Medical Definition of Guinea pig

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Guinea pig: 1.Cavia porcellus, also known as Cavia cobaya, a plump rodent native to South America brought to Europe by the Spanish conquistadors. Often kept as pets and once very widely used a laboratory animal for research. 2.By extension, someone (or something) used as a subject of experimentation. In this sense, the term "guinea pig" may have negative connotations.

The name guinea pig is of unknown origin. In the pet trade, the term cavy is often used.

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Reviewed on 9/7/2018

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