Blizzard is not your average guinea pig.
Blind, deaf and missing his bottom teeth – the little critter has a particular set of needs, and has adapted well to his unique abilities, as he feels his way to get around.
Now, Blizzard is looking for a very special home which has a guide guinea pig to help him – but will he find it in time for Christmas?
Blizzard arrived in RSPCA care earlier this month after being signed over by his previous owner.
Rebecca Alber from Danaher Animal Home, in Essex, who are taking care of Blizzard and a number of other guinea pigs from the same home, says: ‘Blizzard is from a multi-guinea pig household. Their owner had become overrun with piggies and decided it was in their best interests to find them new homes so we took a number in for rehoming.
‘It soon became clear that Blizzard was not your average guinea pig. This sweet lad, unfortunately, has some health problems which have been caused by his genetics due to his colouring, known as “lethal white”.’
Staff quickly realised that Blizzard is completely blind and deaf, and also has no bottom incisors.
‘This means his top incisors will need regular burring down to prevent them from overgrowing and hurting him or preventing him from being able to feed,’ adds Rebecca.
The ‘lethal white’ gene, or microphthalmia, occurs when breeding certain colours of guinea pigs together. This is an issue that can also cause problems in other species, such as merle-coloured dogs.
‘Lethal white’ guinea pigs are genetically compromised and usually have serious health issues and can have shorter life spans.
According to the Royal Veterinary College, ‘lethal white’ guinea pigs occur as a result of a recessive gene carried in roan and dalmatian coloured pigs.
‘Lethal white’ guinea pigs lack pigmentation so are always white with pink eyes and are almost always blind and deaf.
Taking Blizzard home will be a real responsibility, and any prospective adopters should consider the financial commitment of his needs and the lifelong care he will need.
These guinea pigs may also need a single-level cage with a fixed layout to help them navigate. They will need regular dental and vet exams and it’s important to monitor their weight closely.
‘Thankfully, Blizzard’s health issues don’t seem to affect him or his quality of life too much as he was born this way and it’s all he’s ever known,’ Rebecca says. ‘He manoeuvres around his enclosure well, by feeling his way, and only occasionally bumps into things. He doesn’t panic though and just heads off in a different direction.
‘We would love to find Blizzard a loving new home with owners who understand his health conditions and can ensure that he has a wonderful life, however long he has left.
‘It’d be amazing to find him a girlfriend or a bestie who can nurture him and be his eyes and ears.’
Blizzard is just one of thousands of animals the RSPCA has rescued this winter. The charity is urging the public to Join the Rescue this Christmas and help our frontline rescuers be there for more animals in need.
To find out more about Blizzard, visit the Danaher website.
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