Ayr’s dedicated guinea pig rescue and rehoming centre is experiencing difficulties following a rise in the number of piggies being given up since Christmas.

The good folk at the centre on Hope Street have had to increase the amount of time and money spent on caring for their furry friends as a result.

They say a number of guinea pigs that have been surrendered to them have come in with health problems such as bumblefoot – a painful swelling of their footpads – breathing issues, and ringworm.

That, of course leads to expensive vet bills and the centre say they’re feeling the pressure.

“We have piggies galore in the centre, which sounds great as loads of cuddles but with it comes the stress and heartache,” said a spokesperson from the centre.

“We have had trips to the vets and with baths, the heating has been on almost 24/7.

“Bath mat washing has doubled as they need changed twice as much, hay consumption has increased. Bin collection has doubled to keep up with waste.”

The volunteer-run centre has never before had to say no to somebody looking to give up their guinea pigs but the current situation means they’re having to ask people if they can hold onto their piggies for just a little bit longer as they are so overwhelmed.

They added: “Every day we get messages, emails, calls, etc from families needing advice, some looking to potentially adopt (which is fantastic) but many looking to surrender.

“Never since the day we opened have we had to say to anyone to wait but with even more limited space due to pigs in so we have had to ask people to wait, this we hate doing. If we had more housing, money and weekday volunteers things would be different.”

As a volunteer-led organisation, the centre is dependent on support from the public through donations and the like. Now they are appealing to the public again to help them through their dire straits.

The spokesperson said: “If anyone would like to help us with raising funds, then there are a few things you could support us by: maybe buy something from our wishlist; enter our calender competition; join in with our monthly newsletter; pop in and buy from the gift shop; or maybe donate the cost of a coffee.

“Our bills are much higher than our income this winter with everything, so every penny helps.”

The rescue centre's Amazon wishlist can be found here.