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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 5818
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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hello there i am very very worried about one of my guniea pigs

Customer Question

hello there i am very very worried about one of my guniea pigs as she has a very deep wound on her side and it is very deep and very worried what coul;d be wrong wih her as it dont look very nice and not sure what i can use on her to treat it and to try and heal it up so so sorried and she has missing hair around the wounded
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 9 months ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

I share your concerns about Amanda if she has a very deep wound on her flank. Now if this wound is full thickness through the skin and possibly into the muscle layer, then the best thing to do would be to have a vet stitch it closed (just as a doctor would if we have a deep wound). This will be the best way to help a gaping wound to close and heal. At the same time, they can dispense guinea pig pain relief (since human pain medications are dangerous and toxic for guinea pigs) and antibiotics (since skin wounds are often infected).

Otherwise, if her wound is more like a scratch and hasn't gone through the skin layer, then you can keep it clean by salt water bathing it (1 tablespoon salt to a pint warm water). This should be done a few times a day. To help keep bedding and anything in a shallow wound, consider removing any shavings or bedding and keeping her on a soft solid substrate (ie wash cloth, newspaper, etc). This way we won't have to worry about bedding getting stuck in the wound or contaminating it. Otherwise, you will be limited with what you can do at home for this wound. I know it will be tempting but do avoid using any human antibiotic cream on this wound or giving any human antibiotics. The reason is because this is a species with a very delicate GI microflora (good bacteria) and use of non guinea pig safe medications (either given orally or if she were to lick it off the wound) could cause her to develop a fatal diarrhea.

So, move her to a cage without bedding and bathe the wound. If the wound is only cutting into the skin but not all the way through, then you can bathe the wound and consider seeing if her vet will dispense guinea pig safe antibiotics to prevent infection. But if this wound is as thick as I fear and goes through the skin layer or further, then this will need stitches to close the wound and aid her healing properly.

Just in case you don't already have a guinea pig vet, you can check http://www.aemv.org/vetlist.cfm or http://www.guinealynx.info/vetlist.html . If you are struggling to find one, then also check here (http://www.rabbit.org/vets/vets.html), as rabbit vets often see our wee pocket pets as well.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.

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Remember that if you have any lingering questions or concerns, please reply so that we may continue our conversation. I will be happy to work with your further and do everything I can to provide you with the service you seek. Please remember to rate my answer when you are satisfied (with4-5 stars or a happy face) so that I may receive credit for my assistance. Thank you & have a great day. : )

Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 5818
Experience: General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
Dr. B. and 4 other Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
not correct
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Relist: Inaccurate answer.
not the anwser i was looking for,
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
this is the pic of my female guniea pigs wound graphic
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 9 months ago.
Oh dear! That is horrific for Amanda.

I have just seen your photo and that is a terrible wound for your wee one. I have to say that I am quite surprised that this only just appeared because the wound looks old and infection appears to already be quite advanced as this is already festering with pus.

Now since guinea pigs often do not have access to items that could induce such a severe acute wound, I'd be concerned that she may have had a smaller wound previously that infected the tissue leading to an abscess that has not ruptured. Otherwise, we'd have to be worried that there may be a cancer underlying this that has compromised local tissue blood flow leading to tissue necrosis and infection. And just to note, we have to appreciate that there is more to this then the wound alone, since you can see the puffing out of the lower margin, which suggests that this infection is extending down under the wound as well.

I appreciate that you were keen to home treat this but with the severity of what you have shown me, there are no home treatments for this. Furthermore, this wound severe enough, the tissue damage and infection extensive enough that surgical repair by a vet would even be complicated. If the vet can close this, they would need to resect all that infected tissue (on top of intensive guinea pig safe antibiotics). And I have to warn you that with this serious a wound, her prognosis is guarded and euthanasia might even have to be considered if this cannot be physically closed (since she cannot live a normal cavy life with this open).

Overall, this is a very serious wound for your little one. Therefore, it needs to be addressed quickly to give the vet the best chance of removing enough tissue yet having enough left over to surgically repair this. Or we really do have to consider letting her go to prevent her from suffering with this terrible wound.

Best wishes for Amanda,
Dr. B.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
so why do u think that she may have to be put down cant they lance it and give her aintbotics for it and pain relive
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 9 months ago.
Hello again,

The wound does not need lancing, as it is already open. Lancing of the lower portion would be unlikely to be beneficial and would just increase underlying tissue exposure to the bacteria laden world. If anything, it needs intensive flushing with saline and aggressive antibiotic therapy. And of course, poor Amanda needs cavy safe pain relief.

Now I cannot appreciate the overall wound size since the photo gives no landmarks to compare the wound to (ie wound size to body size). This means I cannot tell you whether this is a wound/infection site is small enough to just be directly resected and removed from her as a whole (if it is small this would be a possibility) and the wound the closed. If it is that small, then Amanda would have a better chance.

That said, if the wound size is quite large and the whole area cannot be removed in one go, then we have to go back to thinking about surgical closure and infection management. And with those considerations, the depth, wound gaping, and infection do allow me to appreciate the state of this and let you know how severe this is. And it is because of this, I am concerned about her overall prognosis and noted that euthanasia may have to be considered. This wound is severe as well as being in severely infected state. The gaping edges are not laying anywhere close to apposition (the wound looks as if a little bomb has gone off under her skin) and it is questionable if there is enough skin left to close this even if infection wasn't present. If the tissue layers don't lay at least near one another, the body struggles to granulate and heal the wound. And with the appearance of the wound I suspect that even a vet will struggle to stitch that closed so they the skin can lay in a more healing friendly manner (though do note they wouldn't try to do this until the infection was cleared since sealing in infection would certainly not help Amanda either). Furthermore, there is so much visible inflammation and infection, any wound healing is going to be negatively affected as well.

So, lancing would not be of help with what you have shown me. Instead, we need her vet to examine this to determine if the affected area is small enough for complete surgical removal or whether this is too big and therefore needs, flushing, antibiotics, and eventual surgical closure.

Dr. B.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
my dad says it lookd like it is healing up as it does have abit of a scab on it.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 9 months ago.
Hi,

I appreciate his opinion but from what you have showed me in the photo, I cannot share his opinion. The wound looks far from healed and that infection and associated swelling are very negative prognostic indicators. As well, small furries and pus filled infections are a not a good combination and they are very difficult to treat.

So, I'd not risk Amanda's health any further and would strongly advise having this checked.

Take care,
Dr. B.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
why u think she would have to be put down and i may try and clean it up tonight and get all the puss out of it and make it look better
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 9 months ago.

Hi,

I am not saying that we should just give up on Amanda. Rather I am just warning you that this wound looks very serious, she is likely suffering, and if it cannot be repaired, then euthanasia may be our only option (unless you sought referral to a specialist surgeon who could perhaps use skin grafts).

At the moment, it is worth flushing the wound and having her vet start her on cavy safe antibiotics and pain relief. After that, it is a case of taking each day at a time. If she responds positively to treatment, then you'd want to keep going and hopefully the wound will settle and heal or allow for surgical closure. If she doesn't then that would be when we'd have to consider letting her go.

So, I am not saying she should be put down. I am instead saying that if you do the above and she doesn't respond to treatment it may be our only choice to keep her from suffering.

Take care,
Dr. B.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
but it strange as she is eatring and doing all the guniea pig things and she is not sore at all when i touch how on the wound with clean hand she dont squeek or notig so she isnt in pain as if she was in pain she would be squeeking and going on but she aint.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 9 months ago.

I appreciate you'd expect her to behave in pain, but remember that guinea pigs are prey species. Showing pain and deviating from normal behavior would make her a target for predation. Therefore, where we or predatorial species would show pain, they are reluctant to.

Still it is positive that she continues to eat and perhaps this is less painful then a prior abscess stretching the skin taut. We often see cats present in pain with unruptured abscesses but not show significant discomfort once they are ruptured because the pressure has been relieved.

Dr. B.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
i have cleaned up the wound and it looks abit better, here a photo

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Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Relist: Answer came too late.
Expert:  Camille-Mod replied 9 months ago.

Hello,

I'm Camille, and I’m a moderator for this topic. I sent your requested professional a message to follow up with you here, when they are back online. Unfortunately I do not know when this may be, as the professionals come on line as they are available. You don't have to stand by, you will get an email telling you when you have received a response. If I can help further, please let me know. Thank you for your continued patience.

Best,

Camille

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 9 months ago.
Hi again,

I am afraid your last message came after I had already left the office to see my own patients. Still I have now looked at your photo and can say it looks cleaner but is still too deep to ask your wee one to heal on its own. I am still concerned about the depth and amount of missing deeper tissue, but in this photo I'd say surgical closure looks a bit more feasible.

All the best,
Dr. B.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.

hello there can the wound on my guniea pig make me sick at all as last night when my dad was cleaning her wound then i felt like i was going to be sick and sweating as i felt sick but can that wound make me sick from treating it,

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 9 months ago.
Hi,

Cleaning the wound is not likely to make you sick immediately after doing so. It is possible that you could ingest bacteria from the wound if you clean the wound and then do not wash your hands or handle food afterwards. This is why hand washing and good hygiene are important in situations like this. But just the act of cleaning would not make you sick on its own.

More likely, if you felt nauseous and had the sweats while cleaning the wound, it is a psychological issue. Often people who are not used to working with severe injuries will feel dizzy, sick to their stomachs, get sweaty or faint when having to view or handle terrible injuries.

So, its unlikely that you have caught something from this wound and more likely that your brain is struggling to handle this terrible wound.

Take care,
Dr. B.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.

i saw vet today and she has put her on antibotics and she said that should help and she said to try and keep the wound moist and put some healing gel on it and just want to know how can i keep it moist as i have tried putting a bandaid and bandage on but she is able to get it off so it is hard to cover the wound. anything i can do to keep it moist

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 9 months ago.
Hi again,

Most cavies won't tolerate bandages unless you put an e-collar on her (example) or make her a little tshirt to wear (that will cover the bandage and wound from her licking/chewing. That said, if you do place a e-collar on her you MUST make sure she can still at and drink (since we don't want her to starve or dehydrate because of the collar). In regards to moisture, you can periodically flush the wound with saline (ie sterile plain contact lens solution). Or if you have a healing gel, then too should lock in moisture and keep the wound moist.

Dr. B.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.

hello there i have had a bad weekend and i put 17 of my guniea pigs on the grass yesterday and they all die for heat stroke and i have 1 girl left as she was inside as she has a wound on her side. i am very worried that my last female is depressed as i got 4 other guniea pig mates for her and put her back in the cage where her cage mates where and put her up with the new ones and she runs away from them . i am now really upset from losing 17 of her mates and worried she is depressed now as there no longer here. please help asap

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