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Characteristics of Guinea Pigs Which Enhance Their Use in Research by Stacy Pritt, Elm Hill consulting Veterinarian

  1. Long Gestation Period with Mature Central Nervous System at Birth – Important for toxicology and teratology studies.
  2. Sensitivity of Respiratory System – Important for asthma and environmental pollution studies.
  3. Quiet, Calm Disposition – Important for entomology studies. Can be used to test repellents and insecticides, and as feeding source for biting insects.
  4. Anatomy of the Guinea Pig Ear and Associated Structures – Important for Inner Ear Studies because it is easily dissected and exposed.
  5. Vitamin C Requirement – Important for wound healing, as well as bone, tooth and atherosclerosis studies.
  6. Guinea Pig Serum – Possesses Hemlytic Complement with Higher Activity Levels than Other Lab Animals. Widely used as a source of complement for complement fixation test.
  7. Susceptibility to Infectious Diseases – Can be used as sentinel animals because of their acute susceptibility to Coxiella burnetii. Mycobacterium sp. Listeriosis.
  8. Similar Immune System to Man – Guinea Pig immune system possesses a similar antigen-macrophage interaction to man and delayed cutaneous hypersensitivity reaction.
  9. High Dietary Requirements – For folic acid, thiamin, arginine and potassium make guinea pigs useful in nutrition studies.