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Question
My daughter has a guinea pig that is having a problem with his foot. He was find until she had to move and take him in a carrier after that his foot became swollen and red. they put a antiobioc ointment on it and she said it seem to get better but today when she picked him up he had a spot that just started tp bleed ( same foot) he had had a spot tht lost the skin. what could be causing this. She wants to take it to vet but I know they are expensive.  Thanks

Answer
Bumblefoot
Bumblefoot  
If he was in a wire bottom carrier he may have a pressure sore. There really isn't anything the vet would do other than what you are doing.

There is a condition called "bumblefoot" that occurs in pigs for no reason we can explain. The pad of the foot (usually the front feet) gets very swollen and sore. It will bleed easily when touched. In all the years I've raised guinea pigs I've never been able to effectively cure this condition, nor have any of my breeder friends.

There was a gentleman from England by the name of Peter Gurney. He was considered by many to be the "Guru of Guinea Pigs."  He wrote many articles and books about various conditions and treatments, having been unsuccessful in finding knowledgeable vets experienced in caring for these little guys. Below is a copy of what he wrote about Bumblefoot.

I've attached a picture of one of my sows who had this problem. It didn't seem to bother her unless I handled her and put any pressure on or touched the foot, at which point it would bleed. This is one of the more severe cases I've ever seen.

If you wish to google the website simply type in Peter Gurney. He has since passed away but blazed a trail of knowledge in guinea pigs as pets and is still referred to today. Here's what he wrote on this condition:

BUMBLEFOOT  
As one of my first guinea pigs died because it was given a drug which was toxic to the species when I took it to a vet for treatment for this condition, I have very strong feelings about it. I have yet to come across a single case of Bumblefoot which has caused a serious hazard to the overall health of a guinea pig.

The symptoms are swelling of the footpad, with causes the skin to break and over which scabs are formed. The owner is usually alerted to this by the guinea pig limping. A great deal of research has gone into trying to uncover the cause of this condition but I have yet to read any veterinary medical book which has come up with a convincing answer.

Sometimes Bumblefoot can occur when there is an overall mycotic problem and the use of the prescription only drug, GRISEOFULVIN seems to clear this up in tandem with curing the mycosis However it is unclear whether this is a result of the anti-fungal properties of the drug or the anti-inflammatory ones.

In the main I leave well alone, for after a while the swollen tissue in the foot will calcify, the limping will cease and the animal will carry on as though there were no problem at all.

As there are other causes for swollen foot pads, obviously the guinea pig should be checked out by an expert before deciding what, if any, action is to be taken.  

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Pat VanAllen

Expertise

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.

Experience

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.

Organizations
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.

Education/Credentials
Graduate in nursing. Certified in emergency medicine.

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