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Thread: Allergy brainstorm

  1. #1
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    Allergy brainstorm

    I know that allergies in guinea pigs are pretty uncommon, so I'd like some help brainstorming what Galactus might be allergic to.

    His symptoms are constant itching and dry sneezing. He's had these symptoms for a while and they neither got better or worse.

    I took him into the vet yesterday and this is what she said:

    His lungs, nose and eyes are clear so she doesn't suspect a URI and doesn't recommend antibiotics since they can have negative side effects.

    His skin is clear with mild dandruff, no redness, sores, or hair loss, so she doesn't suspect mites, though she gave me ivermectin just in case.

    His right ear is scratched and waxy, but not red or swollen enough to suspect ear infection.

    He's already on fleece washed with tide free and clear, so a bedding allergy is unlikely. She said he could be allergic to something in his hay or pellets, so that might be a place to start.

    I want to thoroughly dust and vaccum the room, but I have whiplash from a car accident a few days ago and can't do any physical activity on doctor's orders.

    We usually have the windows open in our apartment so outdoor allergies are also possible.

    He's an active boy who eats and drinks well, but he hates being touched. I think it might be because he's uncomfortable and I want him to feel better.

  2. #2
    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Allergy brainstorm

    If I were a betting person, I'd bet on mites for the itching.

    The Tide could be causing the sneezing, even if it's the non-allergenic stuff. Try another detergent and see what helps.

    Try rubbing his ear with cold pressed virgin coconut oil.

    And try a different hay to see if that's the problem.

    And now, I'm all out of ideas!

  3. #3
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    Re: Allergy brainstorm

    He finished his last dose of ivermectin a week ago, but he's still scratching the same amount. He's had no hair loss, which has me guessing at some other skin irritation.

    I switched him to orchard grass and he's sneezing even worse now. He doesn't wheeze, he's still active, but now his nose is actually crusty and wet instead of dry sneezing.

    I'm going to try another detergent and hay today. Does anyone have a detergent recommendation other than tide free and clear?

    I might have to try a feed store for meadow or bluegrass since I'm not sure if my store has them in stock. :/

    I was hoping to reintroduce my boys soon, but I can't do it until I know they're both healthy :(

    Does anyone have experience with giving antihistamines to guinea pigs? My vet said she hasn't needed to do it before and recommended finding the allergy source first.

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Allergy brainstorm

    Ummm.... I wouldn't have separated them unless there were definite signs of illness, and maybe not then. By the time one pig has symptoms of an illness, the other one has already been thoroughly exposed. And separating a pair that usually lives together can just stress both pigs.

    A pet store is more likely to have small bags of different hays than a feed store. If the feed store carries it, it's likely to be in large quantities.

    You can give Benadryl, .5 mg every 12 hours. It's in Carpenter's drug reference at that dosage for guinea pigs. You may have to crush a tablet, mix it with some water, and syringe it to him.

    I'd try Oxy Clean, but do a double rinse. A double rinse might do the trick with Tide as well. Also, follow the instructions for detergent for your washing machine, not on the detergent bottle. Those amounts on the bottle are designed to sell more product for the company, not just to get your clothes clean. You can usually cut them at least in half.

  5. #5
    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Allergy brainstorm

    Quote Originally Posted by bpatters View Post
    Ummm.... I wouldn't have separated them unless there were definite signs of illness, and maybe not then. By the time one pig has symptoms of an illness, the other one has already been thoroughly exposed. And separating a pair that usually lives together can just stress both pigs.

    A pet store is more likely to have small bags of different hays than a feed store. If the feed store carries it, it's likely to be in large quantities.

    You can give Benadryl, .5 mg every 12 hours. It's in Carpenter's drug reference at that dosage for guinea pigs. You may have to crush a tablet, mix it with some water, and syringe it to him.

    I'd try Oxy Clean, but do a double rinse. A double rinse might do the trick with Tide as well. Also, follow the instructions for detergent for your washing machine, not on the detergent bottle. Those amounts on the bottle are designed to sell more product for the company, not just to get your clothes clean. You can usually cut them at least in half.
    I'll give the oxyclean a try. I usually do a double rinse, sometimes even three if they still smell "piggy" - I'll add some vinegar and run it again without detergent.

    They were separated previously because they had a fight. It was a particularly hot day, someone got grumpy, and the smaller one was bitten a few times. They hadn't quite bonded yet, but they had started getting along better a few days before the incident. However, since blood was drawn I separated them so the little guy could heal.

    My pet store only has timothy and orchard, so I'm going to try a few places once I get off of work. There's a decent farm supply store down the road that also has a small animal section.

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Allergy brainstorm

    Wash it with bleach. That'll do more good than anything.

    How big is your cage?

  7. #7
    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Allergy brainstorm

    It's a divided 2x6, so they're each in 2x3 for now. It's the largest size we were able to squeeze in. We're a few inches shy of being able to fit a 3x6, but our bed is in the way.

  8. #8
    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Allergy brainstorm

    I just bought bleach, oxyclean, and arm and hammer sensitive skin (no dyes or perfumes) detergent.

    Can the bleach and oxyclean be used together, or is it one or the other?

  9. #9
    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Allergy brainstorm

    No, they can be used together.

  10. "Thank you, bpatters, for this useful post," says:


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    Re: Allergy brainstorm

    So I found a 2lb bag of Oxbow organic meadow hay at the farmers' co-op and cleaned everything thoroughly, but when we opened the hay we discovered that it's the dustiest hay I've ever purchased! :(

    Cosmo (the no allergy pig) devoured it, but Gus is just pulling it out of the feeder and throwing it on the floor, nibbling occasionally. Symptoms haven't improved.

    I think I should try to get a vet phone consultation to approve the benadryl (my boyfriend doesn't like to take advice from the Internet without a professional's approval).

    If the benadryl helps, then we'll keep hunting for allergens. If it doesn't, then I'll take him back in to the vet and see if it might be a very mild, slow moving URI.

    I'm wondering if it's not the type of hay that's the problem, but the amount of dust it produces. What is a good low dust hay that I can buy in smaller quantities to test my theory? He's had Symptoms while eating Oxbow timothy, oxbow meadow, and kaytee orchard.

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    Re: Allergy brainstorm

    The dosage comes from the Exotic Animal Formulary, by James W. Carpenter. It's the bible of drug dosages for exotic animals, and will be the book that your vet uses to check the drug and amount.

    One hay doesn't have any more dust than another. The dust depends on the harvesting conditions and how long the hay has been sitting around in a bag on the store shelf. But your problem may well be the dust instead of the hay.

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    Re: Allergy brainstorm

    Are there any good techniques for extracting dust at home? If I could get all the dust out before storing the hay it might work.

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