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Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 11378
Experience:  40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
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My two older guinea pig sows have been losing their hair. One

Customer Question

My two older guinea pig sows have been losing their hair. One , much faster than the other. I don.t ever see them scratching . They also appear to have lost weight. I feed them G.P. timothy pellets, fresh veggies ( usually kale or one of the leaf lettuces, carrots and they always have fresh water and access to salt. In their room I also have 4 other guinea pigs and a domestic rat and two rabbits that don't seem to be affected by this. What is it? what can I do? Is it contagious?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Anna replied 4 years ago.

I apologize that no one has responded to your question sooner. Different experts come online at various times. I just came online and saw your question. I'm sorry to hear your Guinea pigs are having a problem. Some additional information will be useful.

Exactly how old are the Guinea pigs?

What kind of bedding/litter do you use for them?

What does the skin itself look like - normal, flaky, red, sores, etc.?

Is the hair loss symmetrical on both sides of the body?

Is there more fur loss on some parts of the body than others?

Check under their chins and around their mouths. Is the fur there damp or caked with dried saliva?

Thank you.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I got them as adults so Im just guessing as to their ages. I would say at least 3 years old. The skin seems tobe red in certain places as if they were scratching at it. The teddy Guinea Pig has more hair loss than the american short hair. hers is under her chin and her chest and around her neck, The other one has hair mainly missing on her sides. I normally use the Carefresh recycled paper bedding. I don't see any damp hair or caked saliva. It started with The american short hair . I noticed she had a small patch of hair missing on her right side. Then I noticed a small patch on the other side. the next thing I know the teddy has lost most of her hair and has what appears to be red skin underneath that looks like it has been scratched. The most alarming is the weight loss though. At one time they were my largest G.P.s. Now they are among the smallest. Help!

Expert:  Anna replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for getting back to me. Are these two in a cage together? Are any others in with them?
Expert:  Anna replied 4 years ago.
Did you see my reply. If not, I asked:

Are these two in a cage together? Are any others in with them?
Expert:  Anna replied 4 years ago.
It appears there is some bug preventing notifications from going through. Because of that, I'm going to go ahead and give you some information. There are many causes of hair loss and skin problems in guinea pigs. Most of them require diagnosis and treatment by a vet. I'll tell you a bit about them in a moment.There is another possibility in your guinea pig's' case.

When guinea pigs share a cage, they usually spend time grooming each other. Sometimes a guinea pig will get carried away with that grooming, and chew hair off. This is called "barbering." Many times, the hair will just be shorter in the barbered area, but sometimes they will remove all the hair to the skin. Barbering occurs most often on the sides, but can occur in any area.. If you want to find out if that is what's going on, you can put a grid of some sort in your guinea pigs' cage to separate them. Or, you can put them in two separate cages next to each other. Keep them close together (but not so they can reach through to each other's fur) because it would be traumatic for them to be totally away from each other. If barbering is the cause of the hair loss, you should see some color appearing on the bare skin within a week, and some new downy fuzz within two weeks. Barbering is not usually a health concern, so you may choose to put your guinea pigs back together even if barbering is occurring.

If the hair doesn't start growing back, there is some other skin problem. Mites (which can be nearly impossible to see) are one possibility. Bacterial or fungal infections are other frequent culprits that cause such symptoms. Hormonal imbalances are less common, but can lead to the same thing. Very old females are most likely to have hormonal problems. There are even more possibilities. To read about the various possibilities:

All of these parasites and conditions require treatment by a vet. There are remedies you can buy in pet stores, but they don't work, and if you pick the wrong one, it can make things worse. This link will take you to a directory of vets who are familiar with rabbits and guinea pigs:

As for the weight loss, hormonal imbalances can lead to weight loss. Mites can drive guinea pigs so crazy that they fret and scratch until they lose weight. The most common cause of weight loss is a dental problem. Because your guinea pigs are suffering from both fur loss and weight loss, it would be best to schedule a vet appointment. However, if you want to try separating them first, that is another option.

If you have more questions about this, just let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope your guinea pigs will be fine.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

What ids the correct dosage of Ivermectrin for a guinea pig?


Expert:  Anna replied 4 years ago.
I'm sorry but I cannot legally give you information on dosing, but I can direct you to a website that will give you what you need:

This is for topical application which is what you'd want to do for external parasites. If you want instructions for giving it orally:

I hope this helps.

Expert:  Anna replied 4 years ago.
Hi Candice,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Honey And Mama. How is everything going?


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