffy last night. The humans dutifully continued her new medicine regimen since Friday morning, but it just wasn't enough. Her muscle weakness kept getting progressively worse, until yesterday when her little legs could no longer stand anymore. The humans rushed her to the 24-hour animal hospital, where they said her heart had stopping and asked if they should do CPR. They said it was very likely that they would have ended up cracking her ribs if they had gone ahead with CPR, and she would have been in a lot of pain (assuming it even worked). The humans had to make the incredibly-difficult decision not to put her through that.

While we're all devastated by her loss, we would also like to stay focused on all the good times we had with her. Lola (2) and I are so glad that we had the chance to join her cage and experience the good guinea pig life with her. We got to eat so many foods together, and go on some great adventures, like the time we got to go to a Pignic and meet another texel. Although it was before my time in the cage, she also got to go on an adventure where she got blessed in a church. And she had the chance to share her experience with all of you wonderful Cavy Savvy readers. I would like to think that all the positive thoughts (and comments) you've been sending her way helped her keep going for much longer than anyone expected.

The humans got Buffy around June 2010, and she was about 6 weeks old at that time. That's over 6 years, which is pretty long for a guinea pig to live. We wish we could have spent even more time on earth with her, but we have no regrets about how her time on earth was spent. By any measure, she had a good life.

Here are a few pictures to remember the good times:
Buffy's first bath (June 30, 2010).
So cute! (6/30/10)

Buffy's Cavy Savvy introduction (3/19/11).
Buffy gets blessed (10/4/11).
Meeting another texel. (10/2/13)

Eating a fruit-flag on July 4th (7/4/15).
Enjoying our company just last week (8/17/16).
Sadly, this means that both of the founders of this blog have now passed. However, Lola and I will do our best to carry on their legacy, and give you the best in food reviews, product reviews, and other great guinea pig info. I'm sure that's what they both would have wanted.

Feel free to leave a comment if you enjoyed reading Buffy's adventures. She'll probably enjoy reading them from the other side of the rainbow bridge.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Giving Guinea Pigs Injections

Hi there, readers. Broccoli here with some news about Buffy, who hasn't been feeling like herself lately, but asked me to give you all an update on her behalf. So as you know, her health has not been great ever since the vet found that uterine mass back in November, but despite this, she's been doing better than expected with the implants, medicines and Critical Care. A couple days ago, the humans noticed that there was still blood in her urine, her weight was really low (even for her), and she even lost her balance and fell over (which is a new symptom for her). The humans then took her in the vet as soon as possible.

The vet observed her for a couple hours and ran some tests, including an X-ray. The X-ray showed that her mass has grown large enough that it's actually pushing on her other organs. In particular, it's been pushing on her bladder, which has led to the formation of some small bladder stones that they think she would have easily passed if not for the pressure. And, as a result of the pain of the bladder stones, she's been sucking in more air, which is leading to gas and causing more discomfort. As for the loss of balance, it sounded like it was due to muscle weakness in her hind legs (rather than a seizure than the humans initially feared), which might be related to dehydration.

The vet was honestly surprised that Buffy was doing so well under these circumstances; they said most guinea pigs would have lost interest in eating and most likely had to be put down. However, since Buffy has defied expectations already and still seems to be enjoying a reasonably-good quality of life, they felt it was reasonable to continue treatment. When asked about life expectancy at this point, the vet said it was hard to say because Buffy is "one in a million", that is, most pigs wouldn't have survived with a mass this large as it is, and she could have anywhere from a few days to several months left.

Given her current situation, the vet recommended she remain on Tramadol (for pain) and Cisapride (for GI concerns), but also made some changes to her medicine regimen. First, they increased the amount of Critical Care  by 10 ml per day to help get her weight up. Second, they added Simethicone, an anti-gas medicine, to her daily routine. Third, they got her back on Enrofloxacin, an antibiotic, to make sure she doesn't get an infection, as bladder stones can be jagged. Fourth, they got her back on Meloxicam to control pain and inflammation. Fifth, they added Lactated Ringer's Solution to her daily regimen. According to Guinea Lynx, "Fluid therapy can buy time while your ill pig is responding to antibiotics. Subcutaneous Injection of fluids helps to rehydrate your pet."

Now, that fifth one is something new and different from how the humans usually give us medicine. Usually, the humans feed us some kind of liquid in a syringe. The amounts, colors, and taste can vary, but you just get a quick burst of something tasty or nasty in your mouth, swallow it, and it's over. The Lactated Ringer's Solution is given with a needle. Sounds painful! The humans were scared to try it, but the vet showed them how to do it. Hopefully, you'll never have to be in this situation, but here's what your human needs to know and do if you are:
  • The first step is to fill the syringe from the orange protruding cap on the bag. Don't pierce the clear plastic part to get the liquid. Avoid drawing air into the line.
  • After filling up the syringe, you'll want to warm up the solution in a cup of warm water before injecting it:
The injection will be much more uncomfortable if you don't warm it up first. You'll want to have it around body temperature, which is about 102 degrees for guinea pigs. Hold the needle out of the water.
  • It's a good idea to have two humans present for the injection, if possible. Have one human hold the piggy's head and backside to prevent squirming, biting, and other bad (but understandable!) behavior. You can try a cuddle cup, favorite blanket, or anything else that might help your guinea pig feel more comfortable during this stressful process.
  • Find the shoulder blades, gently pinch the skin, and insert the butterfly needle into the pinched skin. Grasp the wings of the butterfly needle to maintain a firm grip.
  • Push on the syringe with it angled downwards to prevent air bubbles from going in. If you see air bubbles in the syringe, stop injecting before the air bubbles reach the tube and needle.
  • Don't push too fast, or the fluid mass will start feeling weird, and your piggy is more likely to freak out.
It's not always easy being a good guinea pig owner. Sometimes you need to do things that neither of you really wants to do in the short-term, like subcutaneous injections. But if you help us manage or overcome a health issue, you'll be rewarded with an appreciative fuzzy smile.