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Guinea Pigs/Guineapig skin problem


Guinea pig
Guinea pig  
QUESTION: Hi, I was wondering if you can help me. My guineapig has a skin problem and I'm not sure what it is or what i should do to help her. Ive attached a photo. Thank you for your help.

ANSWER: This is unusual to get two pictures at the same time of the same problem. I need to ask the same question that I did of the other reader and that's: where exactly is this on the body? It appears to be on the rear end of the pig, is that correct?  

Without meaning to sound evasive I have to ask a couple of other questions first. 1. How long has this been there. 2. Have you used anything on it? 3. This is going to sound like a silly question but are you sure this is a female?

The reason for the question is that males have a gland on their bum that excretes a greasy substance apparently attractive to females. The young boars don't seem to develop it until around a year old. The grease builds up and the hair over and around it pulls out very easily.

If you would bear with me and send me a picture of the whole pig I can get a better idea. I apologize for not having an instant answer for you, but with your help we can hopefully figure this out.

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QUESTION: Thank you for getting back to me. I got my guinea pig from a rescue centre 2 years ago and they told me she is a girl. i am quite sure she is because i had a neutered boy before and i got her so he had some company and they got on well but he died a few months ago. yes the skin problem is on her back, i have attached some more photos. it started off as a tiny red scab like thing about a week ago which came off. i gave her a bath with some guinea pig anti bacterial shampoo and put some cream called 'johnsons tea tree skin cream to sooth and calm itchy skin'. i noticed she had this before, i did the same thing and it went away and the hair grew back. this time it has got worse, more hair has come off and the patch is quite big now. although it has not got worse from yesterday but has not got better either. She also has a large round lump underneath on her belly that has been there for a long time, i dont know if that has anything to do with it. the vet said its probably a tumour but i decided not to risk remove it as it stopped growing and it was not affecting her.

Thank you so much for the new pictures. That helps a great deal. Because of the position on the back I think what she has are mites. They tend to gravitate to the top of the back as that's the hardest place for the pig to reach to scratch them.

I would suggest that you get some Adams Spray or dip from your pet store. It says on the bottle that it's for puppies and kittens, but it's also good for treating mites. If you're using the dip you just mix it according to the instructions on the bottle. It doesn't take very much. The secret is to dip the pig completely except of course for her head and face.

I very often use the bathroom sink, as it's small enough for the job. You can also use a shoe box shaped container made of plastic to mix the solution in. Use warm water,just be careful it's not too warm. If you can put your wrist in the water and barely feel it then it's the right temperature.

Sit her in the water solution and using your hand just gently pour it over her entire bag. You want her soaked completely. Here's the most important part: do not dry her off. Don't use a hair dryer or even a towel. Just put a towel down and let her drip dry.

One treatment should be enough. All pigs get mites, so it's nothing you've done or not done. It's just part of piggy life and is not a problem unless it gets so out of control that they begin losing all their hair and scratching incessantly. If you have any other pigs you can use the same bowl of water and treat them all at the same time.

As for the tumor on her belly, she very likely has an ovarian tumor. It's fairly common in sows, especially those who've never been bred. They are rarely malignant and should not cause her any problem. The expense and risk of anesthesia and surgery is not worth the risk of losing her to the surgery. So don't feel any guilt for not trying to have it removed. She will be fine and still live out her life with it.  

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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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