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Thread: Where did they come from?

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    Cavy Slave twilightwheek's Avatar
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    Question Where did they come from?

    I didn't want to be barked at for posting in reply to a somewhat relevant thread, that was old so I am starting another. I apologize if this is wrong (newbie, obviously!)

    I have had my piglet, Tabytha Sue, for almost a year. She will be 2 in March.

    I think she has mites (DON'T WORRY! she's going to the Vet Wednesday I promise, earliest appt available with her Dr., and earliest I could afford to write a hot check for her visit!-- so please don't hate on me I don't want to huddle in the corner in fear!)

    anyways, she is showing a few signs of mighty mites, scratching excessively-painful squeals/biting when Mommy tries to handle her-hair loss-flaky skin- chattering in annoyance ALL the time - etc...

    Either way I'm taking her in for ivermec treatment whether she has em or not, but I want to know if it sounds like something else to you, or where these could have come from!


    • Someone mentioned in their own thread: Stress brings out dormant mites from birth.

    The most stressful thing in her life happened 6 months ago when I moved her from Denver to New Jersey. 4 days cross-country in a laundry basket in a big loud truck/hotels is stress on a little piggy if I ever heard of it, so if they were "dormant mites" wouldn't they have reared their ugly heads then??
    • She was also boarded at her vet for 8 days over the holidays, but a rabbit was the only other small animal on the premises. The vet Tech assured me that she didn't come in contact with anyone (piggies) that could have had mites.
    • She started scratching when I changed her litter, but I also read that the litter is on shelves for so long etc etc... that any mites would die without a "host" to prey on. Confirmation on this?


    I am at a loss, and hoping this appointment ends up being a case of severe dry winter piggy skin. Part of me thinks she likes her friends @ the vet so much she just wants to go back on my dime... hehe.

    Any input from you personal piggy experts would help... or at least eliminate a couple of reasons to why she has gotten them.

    Thanks new friends!!

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    Cavy Slave akstrohm's Avatar
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    Re: Where did they come from?

    It is thought that all pigs have mites, and sometimes they flare up (particularly when stressed). As to what stressed her, it's hard to say. It wouldn't hurt to start treatment sooner if you feel comfortable doing it yourself. It will also only be a few dollars if you get the horse paste.

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    Cavy Champion, Previous Forum Moderator Ly&Pigs's Avatar
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    Re: Where did they come from?

    Mites can be present for a while in pigs even when they aren't showing signs of them. Illness and stress can cause mite flare ups. Usually, by the time they really are showing the signs, they have a pretty good case of them.

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    Cavy Slave twilightwheek's Avatar
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    Re: Where did they come from?

    Hmm. She seems okay today she hasn't scratched at all, but she is still going to see her Dr. I'm a 'better safe than sorry' kinda gal.

    She goes for regular nail trims and I always ask them to check her out just in case... So, I think maybe the boarding did her in. Since she's been with me she hasn't been away from my TLC so maybe all the strangers for a week made her freak out...

    Thanks for your input, I will be sure to report back what the Dr says!

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Where did they come from?

    I work for a vet and she believes that the mites can come from low quality hay or food. We see a lot of times people who bring in their piggies and it is usually after a change in food or hay (went from a higher quality to a lower quality food/hay). My vet recommends that if you have to buy lower quality (I know this is a no-no, but we are in a recession) food or hay, freeze it for 3 days to kill off any mites. I am told this can kill off some of the nutritional value, but like I said, it kills the mites.

    Please note: This is what the vet I work for says.

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    Cavy Slave akstrohm's Avatar
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    Re: Where did they come from?

    The kinds of mites that are by far the most common in guinea pigs require a guinea pig to survive. Therefore, unless they are given food or bedding that was previously kept with/near a guinea pig, this is a highly unlikely source.

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    Cavy Slave twilightwheek's Avatar
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    Re: Where did they come from?

    Well, today was Piggy-trician day. Tabytha got excited to see her carrier come out, and of course loved seeing her friends that cared for her when she was boarded there of the holidays. She doesn't even love ME that much!!

    Dr. C said the same thing. That it is possible for the mites to get in the litter/hay etc from rodents at the warehouses and where the litter or hay is stored at (the thought makes me shudder), but it's highly unlikely she would get them from her products. I said I would be switching to fleece soon and he said that might help.

    It's not mites, which is good news. He did lots of tests on Tabytha Sue and she was miserable and pathetic for them all. It breaks my heart when she squeaks that way. :( He checked her all over and she was all fine there.

    He took a lice comb and combed her all over (she won't admit it, but she liked that part) and took some samples of her hair and skin and all that to look under the microscope. He picked over her fur time and time again.

    He swabbed in her ears (she REALLY enjoyed that part!) and checked for ear mites too. He came back with nothing... Definitely not mites, though he says if she doesn't stop the scratching like a psycho by tomorrow night to bring her back in..

    We whittled it down to the fact that her cage is close to one of the heaters, and since I can't move it (I have a studio apartment thats very VERY small) and the only other place is by the door and it's too drafty for pig there, is to leave a tray of water near her cage so that her air has more moisture in it. He spent a good while researching the dosage for an animal her size of a fatty acid drop he could give her orally, but she's too small. Instead he gave me a spray that you typically use on cats/dogs for the same dry skin condition, but instead of spraying her to saturate her fur he said to put some on my hands and pet her lots a few times a day (like THATS hard!) It's not dangerous if she cleans herself or anything. It even smells kind of nice.
    She's happy right now, just popcorned all over her cage and attacked a hay cube. It's almost bed time so she'll be asleep soon. :) Happy piglet.

    He said he would call me if he didn't hear from me in two weeks to see how she's doing. He honestly takes good care of his patients, and she is already feeling better and scratching less. A tray of water... who would've thought?! I am glad I went to see him, and that he cares so much!

    Thanks for all of your input, I appreciate it. But nothing gives you piece of mind like the Piggytrician!



    The bad news is she went from 2.3 lbs which is already heavy, to 2.6 lbs!!!! I couldn't believe it! He tried to tell me to stop with the pellets, but she doesn't get those anyways--shes a veggie-n-hay girl. Hey-- maybe she is just big boned!

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    Cavy Slave akstrohm's Avatar
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    Re: Where did they come from?

    In the future, don't let the vet do a skin scrape. They are painful and often unreliable.

    2.6 pounds is not too heavy. It's a perfectly healthy weight.

    It is possible to do a pellet-free diet, but you have to be quite careful in how you plan it. It's a lot more complicated than just feeding a few extra veggies.

  9. "Thank you, akstrohm, for this useful post," says:

    rabbitsncavyluv (01-18-10)

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    Cavy Slave twilightwheek's Avatar
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    Re: Where did they come from?

    He didn't do a skin scrape. :) He used scotch tape and had me pet her backwards so all the dander and debris and hair and skin was looser and easier to pick up. I trust my vet. He's not an idiot. He wasn't hurting her at all. :)

    As for her diet, she's been on the same diet for almost a year and is doing just peachy!! She loves her veggies & gets plenty of vitamins (especially C) and is obviously eating plenty since she's gained weight slightly in the past few months. She really shouldn't be so heavy though, her tummy is a bit too round. But we'll fix that with more floor time and a few play dates with some piggy friends!

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    Cavy Slave akstrohm's Avatar
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    Re: Where did they come from?

    You just said she was "miserable and pathetic" and that it broke your heart to hear her squeak like that. That makes it sound like it did hurt.

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    Cavy Slave twilightwheek's Avatar
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    Re: Where did they come from?

    Hmm, maybe that was my attempt at sarcasm. Let me be more clear... She squealed like a pig when I brought her out of her carrier because she was frightened, and it was a little cold standing on the table I'm sure, but other than that she was fine. I felt bad for her for having to go to the Vet in the first place, everyone knows thats traumatic to be poked and prodded and everything. When was the last time you went to the Dr and were super duper excited about it??
    She's my baby and I hated that she was feeling bad, for any reason. So, yeah, miserable and pathetic.

    Next time I'm going to keep my thoughts to myself. I thought I would enjoy posting here but I don't like the lauck of a sense of humor and know-it-all attitude. In my own thread!!

    I took my pig to the Vet, which is usually the consensus in the thread anyways. Her appointment was set before I even posted. Thanks for making me feel like an irresponsible parent. Next time I guess I wont let him do the things he is supposed to do to make my piglet feel better...

    I thought I would enjoy posting here, but for me it's back to lurking. Thanks, everyone else, for all of your input!!

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    Cavy Slave Biscuit's Avatar
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    Re: Where did they come from?

    Your reaction seems a bit out of left field. It DID sound like you got a skin scrape done, I've had vets that aren't "idiots" do them. Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald at Alameda East did a skin scraping on a guinea pig of mine...he's definitely not an idiot. Most people just don't know that they tend to miss mites even if they are there.

    There are varying opinions about weight too. My vet is an excellent, cavy-savvy vet recommended on my pig sites. That said, she always thinks our pigs are overweight and we should cut back on pellets. All the forums I read say they are just fine. Shrug, there are a lot of different thoughts out there, it's good to try to adapt to that idea and find your happy place with penguins and prairie dogs.

    You seem to really care about your piggy, and I liked reading the way you talk about her and word things. I didn't see anyone even remotely imply you are an irresponsible parent? Akstrohm was simply explaining why he/she got the idea she had gotten a skin scraping. There was a TINY misunderstanding about the skin scraping thing, really...enhance your calm. =)

    Quote Originally Posted by twilightwheek View Post
    Next time I guess I wont let him do the things he is supposed to do to make my piglet feel better...
    Huh, uh...HUH? Really? All this over the skin scraping misunderstanding?

  14. "Thank you, Biscuit, for this useful post," say these 3 members:

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    Cavy Slave twilightwheek's Avatar
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    Re: Where did they come from?

    Thanks biscuit. You made me feel a tad bit better. I am just upset that it's implied I don't know how to care for or feed my piglet since its "more complicated than just a few extra veggies". She gets plenty to eat, and she is a very happy pig. I came here for advice/comfort and I feel like I got attacked after the fact! Tabytha may be my first pig but that doesn't mean I'm automatically dumb and can't properly care for her. My vet is also a cavy-savvy vet, just to clarify.
    She has a good piggy life, even with dry skin.

    Alameda East? If you're talking about Denver thats a spectacular Vet. I had to take my roomates cats there when she was out of town and they were sick. Excellent excellent care, even for stinky cats!

    I think she is fine weight wise, I'm no stick figure myself but she could use a little extra play time to run around outside of her cage. Once her skin is better (she's already been scratch free for several hours) I'm going to make sure she gets a bit more piggercise.

    :)

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    Cavy Slave Biscuit's Avatar
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    Re: Where did they come from?

    I really don't think that was implied at all. You sound like me when I've been awake too long and just start reading into stuff until I have myself all worked up. =P

    I promise, no one said your butt looked fat in those jeans.

    And yeah, I used Alameda East a few times for emergencies. It seemed like their practical knowledge about furry exotics was not quite as advertised. I now drive way south to Dr. Esposito at Aurora Animal Hospital. They are amazing.

    We did cut down on pellets for our herd, cutting them back very slowly while adding more veggies and leaving them with hay the rest of the day once pellets were inhaled. It kept them stable as a good weight.

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    Cavy Slave akstrohm's Avatar
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    Re: Where did they come from?

    Twilightwheek, if you could post your HAFF diet sample menus, many members here including myself would be very interested in seeing them. And the reason I pointed out that they are quite complex is that I've seen people here who decided just to quit feeding pellets without much thought to the overall diet. When you weigh out the veggies and calculate what they're getting of each amount, it can certainly be done, and I would like to see your calculations if possible (again just out of curiosity).

    Humor is certainly welcome here, but I had no way of knowing what was sarcastic and what wasn't. This is what made me think skin scrape:
    >>>It's not mites, which is good news. He did lots of tests on Tabytha Sue and she was miserable and pathetic for them all. It breaks my heart when she squeaks that way. :( He checked her all over and she was all fine there.

    This is just how many pigs would respond to a skin scrape, which is a common thing done when a vet checks a pig all over for mites. I never said you were a bad owner and I certainly don't think you are! You absolutely did the right thing by going to the vet.

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    Cavy Slave twilightwheek's Avatar
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    Re: Where did they come from?

    Okay. Sorry! I just get cranky sometimes, I love this baby and I am doing everything in my power to give her the best most spectacular piggy life.... and I don't want anyone here to think I am an idiot like some people who don't even feed their pigs PIG FOOD.

    Speaking of, I don't understand your fancy terminology, and she certainly doesnt have a "menu"... but she gets a variety of things, but usually leafy green lettuces, red & purple lettuces, parsley (is her favorite), spinach, dandelion and on occasion kale. She likes kale and then doesnt like it. All of this is measured out. She gets peppers (she doesn't like green at all or red usually, only yellow and orange) She doesnt like strawberries, but will eat the leaves, she actually really doesnt like anything thats very sweet in nature. Watermelon RIND is the exception to that. Cucumbers and carrots too. She doesnt like zucchini.
    She will nom on an apple wedge if I hold my breath right. Anything green and wet will be eaten, if it sits still long enough. I know better than iceberg lettuce and that kind of stuff, I don't even like it, so why would she?

    She gets hay out the wazoo, (timothy obviously) and when I say wazoo I mean that literally.

    As for treats she has a whole jar of flowers and soft flat bits from her hay.

    I often wonder if I'm the only owner who sorts out the hay "flowers" and puts them in a jar


    that fluffy thing in the middle...

    I want to include more fatty acids in her diet, which I know will help with her skin but I don't want to do the pellet thing again, since she wont eat her hay when there's pellets.

    Maybe one of you have a suggestion?


    ETA: She is feeling MUCH better btw, she has only scratched twice all afternoon & evening, and isn't flaking anymore. I'm still rubbing her down with the Pramoxine from her Dr, and she enjoys every moment of that! It is really helping. :)
    Last edited by twilightwheek; 01-16-10 at 12:06 am.

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    Cavy Slave twilightwheek's Avatar
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    Re: Where did they come from?

    On a side note, she will NOT eat anything unless it is organic, from Wegmans. (Grocery mostly in the North East). Picky pig!

    Anyways, I would be glad to know of another way to make her fatty acid intake a tad higher. :)

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    Cavy Slave akstrohm's Avatar
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    Re: Where did they come from?

    I would add the pellets back in at least until you've done more research on HAFF diets. A proper HAFF diet requires that you calculate the amounts of vitamins and minerals, Ca:P ratios, etc. Frankly I don't see how you can do this without having your menus carefully planned out. Simply feeding a variety of veggies is fine with a good pellet fed in limited amounts, but it's not really sufficient otherwise. I wouldn't feed spinach at all--it is extremely high in oxalic acid. And be sure not to overdo it on the parsley and kale--they're quite high in calcium and cilantro would be a better pick. If she wasn't eating her hay before, maybe you were feeding too many pellets. 1/8 cup is fine.

    If her skin is dry, I would try increasing the humidity in the room.

  21. "Thank you, akstrohm, for this useful post," say these 3 members:

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    Re: Where did they come from?

    I know nothing about the diet, so I can't add anything there. But, I just wanted to say I LOVE the relationship between you and Tabytha. The way you talk about your piggybaby makes me smile :). Thats how I talk about my buns and I get funny looks! Haha, there my sweeties, of corse I'm ganna talk in a squeeky voice to them and tell everyone how incredibly WONDERFUL they are!!

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    Cavy Slave twilightwheek's Avatar
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    Re: Where did they come from?

    Quote Originally Posted by akstrohm View Post
    I would add the pellets back in at least until you've done more research on HAFF diets. A proper HAFF diet requires that you calculate the amounts of vitamins and minerals, Ca:P ratios, etc. Frankly I don't see how you can do this without having your menus carefully planned out. Simply feeding a variety of veggies is fine with a good pellet fed in limited amounts, but it's not really sufficient otherwise. I wouldn't feed spinach at all--it is extremely high in oxalic acid. And be sure not to overdo it on the parsley and kale--they're quite high in calcium and cilantro would be a better pick. If she wasn't eating her hay before, maybe you were feeding too many pellets. 1/8 cup is fine.

    If her skin is dry, I would try increasing the humidity in the room.
    She doesn't like cilantro & I'm not going to force her to eat things she doesnt like... and she doesnt need ratios and all of that fancy junk, she is fed the way I feel she should be fed. She's happy and playful and as of Wednesday, perfectly HEALTHY. Just like us humans are different, not every piglet is going to do well on the same diet.

    I always measured out the appropriate amount of pellets, she still wouldn't eat her hay.

    The humidity issue has been fixed, as I stated when we came back from the piggytrician, "leave a tray of water near her cage so that her air has more moisture in it." and so far thats working for her and me!

    Thanks, leyley. I do love my piglet, She is pretty flippin' fabulous! (Right now she's sleeping in the middle of her cage, eyes squeezed shut and all stretched out!) Cute.

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