How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. Barbara Your Own Question
Dr. Barbara
Dr. Barbara, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1614
Experience:  Over 30 years experience in veterinary medicine and surgery.
56364752
Type Your Cat Veterinary Question Here...
Dr. Barbara is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

We just got two guinea pigs a week ago. I think they are

Customer Question

We just got two guinea pigs a week ago. I think they are abyssian - longer haired. One of them scratches itself several times a day throughout the day and sneezes on occasssion. The other one does not seem to itch or sneeze much. I have read about the guinea pigs maybe getting mites, but I don't see any major symptoms (e.g., blood, fur patches missing), but I have only had them for such a short time. Do I need to take him to the vet? Thank you,
Sue S.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Barbara replied 1 year ago.

Hi Sue,

Welcome to JustAnswer! I'm Dr. Barbara and will be happy to be of help to you today.

Guinea pigs can get mites, but they can also have allergic dermatitis from food or things they are inhaling. Mite infestation will need to be specifically diagnosed by your vet, and I recommend that you take her in for a skin scraping and microscopic exam.

Expert:  Dr. Barbara replied 1 year ago.

I would like to ask you a couple of questions too. Does your itchy pig have any visible skin scale? Also, did her itchiness and sneezing begin after you got them?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We noticed the itching and occasional sneezing as soon as we had them. We have not seen any skin scales, but since they are so new to us, we have not handled them a whole lot.
Expert:  Dr. Barbara replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for your response! The most common type of mite infestation is Chyletiella which is very superficial and causes dandruff like scaling ultimate (and usually). Certain beddings can cause allergies which can manifest as itchiness and sneezing. Also fleas and food can cause allergic dermatitis which is itchy.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I need to take her to a vet to be sure?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am using the same bedding and food that the store (Pet Smart) used.
Expert:  Dr. Barbara replied 1 year ago.

You just answered my next question. . .reading my mind!?

Expert:  Dr. Barbara replied 1 year ago.

I think that would be the best. It doesn't sound like she is extremely ill, but mites will not only grow worse on her but also infest your other pig, as well as locally on humans that handle her. If this is all due to an allergy, most likely to her food or bedding, then she had this when you bought her since you are wisely using the same bedding and food. Also, your vet will be able to make suggested changes for her bedding as well as her food.

Expert:  Dr. Barbara replied 1 year ago.

I am standing by, just in case you have any further questions. Hope this information has been helpful to you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok thank you. I will bring her to the vet.
Expert:  Dr. Barbara replied 1 year ago.

Great! I know that your vet will be able to diagnose the problem and initiate treatment to get her pruritis (itchiness) and sneezing resolved.

Best of luck to you and your new little pigs!

Dr. Barbara

Expert:  Dr. Barbara replied 1 year ago.

Hi Sue,

Wondering how your little pig is doing. Would love to hear!

Dr. Barbara

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi- We took them to the vet. She did not see mites but decided to treat them anyway. The one is already scratching less. Thanks.
Expert:  Dr. Barbara replied 1 year ago.

Very good news that your little pigs are itching less. Don't know if your vet did a skin scraping and viewed that microscopically, but if she did not, the mites would be difficult to impossible to see.

Sure hope all continues to go well and you enjoy your new little pigs.

Happy New Year!

Dr. Barbara

Expert:  Dr. Barbara replied 1 year ago.
Hi,
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Dr. Barbara