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Dr. Joey
Dr. Joey, Board Certified
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 4723
Experience:  15 yrs in practice, specialist canine/feline medicine
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Took guinea pig to vet last month for an impaction problem

Resolved Question:

Took guinea pig to vet last month for an impaction problem and happened to mention he also had a problem with dander and itching. Vet told me to wash with t-gel shampoo. Gave 1 bath and noticed 2 weeks later he has a large bald spot with a scab on his right backside. Was it the shampoo?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Joey replied 5 years ago.

Dr. Zoe :

Hello, I'm Dr. Zoe. First, I do want to ensure the impaction issue is resolved. This is a serious long-term issue in older male guinea pigs. If not, I can give you some discussion on this problem. There really is no cure.

Dr. Zoe :

Second, with the bald spot and dander, if he is also itchy then I suspect he may have mites. This is the number one problem associated with hair loss, dander and itching. Your vet can prescribe a product called Revolution for puppies/kittens which is a topical you apply once every 14 days for 3 doses and will clear. I do not think the shampoo caused the hair loss.

Expert:  Dr. Joey replied 5 years ago.
IT does not appear you are available to do a chat. Please let me know what questions you have.

-Dr. Zoe
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for the information. As for the impaction, he is an older male guinea pig and I was instructed to clean the area daily. It also has seemed to improve lately and he is having regular bowel movements. He was checked for mites by the vet a month ago and there were no problems. Is this a problem that could arise so quickly?
Expert:  Dr. Joey replied 5 years ago.
Mites are VERY hard to find via skin scrape. If a guinea pig is losing hair and itchy I always recommend treating to rule it out as a possible cuase since the treatment is so easy. But if your vet is absolutely confident it cannot be this then I would reocmmend screening for ringworm and/or bacterial skin infection.

Fecal impaction is not an uncommon problem for male guinea pigs. The impacted/stuck feces are probably cecotrophs that he cannot ingest directly from the anus as he's supposed to. Male GPs with rectal impaction are still able to pass the usual, harder droppings past the softer and moister cecotrophs stuck within the anus.

The first question that pops into my mind in these situations is whether the GP is overweight... sometimes this can make it difficult for the pig to ingest the cecotrophs properly if he's more on the "market weight" side of the scale. If so, you might recommend reducing the amount of pellets in the feeding, and encourage more exercise to reduce the weight.

The exact cause of fecal impaction is unknown. However, this could be an issue resulting from stretching/weakening of the muscles of the anus. In this case, there isn't much that can be done. Unfortunately, once these signs develop, the pig may need to have the cecotrophs removed on a regular basis for life. The treatment for this is to smear lubricant inside the anus and squeeze out the feces manually. I have never found any particular diet change improves the issue.
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