Preface

          The A to Z of Guinea pigs is going to be just that.An A to Z of housing, husbandry, habits, veterinary care, the lot.

          I happen to have a brilliant vet but many vets are not as skilled as they should be in treating these animals, and freely admit it. So it is vital to arm owners with as much information as possible about their veterinary care to enable them to treat them themselves. However, if all the sundry matters concerning guinea pig life are given a wider coverage in a book, I feel that even the skills of owners proficient in veterinary care will need to be called upon less.

          It is amazing the number of questions I get from owners who have become concerned about the health of one or more of their animals because of a certain behaviour pattern. It may have been a pattern that had been there all the time and they have just had not noticed it or it may have suddenly developed.

Living with so many of the wee beasties for such a long time I have become very familiar with all manner of behaviour patterns that I tend to ignore them. I have categorised and stored them neatly away in some corner of that thing I use for a brain and thought no more about them until the inevitable question is asked about one of these behaviours. Itís about time I made them accessible to all guinea pig owners. Itíll save them a lot of grey hairs and their guinea pigs constant scrutiny!

When it comes to housing then I really do have a bee in my bonnet, for being imaginative in this vital matter can only be of benefit to both people and piggies. My main sow pen now takes up one side and a half of my studio flat, is equipped with water features out of which many of my sows drink and at night the subdued lighting is very similar to that which is used in stage lighting. People are very impressed by this but point out that it must be expensive to run. In point of fact, it is all low energy lighting that costs very little to run.

I have not subdivided this book into housing, habits, veterinary sections etc for I think it is far better to have a book which is straight forwardly alphabetical for ease of reference. Indeed some of the subjects I shall be dealing would be difficult to neatly categorise.

I hope that as a result of this book, both piggies and people will learn a great deal more about one anotherís needs.

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Peter Gurney

COPYRIGHT 2002