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Dr. Taus
Dr. Taus, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 505
Experience:  Veterinarian with experience in equine and small animal medicine.
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Hi our guinea pig has lost some hair and she looks like she

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Hi our guinea pig has lost some hair and she looks like she has eczema. She has been scratching till she bleeds. What do you suggest we give her.
Hi there,

I'm sorry to hear that Flash is so itchy! Guinea pigs are quite susceptible to mites and lice. While they can only get lice from other, infected guinea pigs, many pigs carry mites that their immune system keeps under control for a long time. When they are stressed (as simple as a weather change), ill, or sometimes for reasons we can't determine, the immune system loses control of the mites and they get itchy skin and hair loss. (Don't worry-- these bugs are host-specific, meaning their claws are too small to hold on to human hairs. You won't get mites from your pig.)

Revolution for cats works very well in guinea pigs and is very safe. It can be applied on the skin of the back of the head/neck every 2-4 weeks. I don't recommend other topical products because they can be very toxic to rabbits and guinea pigs even at doses that are ok for dogs and cats. You should be able to get Revolution from your local vet (even if they don't see a lot of rabbits and rodents).

It's also not unusual for pigs to set up secondary skin infections from scratching. These infections are itchy and a vicious cycle of scratching and infection can start. If treating with Revolution doesn't solve your problem, there may be an underlying infection that needs treatment with antibiotics. A vet will need to look at impressions of your pig's skin under the microscope to choose the antibiotic that is most likely to work in your case. Sometimes Revolution is enough; sometimes we have to treat with antibiotics too.

If you're using wood shavings or paper shavings as litter, switching to paper towels until the itching is under control is a good way to keep the cage clean and get the bugs out of the environment. Of course, you should also be sure that you are feeding a balanced diet consisting mostly of grass hay with a small amount of pelleted food each day so that your pig has all the necessary vitamins and minerals to grow healthy skin.

I hope this is helpful. If so, please rate me positively, and don't hesitate to let me know how I can help further.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I have two guinea pigs in the cage with flash and they are ok. Could it still be mites? Wouldn't they all be ok. Flash also seems very hungry.

It could still be mites. I can think of two ways she could be the only one affected.

-The other pigs' immune systems are keeping their mites under control.
-Flash is more sensitive to the mites than her cage mates are, and her scratching has started a skin infection.

To know for sure, we would need to put a scraping or impression of her skin under a microscope and look. These are just the most common reasons for guinea pigs to have signs like the ones Flash is showing.

It's good that she's hungry-- loss of appetite would make me worry about an underlying medical condition. In little animals like guinea pigs, just the increased physical activity of scratching and moving around and can make them use up more energy and be hungrier.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Should I treat all guinea pigs?

Yes, I'd encourage you to treat all 3 of them with Revolution, empty out their bedding, clean the cage and replace bedding with paper towels.

If they were my guinea pigs, I would treat with Revolution and if that was unsuccessful, I'd look at the skin under the microscope to see if there's a bacterial infection or something we are missing.
Hi Grace,

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

Dr. Taus