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One of my newly born guinea pig babies has formed a black crust…

One of my newly born...
One of my newly born guinea pig babies has formed a black crust around his upper lip in the past couple of days, and it seems to be getting worse! What causes it? Should i take him to the vet? He is only about 2 weeks old though.

Thanking you for your assistance.
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Answered in 19 minutes by:
8/5/2012
Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 23,021
Experience: General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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Thank you for your question.

The signs you are describing with Oscar sound like Chelitis (example) It is often bacterial based (caused by a skin bacteria called Staph) but can also arise because of a skin infection with yeast or in some locations there are is a pox virus that has been attributed to the development of this skin disease.

You can salt water bathing (1tbsp salt to a point warm water) a few times daily and applying a tiny amount of triple antibiotic ointment in a thin layer twice daily (we don't want him ingesting this since it can affect his GI microflora and cause more problems). If you try this and it isn't settling he will need to see the vet so the lesion can be checked for yeast and appropriate medication initiated (ie oral guinea pig safe antibiotics +/- anti-fungals for the yeast).

Now the skin problem is his primary issue but be warned that if he isn't eating well because of the facial discomfort then you must keep him eating. Going off their feed can cause serious issues for guinea pigs and can even be fatal. So, if he isn't eating well, then consider starting syringe feeds using Oxbow’s Critical Care feed (LINK). This is a highly nutritious herbivore feed that can be easily made into a slurry for syringe feeding. And it is much easier to use then trying to create a balanced critical care diet at home. Your vet or some pet stores will carry this. A good outline for hand feeding ill guinea pigs here (LINK)

Drinking-wise, this needs to be monitored well since dehydration will also be a concern. Therefore, do try and encourage him to drink by offering fresh water. You can also offer electrolyte solution, like pedialyte or diluted Gatorade (50% diluted with water). These will help replenish electrolytes and get some glucose into him system if he hasn’t been eating. You can also give pedialyte via dropper of syringe. A typical dose for animals is 4.8mls per 100 grams of body weight per day (obviously divided over all day drinking).

Overall the skin disease needs to be addressed, but so does the associated and even more serious issues. Therefore, you can start treating the lip at home but if it isn't settling then don't delay in getting him seen. Depending on the vet's finding they will be able to provide the appropriate treatment to settle down the sore mouth of this little one. And the sooner the mouth is settled, the sooner Oscar can get back on track and get back to eating on his own.

If you don’t already have a exotics vet, and wish to find one near you, check http://www.aemv.org/vetlist.cfm . If you are struggling also check here (http://www.rabbit.org/vets/vets.html), since most rabbit vets will treat other pocket pet species as well.

I hope this information is helpful.
Please do let me know if you have any further questions.
If you have no further questions, feedback is always appreciated.

All the best,

Dr. B.

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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
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Satisfied Customers: 23,021
Experience: General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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Hi Richard,

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

nekovet
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