Boehringer Ingelheim has announced that its NSAID, Metacam 0.5 mg/ml oral suspension for cats, is now licensed for the alleviation of mild to moderate post-operative pain associated with soft tissue surgery in guinea pigs.

Metacam is the first NSAID to be licensed for use in guinea pigs, and with it come the first guidelines for appropriate pain relief in this species.

Molly Varga, BVetMed DZooMed MRCVS, RCVS Specialist in Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, said: "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."

Boehringer says that although signs of pain can be difficult to identify in guinea pigs, there are a few which indicate that the patient needs assessment and treatment:

  • Grinding teeth (a slow steady grind of the molars, different from chattering)

  • Reluctant to move or walk

  • Shivers or quivers, can sometimes see rippling along the body

  • Sits hunched, with hair spiky

  • Whimpers

  • Loss of appetite

  • Breathing may be heavy and laboured

The company adds that as the only licensed NSAID for use in guinea pigs, Metacam 0.5 mg/ml oral suspension should be considered for use in all soft-tissue surgery cases in this species.

Alongside the launch of the new indication, Boehringer has produced:

  • An interactive online dosage calculator to help with quick dose calculations. The company says higher doses can be used based on clinical judgement, allowing for tailoring of doses to individual cases.

  • A dosing dish and syringe to help owners administer Metacam at home.

  • A series of expert short videos, supported and narrated by Zoo and Wildlife Medicine specialist Molly Varga. The video series includes a guide to recognising pain in guinea pigs, dosing regimes and an owner video for accurately administrating Metacam at home. 

The dosage calculator and the expert videos are available at https://www.boehringer-academy.co.uk. The dosing dish and syringe can be ordered directly from your Boehringer Territory Manager.