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Guinea Pigs/Guinea Pigs Age and Shedding and Bitting



Hello I have 2 Sows piggies Molly is all white with brown and Black spots around her eyes and on her ears she is your average pet store pig short hair she is very vocal and has bit me once really hard on my chest and she freaks out if her back and hind end is touched plus she is shedding a lot and with it being December i thought it was kind of weird I also have her cage mate Rosie a solid black with a few tan patches she is an Abby and she seems to be a lot less vocal like all she knows how to do is Rumble and purr and chatter her teeth she will squeak occasionally and larger and I have no Idea how old they are or how to tell is their anyway to tell their age I adopted them from Petco they were surrendered to them from another family than you Tamar. Oh and how can I get the girls to be a little more at ease with my 9 and 8 year old son and daughter

Adam\'s Dip
Adam's Dip  
Both girls are very cute. Molly is an American (her breed) and her color is a TSW or tortoise shell and white. A TSW is red, black and white.  I do not think Rosie is an Aby, but rather a Peruvian whose hair has not been kept wrapped to allow it to grow to a showable length. The tail on the rear is what makes me think she is more likely a Peruvian. On most black pigs, especially those with long hair, the undercoat fades, leaving what you're seeing as tan patches.
But of course that has nothing to do with the question at hand, just FYI.

Guinea pigs do not typically shed unless there is a health issue of some kind. I believe that problem here is one of mites. Please be assured that there is no danger to humans as these mites are species specific and will not get on any animal but a guinea pig. Most pigs have a few mites all the time, but they are no problem to the animal. Once in awhile they get out of control and the pig becomes agitated and the coat begins to dry and sheds.

Biting is a common symptom in a pig that was never a biter before. Some pigs, such as Aby's and Peruvians can become really agitated and uncomfortable if you stroke their hair in the wrong direction.  Both Aby's and Peruvians have rosettes all over, causing the hair to have the stereo typed pattern that it does.

In the Aby the hair is shorter. It's nearly impossible to please an Aby with petting because no matter how you try you're stroking something in the wrong direction, hence the nipping. Peruvians are a little calmer about it because the hair is longer, lessening the irritation of backwards petting.  Best example is to have someone run their hand through your hair from the neck to your forehead. You can see how irritating that it. It just doesn't feel good.

Most frequently the first sign of mites is a 'v' shaped break in the hair on the back. The pig cannot completely reach the top to chew at them and it leaves the v shaped cut.

The treatment for mites is an easy one. Go to any pet store and purchase some Adams Dip. It's in a blue bottle and says for puppies and kittens. Get the smaller bottle, as you need very little to do the job.  

The best place to treat is in your bathroom sink. Fill the sink with about 3 inches of water. Add the solution and stir to mix it. It is not a danger to your skin, but if you'd prefer you can use gloves to protect yourself. It has a pleasant fragrance and doesn't seem to bother the pigs.

Put one of the girls in the water solution, gently pour the solution all over their coat begin careful to avoid the eyes and ears. You want the coat completely saturated.

Now here's the most important part. Do NOT towel dry, blow dry or pat dry the coat. They must drip dry. You can put a couple of towels in the bathtub and let the girls stand on that until they are just damp. Then just put them back in their cage.

Mites do not get onto the hard surfaces, but to be sure you can wash down their cage with the solution you dipped them in.

I'm attaching a picture of Adams Dip. It also comes in a spray but for pigs with long hair the dip is more effective and minimizes getting the spray solution in their eyes and ear.  

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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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