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Guinea Pigs/Male guinea pig has white growth on his ear

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QUESTION: Hi,

My one year old male Foster guinea pig has something growing on his ear. It looks fungul to me. I will get him to the vet asap. But my question is: Can this spread to my rabbits? Thank you!

Bag Balm
Bag Balm  
ANSWER: I'm not sure that's fungal but you're right, it does appear that way. However, fungus is spread by direct contact so I doubt it would affect your rabbits.

I'd suggest that the first thing you try is the easiest and that's Bag Balm. You're probably familiar with it as it's been used for many many years for a number of different issues. If you don't have any you can purchase it at any drug store as well as most grocery stores. The cans come if various sizes from very small to very large. It's greasy feeling and has a eucalyptus smell to it. It's a bit of a wonder treatment for many things.

Rub a little bit on the dry spots and see if it's just the result of dry skin. If it doesn't respond within two or three days I would get some Lotrisone ointment, again available at any drugstore. It doesn't have to be any special brand and you'll notice that it's the same ingredient and same strength as the tube sold for athlete's foot as it is for female yeast infections. What you are looking for is the name Lotrisone. That's the generic name.

If it's fungal it will respond within a few days. Same procedure, just rub it in once a day right on the dry spots.  Since it contains a steroid you don't want to over use it. Once daily is all it needs. Between those two choices one of them should work. I always recommend trying the non steroidal treatment first.

In the meantime be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after you've handled this pig so that in case it is fungal you don't want to risk carrying to your bunnies.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you so much! I took him to the vet, and a skin scrape showed fungus. The cream has worked great, his ear looks so much better. But now I have another question.
He's scratching his left side, by his hip, almost constantly. I would assume it's more of the fungus, but his skin looks fine and there's no hair loss. Could it still be fungus? I hope it's a spider bite or something like that.
I'm very concerned about putting the antifungul cream on his side because according to the package it's pretty toxic, and he could easily lick it off. What should I do?
Thank you again!

Answer
Adams dip
Adams dip  
If it were fungus you should have seem something by now to indicate that. The most common cause of scratching in guinea pigs is mites. We don't exactly know where they come from, although if one pig is a caviary has them they all do.

There are a couple of different ways to treat for mites. I would suggest you get some Adams dip. It's available at any pet store. Just buy a small bottle if you only have one or two pigs. Mix it according to the instructions.

The easiest way is to use your bathroom sink. Put some warm water in it and add the dip solution. Put the pig in the water and gently pour it over him to get him soaking wet. Be careful to stay away from his eyes and ears.

The trick to success is to not towel dry or use a hair dryer. This is important. Put him on a towel and let him drip dry. The dip actually has a very nice smell and will leave his coat soft and shiny. One treatment usually does the trick. But mites, like fleas, will return so it's a good idea to do this every couple of months.  

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Pat VanAllen

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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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