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guinea pig losing hair ...is this the end

(17 Posts)
bambinibop Tue 06-Jan-15 16:25:55

sad my last guinea pig started going bald one day quite suddenly then the next day she died. Her companion had died shortly before so I think it was stress. This guinea pig still has her companion and I can't think what can be causing stress but don't know why else her hair is falling out. We haven't changed her environment in any way.

Any ideas? She is about 4 years old. My last guinea pigs unfortunately died around this age so I'm expecting the worst here...

bambinibop Tue 06-Jan-15 17:51:50

Hopeful bump

70isaLimitNotaTarget Tue 06-Jan-15 18:53:06

Very sad
There's lots of reasons for guineas losing hair-
mites is most common
scurvey (lack of Vit C)
hormonal (Ovarian tumours) in females
stress
stress related barbering.

TBH all my guineas that have gone To The Bridge , none of them lost hair except my first piggie, my boar when I was 9yo. Poor soul had a bolshy mate (who ultimately caused his death, not that I'm blaming her you understand) he was a stressed cavy, had a stress related eczema.

I think unfortunately when they are going to 'go' you are hard pressed to stop them .

I'd start with the obvious. Is she protected against mites?
Does she maybe need a Vit C supplement?

Is she still eating and poohing or has she sort of 'lost it' ?,

bambinibop Tue 06-Jan-15 20:54:27

Hi thanks so much for replying

She is eating I'm sure I mean it's sometimes hard to tell when there are 2 of them because I know the food is disappearing but don't know how much of it she is eating. She is definitely still squeaking for veg and she takes it and eats it and I do see her at the food bowl. As for poo again it's hard to tell but I think so! She isn't as chubby as the other pig but she never has been. She doesn't seem to have "lost" it she's squeaking and she jumped out of her hutch onto the grass earlier when we put them outside.

I have never had a guinea pig who had mites before so I don't know much about it...She isn't protected against them no sad

She has some fresh veg every day plus her nuggets so I'm fairly sure vitamin c isn't an issue...

I think I'll take her to the vet tomorrow perhaps they will know if it is mites? I really can't see why she'd be stressed she seems to get on fine with her companion she doesn't fight with her.

bambinibop Tue 06-Jan-15 21:03:55

We do think she has lost a bit of weight but not suddenly just over the last few months but thought that was maybe just her getting older. Just not as fat as she once was really. I guess the vet can weigh her and see if she is underweight sad I don't like to think of her suffering

Pinniemummy Tue 06-Jan-15 21:08:12

We thought we were going to lose our boar 18 months ago - he lost lots of fur, then started scratching so much that he was fitting. It was horrible to watch. The vet gave a steroid injection to help him with the itching and prescribed drops and cream to treat the skin. We also gave additional vitamin c by crushing a 100 mg tablet and dissolving then syringe feeding him with the mixture. We bathed him in mite shampoo (Google gorgeous guineas) and he was pretty bald at one point. He made a full recovery and is now 5 years old and looking great. Good luck!

bambinibop Tue 06-Jan-15 21:12:47

Thanks I'll ring the vets tomorrow

She is drinking a lot this evening not sure if that means anything! We have just given them some apple and she definitely ate hers. Fingers crossed

bambinibop Wed 07-Jan-15 15:37:15

Well the vets was a total bloody waste of time I'm fuming! Made an appointment for this afternoon and told the lady that it was for a guinea pig who was losing her hair. The vet we saw said and I quote "I don't know much at all about guinea pigs!" Right....so anyway he felt her over briefly and looked at the bald patches, asked a couple of really obvious questions I.e has she gone off her food and had the other guinea pig lost any hair. He then said it was unlikely to be mites (didn't say why but I assume because her companion doesn't have the same problem?) he asked if she was drinking lots and we said yes but he didn't say why that was relevant. He then said it might be a hormonal problem but he can't do a blood test because he isn't trained to for guinea pigs?! Then he gave us a phone number for a specialist guinea pig vet in another town.

We were charged for the consultation and after arguing that they could have told us on the phone that he didn't have any experience in guinea pigs she agreed so give us a discount but still cost us £24.00!!

He offered to treat her for mites but we can't afford to treat her if it's very unlikely that's what the problem is!

I'm at a loss now as to what to do, I don't want her to suffer but I fear that if I go to the specialist they will charge me huge sums of money that I just don't have. I'm on maternity leave atm so money is tight.

sad dh has suggested we give it a few days and see if she gets worse or better. I think she looks a bit skinny but I could be just comparing her to the other one who is fat. She's definitely eating because I've seen her.

Sorry for very long post but I'm a bit upset by the whole situation! Fed up!

70isaLimitNotaTarget Wed 07-Jan-15 21:50:55

Unfortunately, a lot of vets aren't guinea-savvy (I drive an hour true to take my pigs to a Guinea-Pig Clinic when they need seen. Thankfully rare, but when my GP2 was ill, and my GP3 needed neutered, we did the trip)

Guinea-pigs can get diabetes like any other mammal, maybe thats why they were asking about drinking alot?

I'd start with the basics (when you hear hoofbeats it's more likely to be a horse than a zebra yes)

Skin is likely to be mites, lice, fungal or ringworm.

Wash her with a treatment shampoo (look at the Gorgeous Guineas website, email them for advice and look at their photographs). Mites can give a snapped off hair shaft.
You are best to treat both pigs and change all the bedding. (I steam my Pigs house and use Vikron S spray solution)

I use Xeno 450 ( though I know not everyone recommends it as some pigs react).I have to make sure mine don't groom each other , it's the boar who does this mainly. You can't treat and shampoo together, I'd leave a week or two between.

Ringworm isn't treated by Xeno 450 but mites and worms are (my hogs graze so I want to protect them).

My boar went through a soft pooh phase, I got some probiotics and Vit C to boost him, combined with cutting his veg and upping his hay/pellets.

We will try anything for these animals, won't we.

You could wait till you see the other vet , they might do a scrape and have a look for mites, but as you say, if you start blood tests and scans , you are looking at ££ and then what? If they find anything, do you want to go down the route of treatment?
(Cover your ears guinea-pigs but IMHO, their quality of life comes way ahead of their quantity. I;d much rather they have 3-4 happy spoiled years than 6 years of vet trips and medication/surgery. That sounds clumsy but hopefully YKWIM)

Would you be able to put a photo of guinea -piggie on MN and we can all hopefully shed some light for you?

70isaLimitNotaTarget Wed 07-Jan-15 21:54:21

Actually, one thing you can do is the hay- change the batch you are using.
And alot of guinea-pigs carry a mite population, it just flares up when they are stressed, otherwise it's not a problem.
Bit like my coldsores.

sanfairyanne Wed 07-Jan-15 22:38:04

as 70isalimit says really

i would just deal with this at home, rather than a vet. try the gorgeous guineas shampoos and melts for skin infections. they also do a soothe gel that you could use on the bald patches. perhaps also try ivermectin drops but not at the same time as the shampoo/melts

i wouldnt expect this to be fatal and wouldnt expect much from my vets either, although i have finally found one who seems good with gpigs

bambinibop Wed 07-Jan-15 22:39:52

Thank you for your reply I will definitely try and put a photo up tomorrow of her. The bald patches are on her stomach and bum and look kind of stubbly .

I will look at getting some shampoo then and look at the website you have recommended

I just felt really let down by the vet I've never had this trouble before so I didn't even consider going to a specialist vet but now I know!

I agree with you on quality not quantity of life my main concern is that she might be suffering but seeing that she is eating and her behaviour hasn't changed as far as I can tell I don't think she is. She isn't scratching I don't think which might be the other reason he didn't think it was mites.

I wouldn't put her through numerous vets visits or treatments that would interfere with her quality of life I was just hoping the vet would recommend something really

Thanks again

bambinibop Wed 07-Jan-15 22:44:07

Would it make a difference that she is long haired and maybe her hair got matted and she pulled it out? We do brush it but maybe missed a bit or something. ...just wondering

sanfairyanne Wed 07-Jan-15 23:14:35

www.guinealynx.info/hairloss.html

i like guinea lynx for medical advice

70isaLimitNotaTarget Fri 09-Jan-15 08:53:01

Stubbly snapped off hair on the rump is a classic mites pattern.
Can also be a hormonal sign (especially as sows can be prone to uterine tumours) but cross the first hurdle and assume mites at first.

She might be pulling her own hair (though any long haired hogs I've owned have never bothered about any snaggly bits, GP3 walks round with half a field in his fur )

Best way to find a vet is look online at the "Our Staff" bit and it'll tell you what their specialities are.

Good Luck.

FernieB Fri 09-Jan-15 12:59:25

Definitely check out vets own websites. Under their staff, they quite often list not just their specialities but the pets they have. I chose my vets mainly because a lot of the staff have rabbits/guinea pigs. Luckily they're only a 10 minute drive away.

I did try a different local vet originally but when I took my previous bun, the receptionist was quite rude and the vet didn't speak to my rabbit. At my current vets they make a huge fuss of the pets and the reception staff always greet them. I think that's a good way to judge a vets.

Hope your piggie perks up.

siobhanm1 Sun 11-Jan-15 22:57:51

Hopefully it's nothing, my piggies always used to mult, bless their souls.
Hope he/she gets bettersmile

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