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Guinea Pigs/guinea oig cuts


My guinea pigs get these sort of calluses on the feet from time to time. I asked the vet about them and they said the were normal and to just pull them off. Today I was looking at one of their feet and I noticed one so I pulled it off and I ended up pulling off healthy skin. My guinea pig started bleeding so I put a piece of tissue under it. She has stopped bleeding but the skin is raw and I don't want it to get infected if I put her back in her cage. I don't want to go to the vet unless
I absolutely need to. What should I do?

Nail cutting scissor clippers
Nail cutting scissor c  
The vet was half right and half wrong. They are calluses just like we get on our feet, especially the heels, during the summer when we wear flip flops and the skin gets dry and tough. He was wrong to tell you to pull them off. As you found out it pulls healthy tissue and it bleeds...... ouch!

They are very common and are almost always on the front feet only. They will grow and get quite long. To remove them use a small pair of scissors and cut them off, making sure you aren't down to the healthy skin. You can leave just a piece of the callus on, that way you know you're you're not going to make it bleed.

It's also been my experience that sows seem more prone to this than boars and for that I have no explanation.

I use a small pair of nail clippers that are made for trimming cats nails. They have a little curve on the bottom blade that makes it easy to slip the callus into to that little curve and clip it off. You can also easily see just how close to the skin you are. Those calluses are made of the same material as fingernails, so there is no sensation or pain when you cut the callus. Of course cutting into the skin is a different thing.

I don't know if you can see the little nail scissors well enough in this picture. I get mine at either K Mart or sometimes one of the 99 cent stores. They're inexpensive but if you go to a large pet store they naturally charge a lot more. At K Mart they were about $3.

As for putting her back in her cage, don't worry about infection. They seem to be resistent to that kind of thing when it comes to sores on the feet, etc. And for future reference you can use flour or corn starch on the bleeding to help stop it. Of course applying pressure with a piece of tissue works as well, it just might take a bit longer.

I hope this helps you and makes it easier for you to deal with these things. You don't need to tell your vet he should have his hand slapped for telling you to pull them off. I'm sure he doesn't just pull a loose cuticle off a fingernail on himself as that causes the same kind of pain.  

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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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