Guinea pigs and allergies?

(12 Posts)
fufflebum Sat 09-Feb-13 20:34:34

We are thinking about getting guinea pigs for our two children. My youngest child is four and has had very mild eczema since he was a few months old. He gets wheezy when he has a cold but at no other times so has not been diagnosed as asthmatic.

We have three cats, two are long haired and He is fine with them, just wonder whether there is any likelihood he would have an allergy a GP if we got them.

Any suggestions would be great, would be sad to get them and then have to return them. TIA x

Hi fufflebum.

I've no idea WRT to allergies. Neither of my DC have allergies nor do DH or myself but there's been a few threads on here about it.
Recently one poster akaemmafrost had to rehome her pigs after she developed an adult asthma and found she was allergic.

With cats,the allergy comes from their dander when they wash themselves (so more the saliva than the fur)
Guineas have the fur to consider, and the hay. You can't get round the hay, they need it. Some are more dusty but most small animal hay is dust extracted , unlike horse hay for instance which can be dusty.Some horse owners get round this by soaking hay, but guineas won't be fobbed off with soggy hay.

If there's no problem with the hay, then can you let your DC cuddle a GP (really get their faces into the fur) several times to see if there's a reaction?

And you'd need to make sure that their house is cat-proof. And their patch of lawn doesn't get cat poo (and fox pooh) on it

Does anyone at school have GPs? Any of your DC classmates? I'm sure they'd let your DC cuddle them to check. You could even volunteer to look after them for a weekend grin
My DD used to look after the school rabbits (not at our house though ). It reinforced the fact that the rabbits are quite nice but her GP boars are far superior. (Breathes sigh of relief that she won't be asking for bunnies) grin

fufflebum Sun 10-Feb-13 08:00:24

Thanks for reply, would probably be female GP. We have been to a friends where they fed GP but did not pick them up!

Good suggestions as reading other comments can be allergies to hay!

guineapiglet Sun 10-Feb-13 13:59:28

Hi there,just seen your post. 70 gives you good advice on having an experimental time with guineas... My son developed horrible allergies to ours, both from their fur and hay and they had to be moved away from daily contact with him, they are very allergenic creatures. It is rotten for all concerned. It began with wheeziness.

I would also have concerns about having a guinea and 3 cat combination, particularly if the cats are in residence, the guineas will be scared of them, and it will always be a risk having a small furry where cats are. Guineas are rather short sighted but do have an amazing sense of smell....

fufflebum Mon 11-Feb-13 14:42:38

Good advice from you both thanks.

We will be going to see some rescued Gp at a local sanctuary so can see how my DC gets along with them and hay!

Curlybrunette Mon 11-Feb-13 20:21:20

I use hay from the 'Dust free hay' company. Quite pricey but doesn't smell nearly as strong as normal hay which makes me think it must be better for allergies than normal?

The cats would worry me too tbh

fufflebum Wed 13-Feb-13 07:12:08

Thanks for advice about hay. We are visiting two prospective guineas at weekend so will gauge reaction then.

The cats we have are old now and extremely lazy, We will of course be very careful around them with GP. In long term they will be housed in a heated shed and have a run. Well ensure they are settled and familiar with us first as they are still quite young.

Thanks for advice. Fingers crossed for visit at weekend!

FernieB Wed 13-Feb-13 11:32:00

Have just brought in my pigs to 'read' guineapiglets comment that GP's have an amazing sense of smell. They are seemingly unable to detect parsley 3 inches away from their noses and instead require me/DD's to hold it right in front of their mouths so they can eat it.

Fernie do you put the parsley into their mouths stalk end first so they look like they've got a bunch of flowers in their mouths when they get to the end.?
DD laughs and GP1 is hmm, stops chewing for a second and looks like Ermentrude the Cow from the Magic Roundabout (old gimmer emoticon)

Our GPs (apparently) can't smell or taste - DD 'helps'made their salad plate and has to sample carrot,peppers,strawberries, melon, apples and celery before they get it (Just to make sure it doesn't poison them y'see)

guineapiglet Wed 13-Feb-13 12:02:30

Hi all! Fernie - I prob should have written ' a selective sense of smell' - my girls could smell cucumber coming at 200 yards! But yes, lots of stuff used to have to be held out or dangled in front of them!

Mine could always smell cats, and probably detect them moving about, which is why I could be very worried about guineas and cats in the same house, they would start to get very panicky. To be fair, in a small close, there was a population of 14 cats who all used our garden to crap in and they all seemed to find our guineas very entertaining. <and intimidate and frighten them until I came outside with my son's watermachine gun thing> . Sorry, I really dont get cats.

fufflebum Tue 19-Feb-13 14:35:01

Hi All

Just to update. We collected the new arrivals over the weekend after both children handling them for an hour or so. They have settled really well and we are enjoying their variety of noises!!

All appears well on the allergy front and our cats have not moved from the bed to see them!!!

Thanks for your replies

xxx

FernieB Tue 19-Feb-13 16:00:53

70 - yes I do make them look like Ermintrude - if they're going to be that awkward about eating the parsley, at least I can make it entertaining for me!

guineapiglet - our boys have no sense of smell when it comes to cats in the garden. Last summer, next doors cats kept walking past and the pigs didn't even notice them. They are in the conservatory at the moment having a play with current bun. Current bun has just been thumping as a strange cat has wandered into the garden - piggies didn't notice, but as soon as bun thumped, they ran for cover in a tunnel!

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