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Guinea Pigs/Balding back legs


I have three female guinea pigs that are currently 5 years old. Recently i have noticed that one of them has balding back legs. The skin and fur is clear and it's just on the outside of her back leg up to her hip. They were all treated for mites a few months ago so is it possible they have come back? I have also read that hair lose can be hormonal or a sign of ovarian cysts. I will be making a vets appointment but i just wanted to get some idea of what it could be.

Thank you.

You're right on both counts. It could indeed be mites again. Most breeders treat for mites about every other month. So yes, they can and do come back.

However, the area of balding does give the possibility of ovarian cysts. At 5 years old these are considered elderly girls now. The ovarian cysts are fairly common in older females, especially if they've never been bred.

As for what to do for them?  Most likely your vet will say do nothing, and I agree. An expensive surgery for a pig that age will not give you any guarantee that the problem will be solved. Your bank account however, will be considerably smaller.     

These ovarian cysts are rarely malignant, and although they can cause cosmetic issues like the balding legs, they don't really do the pig any true harm.  I would not put a pig of mine through surgery. The possibility of not coming out of the anesthesia is too great.

It would not hurt to treat her again now for mites, but as far as treatment for ovarian cysts you'll need to make that decision with your vet.  If it were my sow I would not risk her life by putting her through the ordeal.  

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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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