Check out the important information on this page and discover who can legally treat your guinea, and what the Animal Welfare Act means for you and your animals. This information is relevant to the UK.
Who Can Legally Treat Your Guinea?
You - As the guardian of a guinea pig , you can give whatever treatment you want to your them (but not treatment that involves intrusion into the animal's body), subject to the Protection of Animals Act 1911. This Act requires that if an animal is clearly in need of treatment by a Veterinary Surgeon, the owner must obtain this. Owners are therefore expected to seek Veterinary care if they are concerned about the health of animals in their care.
A Veterinary Surgeon - Under the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966, no person is allowed to make a diagnosis or practice as a Veterinary Surgeon unless included on the Veterinary Surgeons Register.
Veterinary premises need to be registered with the RCVS in order to supply medicines from 01 April 2009. There is also a document giving guidance on the registration requirements and professional obligation for record-keeping.
Animal Welfare Act
The law relating to the welfare of animals changed on 6 April 2007 in the UK. The Animal Welfare Act is now law and anyone who is responsible for an animal will have a legal responsibility to meet five basic needs for each of their animals:
- Ensuring that the animal has a proper diet, including fresh water.
- Providing the animal with suitable housing.
- Each animal needs to be housed with, or apart from other animals (so guineas need guinea friends, not rabbits).
- Animals need to be able to express normal behaviour.
- Protection from, and treatment of illness and injury.
This new law should help to provide greater protection for animals. Under the previous law, people responsible for animals could only be prosecuted for cruelty after suffering has occurred. Often this came too late to save the animal from lasting injuries or even death.
The Animal Welfare Act now enables the RSPCA to act earlier where animals are being kept in a way that is likely to cause suffering. There is also a new Welfare Offence designed to protect animals from ongoing neglect each year. Owners will be legally obliged to care for their animals properly, and failure to do so could result in a fine or even a prison sentence.
To download the full document click here (PDF format)
RSPCA pet care advice for guinea pigs
To check out the RSPCA pet care for guinea pigs click here