You are here:

Guinea Pigs/Possibly sickly guinea pig


We have a Guinea pig named Jack Jack that we've had for  almost a year. My son picked him out from a local pet place.  In the last 2 -3 months we've noticed a bulging lesion(walnut in size) under his chin/throat area that one day burst on its own. Then he started having seizure like activity with brief shaking & blank stares, it only lasts seconds , now he's losing hair & has this thick white firm almost dandruff like white stuff throughout his fur.  He squeals when we pet him, not sure if he's in pain. he is beige in color I'm worried one day I'm gonna find him dead in his cage. Any suggestions on what this condition might be??

Guinea pigs will sometimes get a subglottal cyst under the chin that does just as you've described and ruptures. However, the seizure activity is not likely related to that.

Any kind of seizure activity is a deep concern and would suggest perhaps a brain lesion of some sort. If he's losing hair he may have a severe case of mites. They could possibly be causing this dandruff and hair loss. That's easy to treat.

First give him a good bath. Soap him up well and wash thoroughly through the coat. Rinse him as good as you can. Wait one day, then give him a dip in some Adams dip for mites and flea.  It's a dog and cat product but is safe for guinea pigs. We've used it for years and every breeder is well familiar with it.

Mix it according to the instructions. You can use your bathroom sink. Use lukewarm water, mix the solution in the water, then put him into the sink and carefully pour the solution all over him, being careful to avoid the eyes and ears. He must be thoroughly soaked.

Don't use a towel for anything but holding him on until you get him back to his cage or have a plastic container/box to sit him in to drip dry. Put a towel on the bottom and sit him on it. It's very important that he just drip dry.

If the wound is still open don't get any solution inside the open area. Put a wash cloth over his wound to prevent it getting inside. You may have to have another person help you so someone can hold him upright with just his butt in the water while you pour the solution over him.

Let him stay on that towel until the coat is almost completely dry. If he's a longhaired pig it will take longer. You can repeat the dip in one week.  If he has either lice or mites this will take care of them.

Mites are something that all pigs get and we don't really know where they come from, especially if he's not been around other pigs. They are species specific and will NOT get on anything but a guinea pig. They will not get on your or your other pets, so don't be concerned about a possible outbreak in the house.

Good luck, please let me know how he does. And if possible please send me a picture of him.

Guinea Pigs

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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.

©2016 All rights reserved.