Penny's Med Thread

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Post   » Mon Jul 13, 2020 1:07 pm

The basics: Penny is approximately 3.5 years old and is not spayed. I've had her since she was about 8 months old, and she's had no health issues so far.

Three days ago I noticed a dark spot on Penny's face; upon closer inspection, I guessed it was a scab. The area around the scab seemed to have lost its hair (it was the same color and texture as her lips rather than matching the surrounding white fur). The bald patch was perfectly circular and about three millimeters in diameter. I made an appointment with the vet just in case, because I'd never seen something like that on any of my pigs before. The appointment is for tomorrow at 8:00 pm (EDT).

Yesterday, the scab was gone, but the tiny bald patch remained. It appeared to be the same size. Today, the bald batch is the same size but is a little bit flaky/crusty and a little darker, and I've noticed a larger bald patch on one of Penny's back legs. She scratches at it with her teeth fairly often, and the skin looks irritated.

My current guess is that she has mites, although I won't get official confirmation until tomorrow night. I do have a bottle of Ivermectin, but the box says it expired in August of 2019, so almost a year ago. I'm reluctant to medicate my pigs without having my vet sign off on it first.

I'm wondering, first, whether what I've described sounds like mites, and second, what might have caused this. Penny did get a new cage mate, Lily, about a month ago, but Lily has no bald patches as far as I can tell. Can guinea pigs with mites be asymptomatic? The pigs don't go outside, but their bedding does because I shake the hay off in the yard before I wash the bedding. Can mites survive a laundry cycle? Those are the only things I can think of, but please tell me if there's anything else I should consider.


Post   » Mon Jul 13, 2020 1:56 pm

It could be fungal. Pictures might help.

Do not let the vet do a skin scraping for mites. It is painful and half the time it misses them anyway. If the strong suspicion is mites, just treat. If dosed correctly it shouldn’t harm the pigs (unless they are allergic, which I haven’t heard of in pigs)


Post   » Mon Jul 13, 2020 2:20 pm

I don't actually know how to post photos on here, although it's probably very simple. I meant to put that in my original post. Could someone please give me a hint? I do have photos I can post.

In the past when my vet has wondered about mites, she has just rubbed the pig's fur against the grain to get a better look at the skin. My first pig got a skin scraping done once (before I knew better), and I remember thinking it seemed ineffective since the vet only tested one place. I guessed mites because her symptoms are bald patches and itching, but if something fungal could have the same symptoms, then I really don't know which it is.

When I called the vet today to see if I could get Penny in earlier, I was specifically told not to medicate her until I'd seen the vet. I guess maybe they have to say that? I noticed that here on Guinea Lynx it also says that online sources suggest 0.2 mL/kg but that responsible pet owners should go to a vet for treatment. I took that to mean I should go to the vet before medicating the pigs, but maybe it just means in addition? (I am autistic and sometimes have a hard time interpreting things for that reason. I'm not trying to be difficult or anything, promise.)


Post   » Mon Jul 13, 2020 4:28 pm

To post pictures you have to host them somewhere and post the link on here. I think I have used before. You can even have it resize to message board size.

From the places you described as being affected I did not think mites, that often times starts on their back if I remember correctly.

What you said the vet did cannot determine if it is mites, they are microscopic and cannot be seen by the naked eye. Are you sure they are experienced with guinea pigs?

In all honesty, cures for mites and fungus are easily done by yourself, if you know what you are doing. Fungus can usually be treated with over the counter anti-fungal cream meant for humans. Fungus can also be contagious to the human so be careful. You would need to treat for at least a couple of more days after it all seems clear to make sure it is really gone.

Ivermectine for mites is not too difficult the administer either, but you gave the dose for oral administration. If you put it on their skin the dosage is 0.5 mg/kg. Treat 3 times, a week apart. Sometimes it requires more treatments. Always treat all piggies.

You should always see a vet if you are not sure. Experienced guinea pig owners might treat their pets with skin issues like you are describing without consulting the vet, only going to the vet if the treatment they are giving isn’t working, but that is a risk you might not want to take.

The vet should be able to tell you what it is, or what it isn’t (making mites a possibility as they cannot conclusively say that it is mites with or without a skin scraping).


Post   » Mon Jul 13, 2020 5:08 pm

Thanks! Here's how the thing on Penny's face looked three days ago. The dark spot looked like a scab, and there was a thin circle of baldish skin around it.
And here's how it looks today. There doesn't seem to be a raised scab anymore, but it's generally darker and has gotten flaky.
I just realized that it is slightly bigger now, which contradicts my earlier statement that it was the same size. That was my bad; I didn't look closely enough at the photos side by side.

Here's how her leg looks. It's also rather flaky. The dark spot you can see on her lower abdomen is just her nipple.

Yes, my vet is experienced with guinea pigs. I think she was looking for irritated skin/thinned fur rather than mites, because as you said, mites are microscopic. But since none of my guinea pigs have had any skin ailments before, she could say there were no mites because there was no skin irritation and the fur wasn't thinned. (I hope I'm describing this clearly. I sometimes have trouble getting my thoughts into clear sentences when I'm stressed. Luckily written communication is a little easier than spoken communication.)

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Mon Jul 13, 2020 5:35 pm

The lesion on the nose looks like cheilitis. The other looks fungal, or possibly mites.


Post   » Mon Jul 13, 2020 7:04 pm

I've read the Guinea Lynx page on cheilitis, and my understanding is that it can be bacterial or fungal. So both her nose and her leg might have fungal problems. How does fungus normally get to a guinea pig? Does it get on the bedding when I shake it out outside and then survive the laundry cycle?

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Mon Jul 13, 2020 9:51 pm

Fungus is everywhere. A weakened immune system or a scratch on the skin can allow it to take hold.


Post   » Tue Jul 14, 2020 3:47 am

Fungus can survive the laundry cycle if it isn’t hot enough. I am too lazy to convert to American, but here it is recommended to wash at 60*C

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I dissent.

Post   » Tue Jul 14, 2020 7:47 am

If I didn't see a patch on her foot, I might think it could be a bite wound, since you mentioned a new cagemate. Otherwise, I'd say fungal.

I've had very good success treating fungal infections with plain Monistat, the 7-day stuff.


Post   » Tue Jul 14, 2020 11:50 am

Penny's new cage mate, Lily, is only about nine weeks old and hasn't shown any signs of aggression, at least not while I've been watching. Mostly she just wants to sniff Penny's butt and chin and follow her around. Penny does occasionally snap at Lily when Lily gets in her space too much (she doesn't actually bite, just threatens to), but I've never seen Lily snap at Penny. (I'm not saying it's impossible, but it does seem unlikely.)

60 degrees C is equal to 140 degrees F, for anyone who's wondering. My parents (in whose house I currently live for COVID-related reasons and whose washer and dryer I use) told me to wash the guinea pig bedding on warm, but it sounds like I should switch back to hot. I will let my parents know so we're all on the same page.

Thank you all for the information. I'm taking Penny to the vet tonight, so I'll post another update tonight or tomorrow morning.


Post   » Tue Jul 14, 2020 11:15 pm

The verdict is in: It's ringworm. The theory is that Lily already had it when I adopted her and just took a while to show symptoms.

Both pigs have been prescribed Terbinafine, and Penny is also on Meloxicam since she seemed uncomfortable. Penny was additionally given a single dose of Gas-X because she was gassy. The pigs have been moved to a different cage (a C&C 2x3) for the next day or so while we thoroughly decontaminate their normal cage (a C&C 2x4). I realize that a 2x3 isn't big enough for two pigs, but it'll have to do for this short period of time.

How vigilant do we need to be in decontaminating the rest of the house? I'd rather not have either of my pigs get ringworm again, and I don't want any of the people in my house to get it, either.

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