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Over 50% Of Vets And Vet Nurses In The Dark When Quizzed On Managing Pain In Guinea Pigs

2 years ago

14th March, 2019 17h55


A recent survey, conducted by Boehringer Ingelheim, makers of Metacam®, has revealed that more than half of vets and vet nurses1 who took part in the survey are in the dark when it comes to recognising signs of pain in guinea pigs - highlighting the need for more education and accessible tools to successfully treat surgical pain in practice.

The survey is part of a wider campaign that last year announced Metacam 0.5 mg/ml oral suspension for cats is now licensed to treat guinea pigs to alleviate mild to moderate post-operative pain associated with soft tissue surgery – making it the only NSAID* licensed for the species.

Molly Varga, RCVS Specialist in Zoo and Wildlife Medicine explains why these survey outcomes are not surprising as treating guinea pigs can be challenging:

“As a prey species, guinea pigs often disguise pain2, making it difficult for vets to identify when analgesia is required. Guinea pigs have evolved to hide pain and once obvious signs are visible it often indicates that the animal is no longer coping and its welfare has potentially been compromised. Appropriate pain management in guinea pigs is therefore vital, particularly after soft tissue surgery and regardless of whether signs of pain are visible, to ensure an enhanced recovery and optimal welfare.’’

With the new indication for Metacam, vets now have the ability to effectively manage and treat pain in guinea pigs with a licensed NSAID, alleviating any previous difficulties in correctly dosing this species.

“Interestingly, the survey has revealed that many vets do not feel confident when treating pain in guinea pigs. This may have been down to the challenge in identifying when guinea pigs are in pain and the lack of veterinary licensed medicines. However, with the new indication for Metacam and the resource tools that we have produced  it has never been easier to identify and treat pain in guinea pigs. The simple dosing protocol, which can be tailored to individual cases, makes it easier for vets to prescribe Metacam to guinea pigs as well as making it straightforward for owners to accurately administer pain relief at home to their pet.” Panny Morgan, Brand Manager, Boehringer Ingelheim

An interactive online dose calculator has been designed and is available for vets to use on the Boehringer Academy. This tool will help vets quickly and accurately calculate how much Metacam each guinea pig should receive each day. Higher doses can be used based on clinical judgement, allowing for further tailoring of doses to individual animals. A dosing dish and syringe has been specially developed to help owners easily and accurately administer Metacam at home.

Make your practice the perfect place for guinea pigs. To use the dosing calculator visit or to order your practice a guinea pig-friendly dosing kit, contact your Boehringer Territory Manager.

Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health Business Unit

Boehringer Ingelheim is the second largest animal health business in the world. We are committed to creating animal wellbeing through our large portfolio of advanced, preventive healthcare products and services. With net sales of €3.9 billion and around 10,000 employees worldwide, we are present in more than 150 markets. For more information visit



  1. How good are you at recognising the signs of pain in Guinea Pigs? [online] (Nov 2018).

  2. Oliver VL, Athavale S, Simon KE, Kendall LV, Nemzek JA, Lofgren JL. Evaluation of pain assessment techniques and analgesia efficacy in a female guinea pig (Cavia porcellus) model of surgical pain. J Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci. 2017;56(4):425-435.

*Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug

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