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How to Sex Guinea Pigs

sexing1 The old saying "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" was never more true than in learning how to properly sex your pets. With guinea pigs, once you really know what you are looking for, it is fairly easy, but it can be a little tricky.

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No matter where you obtained your guinea pigs from, you should confirm the sex of your guinea pigs, ideally before you go home with them, but certainly as soon as possible. Pet stores frequently sell missexed guinea pigs, so if you obtained your guinea pigs from a pet store, be sure and confirm its sex. You do not want to be in a position of a high-risk pregnancy or having to rehome guinea pigs yourself. It is not easy.

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Can you sex babies?

Yes. You don't need to wait for weeks to sex newborns. This photo is of a 12-hour old baby male (you can still see the umbilical cord). Just be sure to confirm your decision over time, but especially at 3 weeks old, when males should be separated from their mother.

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Neutering

neuteredmaleguineapigNeutering is the surgical removal of parts of the reproductive system, rendering an animal sterile and unable to produce offspring. Neutering or 'spaying' a female involves removing the womb and ovaries (an ovariohysterectomy). Neutering or 'castrating' the male involves the removal of the testicles. The vet usually makes a small incision on each scrotum and surgically removes the testicles from within.

Just a note on the word: Some of us think we 'neuter' males and 'spay' females, but the word 'neuter' is actually gender neutral and applies to both sexes. Other terms used interchangeably with neutering are 'altering' or 'fixing.' However, for the most part, we will also use the term neuter rather than castration to refer to neutering males.

The only valid, non-medical reason to neuter your male guinea pig is because you have a female you want him to room with. Neutering does little to change the behavior of aggressive guinea pigs, unlike the effect it has on other types of animals. Likewise, neutering does little to curb mounting or sexual behavior. It will prevent unwanted pregnancies. There is no need or reason to neuter two boars living together. If they don't get along now, neutering won't help. Please see the social life page for more discussion on issues related to pairing up guinea pigs. Please see the breeding page for more information on the dangers and concerns of breeding.

Are risks involved in neutering? Yes. The risks are detailed below. However, they can be minimized. Are there risks in keeping two opposite-sex fertile animals in the same house? Yes. Even with the best of intentions and diligent practices, accidents can happen. Accidental pregnancies can result in the death of a sow or serious health problems requiring major veterinary care. Can those risks be minimized? Yes. Can either risk be completely eliminated? No.

Please be aware that as with any surgery, even with a healthy animal, the best vet, and proper after-surgery care, there is a chance that your guinea pig may not make it. Only you can weigh your options and determine the best course for you and your animals.


Legal Disclaimer: There are absolutely no warranties, expressed or implied, with this information, and the accuracy of this information is not guaranteed. Cavy Spirit accepts no responsibility for any actions or events related to the use of this information. In short: use at your own risk. We are not vets and are providing information to help you make informed decisions when working with your vet.

 

Male Before Neuter
example 1


Intact male, about 6 months old (the penis is tucked up inside in these two photos). The opening is the rectal pouch.

 

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