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Guinea Pigs/guinea pig hair loss


My daughter has 4 young guinea pigs. they have bald spots behind their ears. Is this normal?

She is convinced they have mites or worse. What shampoo would you recommend and where can we find it?

Adams spray
Adams spray  
All guinea pigs have a little bald spot behind each ear. My personal feeling is that God put that little bare patch in just the right spot to plant a little kiss if you're holding your pig on your shoulder close to your face. So no, they don't have mites.

The evidence of mites is typically a "V" shaped break in the coat on their back. The mites seem to gravitate to the back where the pigs can't quite reach them and they will chew their coats in an attempt to scratch the itch. The V is always pointing to the head with the open part nearer the rear.

If you are concerned about mites you can buy a product called Adams Spray. It's available at any pet store. Make sure you cover their eyes, then spray the pigs good and wet with the spray. Let it dry by itself and the mite problem is gone. It actually smells nice and leaves the coats shiny and smooth as well.  

Here is a picture of the spray so that you know what it looks like. There is also a dip that you can use as well. I use that if I suspect or see lice, which look like tiny little pieces of thread that will move when you spread your finger through the coat. They are species specific and will not get on anything or anyone but guinea pigs, so don't fret that you have to bomb the house with bug spray if you ever see that.

For the dip you simply follow the directions on the bottle. Dip the pig up to it's neck, then let it drip dry. That's extremely important. No blow dryers or towels. The bathroom sink is an excellent place to mix the solution because it doesn't take very much water.

Of course this is just FYI in case you really suspect something like that.

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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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