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Please help with Guinea pig mite problem

(11 Posts)
HelenaBonhamCarter Sat 05-Sep-09 11:37:39

We got our pigs in February and they are out in their run on the grass most days, however they come in at night into the hutch.

About 2 months ago one of them was squealing occasionally and when i examined her, I found flaky skin on her back along with several raw patches/scabs.

Took her to the vet, who gave her some injections. Took the other pig in with her a fortnight later as although the scabs had healed on the first pig, she had new raw bits and he reckoned pig 2 was passing mites abck to her. So they both had a jab, I swapped them into a different hutch, and all was fine for a while.

I stopped giving them hay for a month, but then someone advised me they ought to have 24hr access to it so yesterday we went and bought some new hay, from a different shop, and i gave them some in their hutch.

This morning I examined pig 1 again as she was squeaking a lot. She is bleeding again sad
It can't be that sudden, there are a couple of raw places she's scratched - surely not from one night of hay? I have to say I hadn't checked her in the last couple of weeks.

I'm not sure what to do or what to think, and am feeling rather desperate about it as the injections are £10 + consultation every time, for each pig, and it's getting v expensive. Is there anything else I can do?

And if the skin problem isn't from mites/hay, what's causing it? He found no mites on the slide he did last time but didn't know what else to suggest.


HelenaBonhamCarter Sat 05-Sep-09 11:40:48

Btw pig 2 is fine throughout all this apart from a little tiny bit of dandruff. Could pig 1 be allergic to hay or something? Do I need to cut her claws? <eek>

Pyrocanthus Sat 05-Sep-09 11:46:35

We've been lucky enough not to have problems with mites as yet, so I can't help much on that specifically, but if the hay is causing irritation, you can make a cheap holder for it by slitting a kitchen roll tube open and stuffing it with hay. Then they can eat it (and the tube!), but will have less contact with it on their skin.

We get hay by the occasional bale from a local farm - it's a fraction of the price of the pet shop stuff and usually much softer, but that only works if you happen to live in the country.

Good luck.

ZZZenAgain Sat 05-Sep-09 11:55:25

hmmm could be mites, ringworm, "barbering", dietary problem (lack of vitamin C), reaction to hygiene problems (clean more often).

Did the GP ever find evidence of mites then?I read if you scratch gently along their back and they turn their head around to nip at you, that's a sign they have mites. I don#t know an effective home treatment but there is a powder you can get at pets' shops with must be cheaper than going to the vet. Not sure if it works though. And of course clean the hutch and disinfect.

"Barbering" is they when a gp will pull another's hair out with their teeth, leaving patches of skin free. They may be re-establishing who is the boss or it can be caused by boredom some people suspect.

Make sure they are getting enough vitamin C (red peppers are good or if they are not getting it from produce maybe add it to
their water bottle?).

One of our gp had a patch on her back. I saw the other lying half on this one's back, biting out a mouthful of hair so suspected that was the trouble. I coated the one with patches in petroleum jelly for a couple of days on the advice of a friend which did the trick. I don't know why it worked exactly but can't harm can it?

i suppose the GP would have noticed if the gp had ringworm which seems to be another cause of bald patches. You will see a brownish ring on the exposed skin. I don't think you can handle ringworm without treatment from a vet ifthat is the case. It is highly contagious too unfortunately and can be passed to humans.

ZZZenAgain Sat 05-Sep-09 11:56:57

argh sorry I meant the VET would have noticed if the gp had ringworm.

HelenaBonhamCarter Sat 05-Sep-09 12:05:56

Zen, many thanks.

I will make efforts to clean out the hutch more often, it usually happens about once a week lately as they are out all day anyway so it doesn't get too mucky. But will do it more and see if that helps.

No mites seen, he looked for ages. It's not a generalised baldness - i ahd a GP with that once and it was mites, and sadly he died sad this is just little scabs and some flakiness.

Perhaps the other one is attacking her.
The vit C might be an issue, I give them general GP food mix, plus usually carrots or greens or apple every day (as well as grass) but they won't touch oranges. I ahdn't thought of pepper, will do it today!

It's not in rings so don't think it si ringworm. Just a little bloody bit of skin here and there.

Thankyou very much and good tip about kitchen roll as well. I got a big bag of hay from scats this time, the one they had when the problem started was from pets at home - i hate that shop!

I'm not sure what to disinfect the hutch with btw.

HelenaBonhamCarter Sat 05-Sep-09 12:06:36

Also she does try and nip when I run my finger up her back, but I know she is sore so maybe that's why - whatever is causing it?

beautifulgirls Sat 05-Sep-09 18:33:01

She needs to go back to the vet - it is not unusual for them to get mite problems more than once. Thought to be a lot to do with immunity and how resistant the gp is to infestation etc - not all gps will "catch" them. Often many are kept together and only one or two may show signs. Vitamin C increase can help improve the immune defences so worth doing, but basically she is going to need treatment for mites, assuming the vet agrees this is likely mites ...that is the most likely cause. Better to see them sooner rather than later too otherwise it takes a lot longer to get them healed and it horrid for the poor gp to live with.

HelenaBonhamCarter Sat 05-Sep-09 20:02:42

Thankyou BG. I will take her again asap.

The odd thing is though, that they literally were nowhere near any hay for about a month, no problems and then suddenly wham.

So I am wondering how she could have mites again, it just doesn't make sense. Unless they lay eggs in the hutch somewhere that hatch a month later?

silver73 Sat 05-Sep-09 21:56:15

My pigs have had mange that was sorted out by the vet and then got mites. For mites I used the Gorgeous Guineas stuff which was wonderful..

HelenaBonhamCarter Sun 06-Sep-09 06:51:40

Thanks Silver, I might try some of that. Love the logo!!

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