Satin Guinea Pigs

These pages are aimed at the pet owner considering buying a Satin Guinea Pig . We hope to provide you with information that will enable you to make an informed decision when making your purchase.
Satin guinea pigs have a quite unique sheen to their coats as the name suggests. Unlike the normal healthy shine seen on a ‘matt’ guinea pig the Satin sheen is glassy almost and once seen is unmistakeable. Satin guinea pigs are found in all coat types, long, long and curly (Rexoid), Rex, Abyssinian, Smooth and in Europe there are even Satin hairless varieties. They also come in all colours, both solid and marked. As well as this there are many ‘pet’ Satins (ie not purebred).
Some Satins are carriers of Osteodystrophy and will eventually become, to differing degrees, sufferers of it. Osteodystrophy is not curable though the life of the guinea pig may be extended if they are given painkillers, or if caught in the early stages (Osteoperosis) and Calcium supplements are given. To determine which stage guinea is ‘at’ an x-ray would be needed. As with any condition the guinea pig should not be left to suffer and euthanasia may be the only option after a certain stage has been reached.
Reputable breeders recognise that the affected strains should not be bred from.

  • Satins that have Osteodystrophy (OD) do so to varying degrees. Not all Satins die because of OD and not all are affected by it.
  • Some breeders have noticed that Satin mums do not cope well with birthing and so they use Satin Carriers (who carry the Satin gene to pass on to their offspring). Osteodystrophy is passed down through carriers too though.
  • •Breeding with carrier sows does not eliminate Osteodystrophy.
  • Large and small guinea pigs suffer from the disease– size is not a factor.
  • Osteodystrophy is a metabolic disease. Calcium absorption of the body into the bones is not sufficient leading to decalcification of the bones. Fibrous tissue is then formed which leads to instability
  • Symptoms of OD begin around 1 year to 18 months of age, though there are exceptions. Signs are a wobbly gait due to the hind legs being affected. The jaw can also be affected causing problems eating for the guinea. Eventually guinea will be in too much pain to eat a normal diet. Some guinea pigs with OD may not go on to develop such severe symptoms.

The disease can be detected by x-ray before physical signs are apparent. There is, as yet, no cure for Osteodystrophy in guinea pigs that does not have side effects (resulting in the likely death of the cavy). The only ‘treatment’ is pain relief, Unless you know different…

Symptoms, Diagnosis and Prognosis.

©www.satinguineapigs 2009