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Thread: Allergies to the hay.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Allergies to the hay.

    We just got our babies last week 3 of them, and I am allergic to the timothy hay. My allergy pills help the major stuff and my eye drops help the itchy eyes. The big problem is when they crawl around my neck I get itchy hives everywhere they have touched me. Well I can't stop snuggling them, they are just to darn sweet, and like to snuggle into my neck. Any suggestion?

    My next concern is am I giving them to many veggies. I put about 3 plates full of them in a day so far. They don't eat all of it, but I don't like whilted lettuce so I don't figure they do either. I give them romanie, tomatoes, baby carrots, and either kale or parsley. Then once a day I put in a few pieces of fruit or I should say I hand feed them a piece of fruit oranges, apples and kiwi is what we like so far. Is that to much? Not enough?

    Does anyone know why I have a biting guinea pig? Could he just not like me? He loves my 5 year old and they will sit on the floor and watch tv together and he purrs and coos and snuggles into his lap until he sees me and he wil run over and bite my toe or my finger or whatever is handy. He bites hard enough to leave bruises, but doesn't break the skin. I am more gentle with him than the kids, and I feed them! When he does it the kids laugh and he hurrys back into the 5 year olds lap like nothing happened.

    Wow sorry to plague you all with all of that. I just want them to be happy little critters. Thank for your help!

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    Cavy Star BabyGrl's Avatar
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    Re: Allergies to the hay.

    You can feed them Orchard Grass instead of the timothy hay.

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    Cavy Slave Cavyslavesteph's Avatar
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    Re: Allergies to the hay.

    First of all, welcome and congrats on your new piggies.

    If you are allergic to timothy, you could switch to a different type. Any grass hay is fine for piggies - oat, bluegrass, orchard, meadow, brome, etc. If it is the actual pigs you are allergic to, you could put a layer in between your skin and them, such as an old shirt or towel.

    As far as the veggies, they should have 1 cup a day, per pig. Fruit should only be a 2-3 times weekly food. Lettuce is great for an every day food. You could also add bell peppers and cilantro for every day foods.

    The biting could be for many reasons. My girls will bite without fail if we put our hands by their mouths because they are "testing" us to see if we are food. Sally also bites when she has to go back to her cage to potty. Other times, they could be uncomfortable with how they are being held. You will just have to try different things until you figure out why your piggy is biting. After figuring out the problem and some training if needed, very few pigs bite just to bite. Here is a link with more info: http://www.cavyspirit.com/biting.htm

    Make sure to look around the forums. There is a lot of great information on here.

  4. "Thank you, Cavyslavesteph, for this useful post," says:

    guinea_pig_luva (04-18-06)

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    Cavy Slave SandyF's Avatar
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    Re: Allergies to the hay.

    When my husband and I got our first guinea pig, hubby was very allergic and broke out into red hives any time he held Sebastian. At the suggestion of the rescue group we adopted from, we bathed the pig in AllerpetC (I think that's the name) cat shampoo a couple of times, and hubby's symptoms disappeared. As we added more pigs, the symptoms never came back. I'm not sure if the shampoo had anything to do with it, and tend to think it was more a matter of his body slowly adjusting to the pigs. Are you sure you're allergic to the hay and not the pigs?

    As for the hay, I agree with the suggestions about trying other types of hay. And other brands. I have some serious sinus trouble around Bunny Bale hay, but no problem with Oxbow, (Reference removed by administrator) or KMS. I also have less trouble with orchard grass than timothy, but I still buy huge boxes of the stuff.

    When I clean out the cages, I use one of those dorky "allergy masks," and find that it does help some.
    Last edited by CavySpirit; 02-26-10 at 11:07 am.

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    Cavy Slave C&K's Avatar
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    Re: Allergies to the hay.

    If you are allergic to timothy, you could switch to a different type. Any grass hay is fine for piggies - oat, bluegrass, orchard, meadow, brome, etc.
    I don't believe that oat is a good everyday grass, it should only be fed as an occasional treat. However there are a lot of other options. Bluegrass tends to be the most hypo allergenic, but orchard and Coastal Bermuda are other great grass hays.

    As for the veggies, it sounds like you may not have the best mix going yet.

    I put about 3 plates full of them in a day so far. They don't eat all of it, but I don't like whilted lettuce so I don't figure they do either. I give them romanie, tomatoes, baby carrots, and either kale or parsley. Then once a day I put in a few pieces of fruit or I should say I hand feed them a piece of fruit oranges, apples and kiwi is what we like so far. Is that to much? Not enough?
    The romaine is good, Green and red leaf is are other good alternates.
    You may want to limit the tomatoes because of their acidity, they could cause mouthsores, and I think gas too. One Cherry tomatoe a day per pig is ok. You should also not feed more then one small baby carrot per day, with veggies you want to establish a 1.5:1 Calcuim to Phosporus ratio, carrots are inverse to this, a baby carrot has a Ca : Ph ratio of 0.6:1. However, it will even out when you look at the other fruits and veggies you feed daily, if you don't feed to much. Parsley is not an everyday food, it is too high in Calcium. Cilantro is a good alternate to it, they love it, and it is balanced correctly. It can be fed every day.

    You don't want to be giving fruit everyday either. Maybe a couple times a week. The high sugar could cause problems like developing diabeties.

    Kale, like parsley is not an everyday food, it too is too high in calcium.

    (High calcium levels can cause bladderstones and bladdersludge, which will require vet care down the line, possibly surgery, very expansive, dangerous and painful).

    Please visit http://www.guinealynx.info/diet.html for the best feed information.

    In general, you want to look at feeding a cup a day of veggies per pig, maybe a little more if you are spoiling them! The above website also has a good everyday veg list, the one I really see missing from yours are sweet peppers, (red are best) and cilantro.

    Hope you enjoy the pigs!
    and of course, Welcome to the group!

  7. "Thank you, C&K, for this useful post," says:

    guinea_pig_luva (04-18-06)

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Allergies to the hay.

    Thank you all! You are a great group! I will try some different types of grass and see if that helps. I will also try bathing them in the Allergy shampoo. I assume it is the hay, because I open the bag and the allergies start going nuts, but it could be both.

    I will get them some cilantro and peppers today then, and stop with all the fruit and kale and parsley, only give it ever few days instead. That was great help. And all the links helpped greatly to. Thank you all!

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    Cavy Slave Mummy's Avatar
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    Re: Allergies to the hay.

    I recently adopted a pair to someone who was very allergic to timothy hay, slightly allergic to orchard grass, but absolutely find with KM's bluegrass. Try different varieties and brands of hay, and you may find one you're not allergic too!

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Allergies to the hay.

    Im sorry to say im allergic to my piggie to every time I hold her im fine but after when I put her back in her cage i start to itch and itch it never stops unless i take an allergie pill.but I dont think im allergic to my piggie.... I think im allergic to the hay she eats and the stuff on the hay gets stuck to her and it gets put on to me when I hold her
    shh... I think why your piggie bites you is because you dont hold it enough... it might help every time you hold it you could put a towl over witch ever shoulder/ arms you hold your piggie on or in.

    to get rid of those allergies I think you should take allergie medicine before holding the piggie?

    if there is any way you know how to get rid of allergies please tell me


    , Delaney, and my piggie Smores,

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    Cavy Slave nonamian_girl's Avatar
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    Re: Allergies to the hay.

    While you're on www.cavyspirit.com, check out the allergies page, they have some really good suggestions.

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    Cavy Slave C&K's Avatar
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    Re: Allergies to the hay.

    if there is any way you know how to get rid of allergies please tell me
    Um, what about all the advice that was posted about changing up the hay? Some members here also get allergy shots...

    I think why your piggie bites you is because you dont hold it enough...
    I don't think so, I think if anything it is a way of getting attention from "mom". I have heard of several pigs giving nips when they want back in their cage when being held, usually because they have to go to the bathroom... It may be that or just the pigs way of saying "hey, I know you, your the lady that can help me out right now with _________! (insert what ever the pig wants inside blank... Sorry I can't help you with figuring out what that is!

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    Cavy Slave aqh88's Avatar
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    Re: Allergies to the hay.

    First find out what exactly your allergic to(pigs, hay, bedding,...) then change what you can, and if you still have symptoms try some allergy medicines. There are dozens of different types of hay and bedding out there.

    Chris went to the allergist for testing and found out he's allergic to everything but the actual guinea pigs and dogs. Every mold, grass mix, pollen, other pets, and so on. They also can test for timothy grass mix but not other grasses. We use bluegrass hay and spruce shavings without any problems. If we take in a pig that was on pine shavings Chris can't go near them until the smell wears off or I give them a bath. We also found out allergy shots are really expensive and a lot of work. You have to go weekly at first and you have to be willing to stay there for an hour everytime so not a great idea if you can avoid it. Unfortunately I can tell you allergy testing costs $700 if you don't have insurance since Chris' insurance said they would pay and then went back on their word.

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    Cavy Star Lorvoll's Avatar
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    Re: Allergies to the hay.

    I tested positive for timothy hay, so I:
    1. removed every trace of it from the area, storage bin,
    2. washed the cage with vinegar/water solution, including each and every little cube on each grid
    3. washed their pigloos and any accessories
    4. vacuumed the area well
    5. changed my furnace filters (figured it was spreading the dust throughout the house)
    6. bathed the piggies
    7. switched to bermuda/blue grass.

    I stayed up very, very late one night to complete it all, but it was so well worth it! I'm happy to say that all is well and no signs of allergies at all after doing so!

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Allergies to the hay.

    I have been through the allergy tests, because I seem to be allergic to everything as well, but I am not allergic to dogs either. It has been several years ago, and I stopped getting my shots after I had my kids. I have thought about going and getting all the tests again anyway so now seems to be the right time! I take my allergy meds, and it helps with everything but the hives.

    I will also try the bluegrass. I can clean everything up really good tomorrow and replace the timothy hay with it and see if that works.

    I am still trying to figure out why he bites, but I am pretty sure it isn't because I don't hold him enough. He promptly gets right off my lap when I try to hold him and goes to sit with the kids. I let the boys put him back into his cage this morning and then I didn't mess with him this afternoon while they were at school. Tonight I let them get him out of the cage and he hasn't bit me yet. Not even when I petted him. So maybe he just doesn't like the way I pick him up or maybe he feels safer with them because they are smaller than me? Perhaps he knows that I am the dominate one in our house and is trying to take that position from me? I'll keep working on him and try to figure it out. He doesn't purr when I pet him either, but he does when the boys or my husband pet him, so it could be something as simple as a female human was mean to him at one time and I will just have to gain his trust? I am patience so I'll get it figured out eventually. I think the more I just kind of watch and see the more answers I will have.

    Thank you all for your advice on everything you all have been very kind and helpful.

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    Cavy Slave aqh88's Avatar
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    Re: Allergies to the hay.

    If your getting tested for guinea pig then either call them ask if they can have it on hand or they will have to draw some blood and send it off for testing. Very few places carry the materials needed to test it there.

    Are you the only one that picks him up in the air while the kids just sit with him on the ground? Most guinea pigs don't really like being picked up so maybe he's trying to tell you not to. He could also just like hanging around on the floor and doesn't want put back in his cage. Pistachio will start nipping you whenever you pick him up but he's mostly grown out of it and he's fine now when he has his feet on the ground. I also have a few that will chatter when you go to catch them and put them back in their cage. They want to run around and have fun.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Allergies to the hay.

    Oh thank you I hadn't thought of them not having the stuff to test for it.

    Actually I pick him up with one hand on the back of him and the other hand under his feet (kind of a scoop) and bring him right to my body. He doesn't usually bite when I am picking him up it's when he is sitting with the boys it's like he just gets an urge to bite me and runs over and does just that. He then runs back to them and they all laugh. Maybe he thinks it's funny too. He is very friendly with everyone else, he has nibble the boys fingers, but has not bitten them like he does me. That is why I thought maybe a human female had been mean to him at some point. I don't know any of his history, because I got them from our local pet store. I would have adopted, but didn't know that existed at the time we got them.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Allergies to the hay.

    Are you sure he doesn't have mites? They can cause him pain and him to bite. Many people are allergic to their pigs when they have mites too. If he came from a pet store, he probably has parasites.

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    Cavy Slave aqh88's Avatar
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    Re: Allergies to the hay.

    Guinea pigs don't usually initiate an attack out of fear. If you grab them while they are scared and they have no way to escape they might bite but even then it's pretty rare. Nervous guinea pigs will bite while being held but would run away if they got the chance. A scared guinea pig will pick a safe spot and threaten you from there instead of approaching what they see as dangerous. That's more the sign of a confident dominant guinea pig telling you what's what and that he doesn't want you to do something.

  20. "Thank you, aqh88, for this useful post," says:

    guinea_pig_luva (04-18-06)

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