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Guinea Pigs/abscess is bleeding


Hi Pat,
My guinea pig, Pogo, got an abscess a few months ago, so we took him to the vet and they put a tube in to drain it(its on his neck under his chin.Eventually got the all clear from the vet. After a while though it started getting bigger (about golf ball sized), so we put bacteria ointment on it which made it shrink dramatically(size of a bean about). I just cleaned it again today and was going to put some more ointment on it when I noticed it was bleeding, and it does hurt him when I touch it. I am wondering if it is just part of the abscess draining or if I should be concerned also, if there's anything I can do at home for him. Thanks for all your help!

Abcess a few days after opening
Abcess a few days afte  

Healthy tissue after 7 days of treatment
Healthy tissue after 7  
It sounds like what he has is a sub glottal abscess. For some reason they are not unusual in guinea pigs. I have drained and treated many of them. I have a theory that they may start from a scratch under the chin as the pig uses his back legs to scratch himself. Their nails are sharp and the skin is easily broken.

Most of these are caused by staph, which even we humans carry on our skin all the time. When the skin is broken by the back nails (which usually have poo stuck on them) an abscess results. The only way to rid them of it is to open it and drain it. Putting the drain in helps to keep the pus from building up and making it worse.

If the skin closes while there is still bacterial staph inside it will simply keep on building up. In most cases if it's showing blood that's a good indicator that there is no pus. I know that sounds counter productive, but if there was a pus buildup you'd see it. If it's just a little blood that's actually a good sign. Yes, it's tender and painful to touch because it was opened and a drain put in. Again, that's normal.

If you have a syringe of any kind you can just use warm water to gently squirt into the wound to help keep it clean. They can be very persistent and difficult to get rid of but with patience and continual care they will heal.

I've attached a picture of a pig that was brought to me by a Kindergarten teacher and 'Ethyl' was the class pet. This was probably one of the worst I've seen or treated but she did beautifully well and after two weeks was returned to class as good as new. The abscess was the size of a ping pong ball.  

The second picture shows the skin around the opening pink and there is no longer any dead tissue around it as in the first picture. There's a saying in the medical field: The answer to polution is dilution.  That means wash it, wash it, wash it. Cleanliness is the key to success in healing these things.  

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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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