Leaders at Britain's Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals are concerned about the number of guinea pigs being abandoned.
According to officials, the number of guinea pigs coming into care between January and August has risen by 90 per cent in the last two years.
The heartbreaking statistics were released as part of Guinea Pig Awareness Week (26 - 30 September) to raise awareness of the suffering faced by hundreds of small, furry creatures.
In the first eight months of 2020, the charity's frontline officers took in 91 guinea pigs and this rose to 111 in 2021. Already this year, 173 have come into RSPCA care - an increase of 90 per cent.
The RSPCA's recent research through the Animal Kindness Index found that the cost of living crisis is of huge concern to pet owners with 68 per cent of pet owners worried that the cost of care was increasing and 19 per cent troubled about how they'll afford to feed their pets. It is feared the cost of living is contributing to the overall rise in animals being neglected and abandoned.
Already this year, the RSPCA has had 445 incidents reported to the charity from people worried about guinea pigs - more than half of these were concerns about neglect and 50 were cases of them being abandoned.
These incidents equate to more than 50 incidents per month involving almost 350 guinea pigs.