Son allergic to his guines pigs any suggestions?

(7 Posts)
Willow2016 Tue 23-Aug-16 20:24:06

My son has 2 gp's. Pestered me for them for ages after we spent a farm cottage holiday with 'pig' people and he was smitten smile At first we thought he had a lingering winter cold, then hay fever....then it slowly dawned on us as it became very much apparent that he is allergic to his piggies. sad

I have taken over the mucking out as he cant go near the cage during that time without running eyes and sneezing his face off (really painful sneezes)

I wondered if it was the sawdust and we have changed to paper based bedding and will see if that has any effect but not too hopeful.

We have tried anti histamines, doesnt do a thing, masks ( I knew it was a long shot but we tried anyway) nope.

He is becoming less interested in them (as in he really suffers if he spends any amount of time with them) as he has such a reaction to them and although it would be heartbreaking I have been considering the idea we will have to get rid of them. I would keep them but bringing them into the house for petting, with him in it would kind of defeat the purpose of him not reacting to them!

They are two males, had them nearly a year. They will happily sit on your knee (or your chest) and be fed tastey morsels and be fussed over and have a nose about in the house but they still dont like the actual act of being picked up! They play catch me if you can! Will come to the cage and 'greet you' as piggies do shouting ' "what you got for me to eat then?" They are totaly different characters and we would be sorry to lose them.

We have spent a fortune on a good two tiered cage and a large metal run for them (which attatches to the cage so they can come out the downstairs small run and go into the big run area if they want) Would it be cheeky to ask for money for the cage & run if we gave them away?

If anyone has any suggestions on how to minimise his reactions they would be greatfully recieved.

P.S. I would vet any prospective owners first and not just give them away willy nilly. Its a rural area and chances are I would know anyone who inquried about them.

MeadowHay Tue 23-Aug-16 20:35:15

Are you sure he is allergic to the pigs and not something else, for example hay? He could be allergic to the hay. I would get him tested for allergies to hay, sawdust, guinea pig urine and dander etc through your GP first. It can be hard to guess what is causing an allergy and a simple patch or blood test can at least give you that information. The GP can also recommend allergy treatments. There are lots of different antihistamenes, often if OTC ones haven't worked the GP will prescribe fexofenadine which is suppose to be stronger - not sure if that's an option for a child but the GP or pharmacy will know. There are also nasal sprays and eye drops available, it's worth chatting with GP and/or pharmacist for all the options.

Obviously I can see why you don't want to keep them long-term if your son is allergic to them. Have you looked at theguineapigforum.co.uk before? It's a brilliant website and they have a list of recommended rescues on there so you can find a rescue near you and contact them. The best way to rehome them would be through a reputable guinea pig-savvy rescue. Obviously you can't ask for any money for them or the equipment - you could sell the equipment separately if you wanted but personally I would just donate it to the rescue along with the guinea pigs as they will be taking on considerable expense to care for the pigs until they find their forever home. They will also neuter your boys if they haven't already been neutered which as you can imagine costs money.

Whereabouts are you? I might be able to recommend a good rescue.

Willow2016 Tue 23-Aug-16 20:58:35

Hi Meadowhay.
Thanks I will ask ask the surgery about allergy tests. It would be great if it was one thing we could remove and end his misery smile They have dust free straw bedding, (and a 'house' within their hutch for extra warmth in winter !) hay to eat every night and we are trying the paper based floor covering.

I am in Scottish Borders will google rescue centres if push comes to shove.

Fingers crossed.

Willow2016 Tue 23-Aug-16 21:05:01

P.D. they arent neutered as we were only having the 2 and they get on very well together.

Can I ask another question?

They have had drops due to mites, the vet said that they get them when stressed or rather they get the skin condition caused by the mites when stressed. Its just a tiny bit of dry skin on the base of their backs only about 3mm big, They have had 3 lots of drops in a year (last one just before they went on thier hols July to try to prevent it) but it keeps coming back. Am booking another vet appointment this week hopefully but wondered if you had any advice on this or experience on what the next step is by vet? It doesnt bother them, no scratching, just a little dry spot.
Thanks

MeadowHay Wed 24-Aug-16 11:00:05

My piggies haven't had mites and I don't really know anything about them except I thought they were a parasite and so some kind of medical intervention would be neccessary to get rid of them? I would advise going back to the vet as you're planning to do, but also sorry to plug theguineapigforum.co.uk again but it really is an amazing resource. There are lots of very experienced guinea pig owners there and if you post a thread on there I bet some people will know much more about it and what the next steps would be. There is also a website called Guinea Lynx which is very good for vet stuff. I've found this page which might be useful: www.guinealynx.info/furmites.html

Another thing is that the quality of vet's experience and knowledge with guinea pigs varies dramatically. Vets in the UK are not necessarily trained as part of their degree about guinea pigs so some are really clueless and often don't admit it. I can appreciate there may be little choice of vets in the Scottish borders though. The guinea pig forum has a recommended vets locator as well which you could have a look at.

I use fleece for my pigs bedding but that's just personal preference.

With the neutering, I understand totally why they're not neutered, but neutering male guinea pigs is a pretty straight-forward procedure and the reason rescues tend to always neuter the males is in case they do fall out then they can be placed easier and quicker with a female. Or in case one of them passes away then when looking for a companion for the remaining guinea pig there are more options available as they can be put with a female as well. I have two males as well and they are both neutered but they are rescues and the rescue neutered both of them before we adopted them.

Willow2016 Wed 24-Aug-16 19:51:58

Thanks again for your advice.
I will look on those websites later.

Apparently they all have them they just grow in numbers when they are stressed (like when we first bought them and brought them home to new environment) according to our vet. WIll see what they say at the appointment.

Might try the fleece to see if that has any impact on ds's sneezing smile
Thanks again.

MeadowHay Fri 26-Aug-16 17:34:56

Hope your little fluff-babies soon recover! And hope DS's allergies aren't too bad too, poor thing. DH and I are staying at my parents' at the moment and they have two cats and DH is allergic to them so I am seeing how awful a pet allergy is!! He is having to take daily anti-histamenes which is not such a big deal while he is here visiting but we couldn't get a pet cat as I don't think it's a good idea to be taking them indefinitely really.

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