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Guinea Pigs/guinea pig babies


QUESTION: Hi, my two soars have had babies four days ago and one died, at the same time another has some how gone bould all down its back and the other four have a few bold spots too, has the mothers done this or ard they ment to lose theif fur? Its my first every time havi g guineapigs and babies so im not sure what to do? I cant ask my vets as they said they dont deal with guineapigs, should i be worried aboutt the babies?  x

ANSWER: I'm not sure I'm understanding exactly what you're trying to say. Please forgive me for struggling with it, the spelling is distorting the whole picture so bear with me.

Are you telling me one of the sows died or one of the babies? Baby guinea pigs are not supposed to lose their hair. There is one breed called a Baldwin that is a hairless breed of pig. The pups are born with all their fur, but they begin to lose it after a week or so.  

There is another breed called a Skinny Pig that is also hairless, but they are born that way except for little tuffs of hair at their ears and on their nose. Unlike the Baldwins they're born the way they will look as they grow up. Baldwins start out with hair then lose is all over, so by the time they're three or four weeks old they are completely bald.

If your babies are losing hair their parents may have carried this gene. If however, the mothers are also losing hair there is probably an infestation of mites or mange that's causing this. The mothers aren't pulling or chewing the hair off the babies.

Without seeing a picture of your babies I can't really tell you if you have pups with this Baldwin gene or whether they have something contagious like mange.  It would be a real help if you could send me a picture.

If you go online and search for "hairless guinea pigs" you can see picture of both of the different types.

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the baby
the baby  
QUESTION: Sorry my phones touch screen and hard to type on, it was  baby that died, the two mothers are both long haired so they are not bold and it cant be mange or mites cause they live in cages in my room, and get cleaned out every two days, im worried as its realy cold so will the baby be ok? I tried to attach a picture  but it wont letme, il try again

Your picture did attach and it does help. This spot is not typical of a Baldwin baby so I don't think that's the problem. It's possible the mother pulled the hair out in an attempt to clean the baby.

Keep an eye on the pup to see if the balding gets worse. It just may be a result of an over zealous mom trying to clean her baby up. Stillborn pups or those who die the first few days are far more common than we'd like to see. It's nothing that you've done wrong, it's just one of those unavoidable things.

The baby looks otherwise healthy. If it were something like mange the mother would have had it first to pass it to the baby. Mange is a fungus that can easily be brought into your household by having had contact with an animal you didn't know had it. Just living in your house doesn't always prevent those things.  But careful hand washing before and after handling your pigs will do a lot to prevent anything like that.

The baby may just grow a nice full coat in no time at all.  

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Pat VanAllen


As is sometimes the case, people in urgent need of information have a higher degree of expectation than those of us as experts are able to give. The experts on this site do their best to give the most accurate and responsible answers possible. We ask that you remember that it is not our intention nor place to criticize the professional advice given by your veterinarian, nor is it appropriate for us to comment on the correctness of a diagnosis made by a licensed physician. Our knowledge is experience based. Although many years of breeding and showing cavies gives me a wealth of experience it cannot change the fact that we as experts are not veterinarians and therefore may occasionally have to reject questions that appear to be asking us to criticize advice given by the licensed professional. Having raised and exhibited cavies for many years I have extensive experience in cavy care and husbandry. I currently have an active breeding program for pedigreed show animals but do not encourage backyard breeding for inexperienced owners. Although I don't encourage breeding for fun I'm always happy to answer any questions from an owner who is in sincere need of help. Pet owners wanting to breed should understand that even experienced breeders have litter losses. The mortality rate is high in cavies. The chance for losing both sow and pups is always present, even with experience. Although this is a site for experts to assist owners, there is no expert in any field who has all the answers. The wisest thing a good expert can know is their limitations. Not having an answer does not diminish one's ability or knowledge. It simply shows that we recognize our limitations and operate within them.


Raised and shown cavies for many years, having aquired my first cavies in the early 1970's as pets. My caviary currently handles 65 + animals in two different breeds and several varieties. Having been in the health care industry as a licensed nurse for 35 years I have hands on experience with care and needs in both humans and cavies. Member of American Rabbit Breeders Association and American Cavy Breeders Association.

Awarded Lifetime Membership in of one of the oldest cavy clubs in the United States, on whose Board I served as Sec/Treas for six years and currently serving as President. Also editor/publisher of the club's quarterly newsletter. We are strong supporters of our youth exhibitors, most of whom are 4H members who are working on cavy projects. Through these projects they become good responsible citizens. We deal with all aspects of showing, breeding, caring for and sharing experiences in the fancy. The cavy fancy is not a new one but in some areas is still relatively unknown. Our goal is to inspire interest in high quality, responsible breeding to improve the species, not just the reproduction of guinea pigs. Our job is to educate owners to help them make the right decisions and choices in the care of their cavies.

Graduate in nursing. Certified in emergency medicine.

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