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Guinea Pigs/Treatment for dry skin due to hormonal hair loss


My guinea pig was diagnosed with an ovarian cyst last spring, but due to her being six years old, she is too old to risk spaying. She has had a great amount of hair loss to her abdominal region, thighs, and shoulders over that period of time, and each area has some really dry dandruff covered skin (which I guess is caused by both the cyst and her lack of fur). She even has an ugly dry patch under her neck she does not like me going near and her hair is getting thin around her face from itching.

Since there is no real way for me to have her spayed, my question now is how do I treat the symptoms? Her dry skin is obviously making her very uncomfortable but no matter where I look there are no sites that tell me what to do simply for dry skin without going off into treatments for mites and lice. I've had her seen by the vet twice and I know her condition is not parasite related. I don't want to use human lotion on her because she might ingest it when she grooms, that and it just has "bad idea" written all over it for her skin.

Is there any type of moisturizer you have come across, organic or just medical, that would be safe to use on her skin? I would really like my old lady to be a little more comfortable.

I would use olive oil. It's got no perfumes and is edible,so if she licks it it's not going to harm her.  Rub some in your hands then rub her wherever her skin is dry. Olive oil doesn't go through the processing that so many of the vegetable oils do, so that's why I prefer it.

You're right, this isn't parasite related. It's the hormonal upset from the ovarian cysts. At this point she deserves to be kept as comfortable as she can, and if it were my faithful old girl I wouldn't hesitate to use olive oil to help keep her from being so dry and uncomfortable.  

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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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