Princess & her cagemate were adopted from the local humane society in March 2009. They had been abandoned with a severe mite infestation. The humane society staff had only been treating Princess, who was clearly suffering.
Princess had deep, self-inflicted open wounds across her neck, shoulders & upper back, as well as hairloss in those areas and on her nose.
Upon being adopted, her owners immediately took her to a savvy exotics vet, who prescribed a course of Revolution for both pigs, Hibitaine cream to apply to the open wounds, and metacam to manage their pain.
In June 2009, despite repeated mite treatments of both Ivermectin & Revolution, Princess was still in a lot of discomfort & her owners turned to Guinealynx for assistance.
At this point, both pigs were being treated with Ivermectin via injection every 7-14 days (usually around every 10 days, depending on appointment availability).
A biopsy was done at this time, which confirmed the mites, but also noted that her immune system was attacking hair follicles at random, causing at least some of the noted baldness.
Foot wraps were started to prevent Princess from injuring herself when itching.
In July, Prednisone & Sulcrafate were started, in addition to the continued Ivermectin treatments. Prednisone made a noticable and significant difference. Itchiness was much reduced, the inflammation of her skin was reduced, and hairloss slowed.
However, the prednisone did cause a loss in weight every time the dose was increased, and as it depresses the immune system, it may have contributed to her subsequent ear & foot issues.
By the end of August 2009, Princess had lost almost all the hair on her face, and all the hair on her upper body to her waist/mid-line.
In October of 2009, Princess developed a hematoma in her left ear, which required surgery. Buttons her sewn onto her ear to help hold the two sides of her ear together and it was wrapped lying against the top of her head to help with drainage.
A second biopsy was done at this time to see if any further information could be gathered about Princess's continued hairloss & itchiness. The biopsy results came back and confirmed the first biopsy's results of alopecia areata with an immune system cause.
The inflammation they saw in the biopsy "is what we would expect to see in a situation of either ectoperasitism or of allergic skin disease" As both pigs had been intesively treated for mites with Ivermectin and Revolution, we were left with allergic response for her continued issues.
By the end of October 2009, Princess developed an infection in her rear, right foot. It was treated with antibiotics (Bactrim) and epsom salt foot soaks with an antibiotic rinse (tricide), but the infection got into her toe bones, resulting in a partial amputation of the foot. Prednisone was stopped at this time to allow her immune system to go back to normal.
A second foot infection in her front right foot occurred at the time of the surgery when Princess attempted to remove her IV post-surgery. This infection was successfully treated with antibiotics and foot soaks.
White flakiness started to develop on her skin in December 2009. By February 2010 it was becoming an issue, so she was treated with Nizoral baths & Revolution. Tests came back with no positive diagnosis at this time.
Antihistamines were started for her itchiness in March 2010 with a noticable improvement.
May 2010 Princess developed an ear infection in the ear that had the hematoma. The loose skin in that ear seems to have trapped bacteria, which caused the infection. It was successfully treated with antibiotics.
September 2010 Princess developed a new ear infection in the hematoma ear. It was successfully treated with antibiotics.
Most of November 2010 Princess was able to have her feet left unwrapped. The reason or the easing of her symptoms at this time is unknown. By December, her foot needed to be wrapped to prevent self injury again.
December 2010 Princess develops a hematoma in her other "good" ear. Treatment protocal was the same as the first hematoma (surgery, antibiotics, stents and bandaging). Princess caused the hematoma to recur when bandages were removed in January 2011. The surgery was redone, and bandaging continued until February 2011. This time, the ear was successfully healed.
Princess is still itchy, but the antihistamines do help with her symptoms. Her owners do not wish to try steroids again at this time. Princess's hairloss seems to come & go without a noticable pattern, but is concentrated around her face, neck and shoulders. There is occasional regrowth and then subsequent loss again.