Guinea Pigs/Guinea pig

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Question
I've had my guinea pig for 7 months. I lover her and spoil her. Lately I've been noticing really abnormal behavior. She has been scratching a lot more than usual. She doesn't want to be petted or touched as much and begins to cry when I attempt to pick her up and I took her crying as a red flag. I have read that she may have mites. I tried inspecting her fur for little red bumps or rashes but she seems to have a bit of dandruf. She is eating a little bit more than usual. I just want to know if there's something wrong with her and if there's any way I can help her before needing to take her to the vet.

Answer
What you are describing is a classic case of mites. You will not see the mites or will you find any evidence of rash or redness. Most pigs will chew a v shaped area on their backs from chewing on both sides.

The best treatment is Adam's Dip, available at any pet store. Mx according to the instructions. The best place to use it is in your bathroom and sink. You need a basin large enough to dip the pig in up to her ears. Be careful not to get any of the solution in the eyes or ears. The water only needs to be about three inches deep. You can use a small cup to pour the solution over the pig's coat, getting it completely saturated.

This is the most important part: DO NOT DRY THE PIG OFF. Allow it to drip dry. You can put her in a small box with a towel on the bottom and allow her to stay there until dry enough to go back to the cage.

Don't use any other brand of dip as I've found they do not work as well. There is also a spray made by Adam's, but for bad infestations which as your girl has the dip works best. You can repeat the treatment in ten days. That should take care of the mites, eggs and any lice if she has them as well.

I hope this helps you. Please don't hesitate to ask if you have any other questions.

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Pat VanAllen

Expertise

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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