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

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