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melrohner
02-02-11, 04:17 pm
Hi! I haven't posted here before, and I do not own a guinea pig myself. However, the childcare center where I work has a gp as a pet. He has been looking bloated, and also has scabs under his fur. Last week I convinced them to let me take him to the vet, who said all his problems were most likely caused by poor diet. He prescribed an antibiotic and a gas medication. We switched to a better food that day, and his round of antibiotics will be finished tonight. He seemed to be getting better, but now he seems bloated again and still painful. He also is still scratching and still has scabs. He is still getting the gas medicine, and we are about to up it to three times a day instead of two. But I saw someone online mention that they can get bloat from mites. Is that true? Should I ask the vet about the possibility of all his problems stemming from mites? I'm not sure if I can talk my boss into another expensive vet visit for this guy, but I don't want him to be in pain, either. Thanks for any help!

Peggysu
02-02-11, 05:10 pm
This guinea pig does not belong in a childcare center!!! Guinea pigs are not toys!

This poor pig needs to be in a home where in can live a decent life and get appropriate care when needed. It's not ethically right for someone to with hold veterinary treatment for an animal that needs it.

Was this pig treated for mites as well as the bloat?

melrohner
02-02-11, 07:42 pm
Thank you for your opinion. However, I came here in the hopes that some knowledgeable people could offer some insight into this problem, and all you have done is preach at me about circumstances that are out of my control. This is not helpful to me or the pig, and in fact discourages me from reaching out for help for this pig.

To answer your question, no, the vet thought the skin irritation was a result of poor diet, not mites. I called his office today, and was advised to up his gas medication by the receptionist. The vet was not in and they were supposed to give me a call back but they have not.

Again, if anyone has any ideas or experiences that could be helpful for the medical condition, both "Nibbles" and I would greatly appreciate it.

Onetwo
02-02-11, 08:05 pm
I agree with Peg. IF the manager/owner of the daycare will not put up the cost for vet care, either you need to or you need to convince them to surrender the guinea pig to a shelter. Peg was not giving you an attitude she was just stating that guinea pigs ARE not toys and do NOT do well in stressful environments. This guinea pig will KEEP getting mites (as all guinea pigs have them living under the skin) until it is dead or no longer in a stressful situation. Mites CAN bite humans!!! They cannot live long term on humans or other animals but they can spread to other guinea pigs. You HAVE To notify the parents to get their guinea pigs treated if the child touched both. You HAVE to notify the parents to look out for bite marks as they could get infected...

OBVIOUSLY this vet knows NOTHING about guinea pigs. MANY say they do but they really dont. Here is a great place to find a cavy savy vet...

http://www.guinealynx.info/vet.html

Heres some basics about guinea pigs:

They cannot live in tanks or small cages, They need a cage that is 7.5 square feet at the least.

They MUST have a same sex companion.

They cannot be on cedar or pine bedding as it causes respitory issues.

They MUST have pellets that are plain with no colored bits, nuts, seeds, dried fruits, dried veggies as these are NOT good for them. Oxbow(online and in stores) or Kleenmamas (online only) are recommended. If the piggie is less than 6 month the pellets need to have alfalfa as the first ingredient. If they are older it needs to be timothy hay. They need unlimited hay (either alfalfa or timothy based on age) and 1-2 cups of fresh veggies per day. They MUST have 1/8th of a bell pepper and romaine, green or red lettuce DAILY and then rotate a few of the other veggies daily. Fruit as a treat 1-2 times a week (small amount like pinky sized). NO pet store treats as they are all junk. Fresh water bottle every day and NO vit c drops in the water. NO salt licks, NO mineral wheels, NO balls, NO wheels, NO leashes/harnesses.... I could go on but you can go to the forum and read all the stickies for more info.

Get the piggy to the vet before he dies. If it is mites then he needs to be on invermectin. Bloat is DEADLY to piggies and that needs to be treated more aggressively. There is really not much you can do at this point without a vet visit to a cavy savy vet. Good luck and let us know how it goes...

Peggysu
02-02-11, 08:10 pm
Thank you for your opinion. However, I came here in the hopes that some knowledgeable people could offer some insight into this problem, and all you have done is preach at me about circumstances that are out of my control. This is not helpful to me or the pig, and in fact discourages me from reaching out for help for this pig.

I feel like I can say I am an experienced owner and unfortunately I have oppinions and I will speak them. Unfortunately I have a guinea pig who was a preschool "pet" where he was grossly neglected and is still recovering after having him for months. He will most likely always walk funny because he was handled roughly by kids who had no bussiness interacting with him.


To answer your question, no, the vet thought the skin irritation was a result of poor diet, not mites. I called his office today, and was advised to up his gas medication by the receptionist. The vet was not in and they were supposed to give me a call back but they have not.

Is he getting a variety of veggies with enough vitamin C? Sometimes they will loose hair because of this. Charlie had that issue. Treating for mites is quite simple though is always good to do as it can be ruled out after treatment. His bedding may be also irritating him as well.

If he isn't eating enough he may need to be hand fed. Usually bloat is caused by guinea pigs not eating enough. They are foragers and need to have food moving through their gut continuously.

Have you thought about bringing him home with you so he can have someone to give him some TLC and monitor him with proper care? I mean why not if you can provide him with vet treatment?

melrohner
02-02-11, 08:49 pm
Thanks. So is the opinion here pretty much that it is most likely mites? Is there something over-the-counter that we can treat with just to rule it out, or do I need to get something prescription?

What confuses me is that the bloat was getting better, but now seems to be getting worse again. He is, however, acting better than he was. He is moving around more, playing, etc.

The vet is well-known and highly regarded as the best exotics/small animal in my area, so I do think he knows what he is talking about. I take my own small animals to him and he's always been right on the money with treating them for any problems. He told me the same thing about guinea pigs needing food moving through their system constantly, he checked his mouth and found food in there, which he said is a good sign, and he made sure he was still pooping, which he definitely was and still is. Nibbles doesn't seem to care much for fresh foods but he is definitely eating his hay and pellets, as well as drinking water, and even though he isn't eating fresh foods very well, we are continuing to offer them.

He is kept on aspen bedding. I have other small animals myself (although I have never had a gp) and try my best to steer clear of pine or cedar. He is most often kept on aspen, occasionally on carefresh.

And I do want to reassure everyone that this pig does not have a horrible life. I know the "class pet" situation is not ideal, but he is very well-loved here. Granted, there are some things that we have not been very educated on in the past, like the best diet, but we are learning. And the kids here by no means have ANY unsupervised access to him, they do not hold him, etc. And I think if push comes to shove, my boss will send him back to the vet. Last week I volunteered to take him during my off-hours and childcare paid for the visit. I'm hoping that we can make a similar arrangement this time.

I wouldn't mind taking him home, but I have pets myself, and if mites are likely, I do not want to expose my own furkids. I'm sorry, but this is just the honest truth. I already have a mouse who's getting expensive treatments for mycoplasma, so I really would like to avoid any other problems at home!

Thank you all, again, for your suggestions. I'll try to keep updating you guys.

foggycreekcavy
02-02-11, 11:40 pm
I think it would be an excellent idea to treat him for mites. You can do it yourself without a vet visit following the directions for administering ivermectin ( www.guinealynx.info ). I haven't experienced bloat as a symptom of mites, but I can see that it could happen. Mites are so painful that a guinea pig could be in real distress.

Have you read about bloat yet at www.guinealynx.info ?

melrohner
02-03-11, 01:55 pm
Well, I stopped by work today on my day off to give Nibbles his midday dose of gas medicine. He looks much better and much less bloated than he did yesterday. The only fresh food he has been eating is apples, and I wonder if it is the high fiber in them that has caused the bloat to re-occur so quickly. So he is off of pretty much all fresh foods except for bell pepper and lettuce (not iceburg, but whatever else is on our salad bar) until the bloat seems to be healed.

I looked more closely at his scabs, and most of them seem to be almost healed up, with the exception of one pretty bad one that happened over the weekend. We will probably go ahead and treat him with some ivermectin for mites just in case. As someone else pointed out, it is not only an issue for the pig, but a possible issue for our kids (although I can say for certain that none of our kids have guinea pigs at home, so transmission is not an issue).

Thanks guys, and if anyone else has any suggestions, they would still be gladly accepted!

Peggysu
02-03-11, 02:12 pm
Well, I stopped by work today on my day off to give Nibbles his midday dose of gas medicine. He looks much better and much less bloated than he did yesterday. The only fresh food he has been eating is apples, and I wonder if it is the high fiber in them that has caused the bloat to re-occur so quickly. So he is off of pretty much all fresh foods except for bell pepper and lettuce (not iceburg, but whatever else is on our salad bar) until the bloat seems to be healed.


They need fiber to keep the bloat from happening. Apples are hardly nutritious and if given to much can cause mouth sores. If he is eating apple more then twice a week in small amounts he's getting too much. If you can start him off with some daily staples like lettuce(not iceburg) cilantro and green bell pepper that would be great.

The green bell pepper is high in vitamin C.

Is he being fed a high quality plain pellet and given unlimited hay?


I looked more closely at his scabs, and most of them seem to be almost healed up, with the exception of one pretty bad one that happened over the weekend. We will probably go ahead and treat him with some ivermectin for mites just in case. As someone else pointed out, it is not only an issue for the pig, but a possible issue for our kids (although I can say for certain that none of our kids have guinea pigs at home, so transmission is not an issue).

Thanks guys, and if anyone else has any suggestions, they would still be gladly accepted!

Mites are species specific and I don't think they can bite humans. I know they can cause some people to be a little more sensitive and itchy to them.

A big concern I would have is that kids carry a ton of illnesses and guinea pigs can be suceptable to bacterias transmitted from humans. I'm also certain that most kids do not hand wash properly, shoot most adults don't.

melrohner
02-05-11, 12:07 pm
Well, in spite of my fears of passing something contagious to my own critters, I have taken Nibbles home with me for the weekend. In light of him needing to be medicated three times daily, it was really the only thing that made sense. I'm just being REALLY careful about cross-contamination.

This morning he looked very bloated again! I just don't understand it! Why is it that one day he looks great, then the next he looks bad again?

He is still eating his hay and pellets well. He is still going to the bathroom, and they look good - not runny but not hard. His skin is looking better and I haven't seen him scratch. But his poor stomach looks bloated and gassy again, and you can tell it is tender to the touch. I just don't understand it!!!

We are undecided about mite treatment now, as his skin is continuing to improve and heal. It will probably just depend on his progress in the next few days.

crazy4looney2n
02-08-11, 02:54 pm
How's Nibbles doing? I'd still treat him for mites to play it safe. you can purchase Invermectin online and treat him yourself. I just purchased a small bottle for about $15.00 plus shipping and handling. I'm sure that the preschool can dish up that small amount for the medication. Does someone clip his toenails so they don't get too long and painful for him? I have 2 piggies that I'll be treating for mites since they are petstore piggies and probably haven't ever been treated for mites. They started biting over the weekend and someone said it could be a sign of illness or mites. I think it's because I clipped their toenails for the 1st time ever so they were very angry about it. They are returning to their normal selves now but I'm treating them for mites as a precaution since one of them still seems uncomfortable with being petted and that could also be a sign for mites. Also my 1st piggie would only eat lettuce and cilantro and wouldn't touch the bell peppers or any other veggie until I brought home another piggie. Now they try and see who can scarf down the most veggies before they even start on the lettuce. I give them green leaf or red leaf lettuce, cilantro, plus a chunk of bell pepper (they love yellow), a cherry tomato cut in 1/2, chopped celery if I have it handy too. They get this twice daily (breakfast and dinner).

I alternate these for them weekly and they won't get any combination of these more than twice a week - baby carrots, sliced apple without the seeds

chopping the veggies into smaller pieces may help him to start eating them. That's what I had to do so they would touch the celery and now I don't have to chop them as much anymore.

Thank you for caring enough about this little piggie even thought he doesn't belong to you and not ignoring the signs that something is wrong. Good Luck!

melrohner
02-08-11, 07:32 pm
Thanks! I brought him back to work with me this morning, and he actually seemed REALLY happy to be here. He is still looking bloated even though he is getting medicine three times a day. He seemed to have stopped scratching, but I've caught him a few times over the weekend. We've been talking about it today, and we are going to go ahead and treat for mites. I will probably call the vet tomorrow too, and see what he thinks about him still being bloated. He is definitely still eating and pooping, so that is good. He also is acting much better, although he still squeals when touched, but I don't know if that is pain from the gas or just that he doesn't want to be touched. We are continuing to offer vegetables, and yesterday he had at least moved his green bell pepper, so I think he may have taken a bite, but mostly he seems not interested. He is a hay fiend though.

Thanks for your reply, I'll try to keep updating on this site!

melrohner
02-08-11, 07:32 pm
Thanks! I brought him back to work with me this morning, and he actually seemed REALLY happy to be here. He is still looking bloated even though he is getting medicine three times a day. He seemed to have stopped scratching, but I've caught him a few times over the weekend. We've been talking about it today, and we are going to go ahead and treat for mites. I will probably call the vet tomorrow too, and see what he thinks about him still being bloated. He is definitely still eating and pooping, so that is good. He also is acting much better, although he still squeals when touched, but I don't know if that is pain from the gas or just that he doesn't want to be touched. We are continuing to offer vegetables, and yesterday he had at least moved his green bell pepper, so I think he may have taken a bite, but mostly he seems not interested. He is a hay fiend though.

Thanks for your reply, I'll try to keep updating on this site!

crazy4looney2n
02-11-11, 02:26 pm
http://www.guinealynx.info/topical_ivermectin.html link to ivermectin dosing explained.

melrohner
02-15-11, 01:14 pm
Just to update in case anyone is interested, Nibbles is going back to the vet this afternoon. He is still eating and going to the bathroom, however, the bloat seems to be getting worse (he looks bigger) and he seems to be a little painful when touched. He's been getting the gas meds three times daily, and you can really tell a difference if he misses a dose. I ordered some Ivermectin, but it hasn't come yet, which is unfortunate because I would have liked to have taken it to the vet with me today. So please just keep this little pig in your thoughts, I don't really know what else to do and am honestly pretty frustrated with the fact that he hasn't improved.

crazy4looney2n
02-16-11, 12:35 pm
Thanks for the update. I've been wondering about how he's doing. I hope that the vet can figure out what exactly is wrong with him this time. Poor little guy.

melrohner
02-16-11, 01:15 pm
Well, the vet is a little confused with him. He said that if the bloat/gas were serious, he wouldn't have lived this long. The skin condition is what really has him confused though, because Nibbles has obvious scabs where he has been scratching, but not alot of hair loss that would indicate mites or ringworm. He wants to treat for the skin condition first, with the hopes that the gas is a side-effect due to stress. Since I've already ordered the Ivermectin (which hasn't come in yet) he advised me on dosage. But he said that if it doesn't help within a few days he would prescribe me a dip. Past that, he says we would have to consider some less pleasant options like a cancer. So that's where we are at right now.

I would like to point out that the vet he is seeing is strictly an exotics vet. Also he has been VERY understanding about the situation and the money crunch. If anyone here is in the Atlanta area I would recommend him very highly.

crazy4looney2n
02-17-11, 08:12 am
Thanks for the update. Hopefully treating the skin condition will take care of the bloating. I bloat too when I'm stressed out. Please let us know what happens once you start treating for mites.