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  • ONE THREAD per pig please!
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Hair Loss Newly Developed Bald Spot!

  • Thread starter ThreePiggiesInATub
  • Start date

ThreePiggiesInATub

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Cavy Slave
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Feb 2, 2023
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I know guinea pigs are notorious for hiding illness signs and symptoms until it’s almost too late like the gremlins they are, so I'm hastily trying to find answers for my poor piggie Altair since I just noticed a larger balding patch on her side/belly area. I’m a high school student with a part time job so it’s going to be almost impossible for me to bring her to a vet so I was wondering if you guys had any advice on what the hair loss is caused by and what I can do to treat it properly, much thanks! And I tried to give all the information that I’ve seen often missing from people with similar questions that seems to help diagnose.

Cage Set Up: She’s four years old and kept with two other piggies in an outdoor large cage, which is kept covered at night and hygienic with regular cleans within the proper temperatures for guinea pigs who are kept outdoors. I won’t be isolating Altair since I know it’ll cause her more stress

Her Health: The last time I know for CERTAIN she did not have this bald spot (which was quite well covered by longer fur that went over it) was 12/25/22 because it was the last time I checked her out to make sure she was all dandy so beyond that I don’t know when this developed. I was gone on vacation for a few days a bit ago and my sitter accidentally overfed them veggies (time to educate said sitter) . Altair developed mild bloat from this that went down the next day with some help, I don’t know if this could be contributing to the bald spot.

Her Behavior Currently: There’s no fighting/quarreling between my three female piggies, she has been eating, drinking, exercising, and socializing regularly and healthily. She is not itching, biting, or seems to be irritated by the area and there is no irritability upon touch with the spot.

The Bald Spot in Question: One large bald spot on her side/belly with clear edges and hair loss nowhere else. Her fur is not coming out excessively in clumps- actually not really at all, just normal winter shedding like usual. The skin is the same color as her normal skin (no discoloring) but a tad flakey (like it might be starting to?) with one or two little red spots

Pictures: I tried pretty hard to get good pictures but it was an odd angle to hold her at and pull back the fur so apologies, and please as if you need better ones- bald spot is a little bigger than seen

Newly Developed Bald Spot!
Newly Developed Bald Spot!
Newly Developed Bald Spot!
 
Balding on the side can be a sign of ovarian cysts. I'd want her to see a good exotic vet for diagnosis.
 
Balding on the side can be a sign of ovarian cysts. I'd want her to see a good exotic vet for diagnosis.

If they are ovarian cysts, would spaying her be an option with her age? She just turned 4 this month and I wouldn't want anything to happen to her, she was the first of four piggies I've had over the years- or would the surgery be more complicated than just a spay if she did have a ovarian cyst
 
Spaying is the only sure cure for the cysts, but some cysts can be treated with hormone injections. A good exotic vet could tell you whether a particular cyst is likely to respond to hormones. Some respond, some don't.
 
Update: Just checked Altair out again and she has some extended fur loss right by the natural hairless area behind her ears. She's irritated and shakes her head when I touch the area as well.
Newly Developed Bald Spot!
 
It could be a fungal infection. I'd try treating with an antifungal cream (any pharmacy, any brand). Apply sparingly twice a day with a q-tip, and rub it in well. If it doesn't improve in a week, or gets worse before then, switch to an antibacterial cream and apply the same way.

Is she scratching the areas at all?
 
It could be a fungal infection. I'd try treating with an antifungal cream (any pharmacy, any brand). Apply sparingly twice a day with a q-tip, and rub it in well. If it doesn't improve in a week, or gets worse before then, switch to an antibacterial cream and apply the same way.

Is she scratching the areas at all?
Thanks for all your insight, bpatters! She is not scratching any of the areas at all, just irritated behind the ears.

She has become a lot more calm and friendly with me in these past few days which is kinda weird considering her timeline with the fur loss but it might just be that I'm spending more time with them at the moment.
 
Thought I'd update the thread just for my own record keeping on her health, I'll edit this one as I go:

- 02/05/23: Started the antifungal treatment (terbinafine, x2 per day), a bit of irritated upon application for both ear and side.

- 02/06/23: Scratching started on her bald spot for the first time, very irritated upon application

- 02/07/23: Very irritated and squirmy upon application but once I gave her a treat she let me continue without a problem.
 
Hair loss in guinea pigs can be caused by various factors, including skin infections, mites, stress, hormonal imbalances, and diet. The symptoms you described, such as a large bald spot with clear edges, no excessive clumping of hair, and no signs of itching or irritation, suggest that the hair loss could be due to a skin infection or mite infestation.

To help treat the bald spot, you can try the following:

  1. Clean the cage thoroughly and disinfect it to prevent the spread of any possible infections.
  2. Bathe the affected area with an antiseptic solution, such as chlorhexidine or Betadine, and dry it thoroughly. Repeat the process once a day until the bald spot improves.
  3. Keep the bald spot moisturized with a thin layer of petroleum jelly or a non-toxic, veterinary-approved skin ointment.
  4. Offer a balanced diet with plenty of vitamin C, as a deficiency in this nutrient can also lead to hair loss.
  5. Observe your guinea pig's behavior and overall health, and seek veterinary advice if the condition worsens or if you notice any new symptoms.
Keep in mind that it's always best to consult with a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan, as some skin conditions may require medication or other treatments.
 
Actually, @Anawilliam850, mite infestations always itch. Granted, all animals have mites but not all of them itch, but when it gets to the point of hair loss because of mites, they itch. And none of those treatments you suggest will do anything for the mites.

@ThreePiggiesInATub, I would never tell you not to see a vet if you're concerned about your pig. But many, many pig owners cannot afford a vet visit for a minor skin problem. And in the grand scheme of things, they're usually the easiest and cheapest conditions for an owner to treat themselves. It would be very unusual for a skin condition to present in such a severe state that it would be unsafe for the owner to try the usual treatments before seeing a vet.
 
Actually, @Anawilliam850, mite infestations always itch. Granted, all animals have mites but not all of them itch, but when it gets to the point of hair loss because of mites, they itch. And none of those treatments you suggest will do anything for the mites.

@ThreePiggiesInATub, I would never tell you not to see a vet if you're concerned about your pig. But many, many pig owners cannot afford a vet visit for a minor skin problem. And in the grand scheme of things, they're usually the easiest and cheapest conditions for an owner to treat themselves. It would be very unusual for a skin condition to present in such a severe state that it would be unsafe for the owner to try the usual treatments before seeing a vet.

I'm seeing some results with the antifungal cream you recommended, it's been 5 days and she's still itching a bit but there's a little hair growth. Thank you for all the information, I will keep things updated on here for the better or the worse.

Just out of curiosity, is the hair loss due to fungal infections from the infection itself or from the guinea scratching and pulling hair out or a combo of both?
 
Probably due to a combination of both.

Keep the treatments going for several more days. It can be hard to get fungus completely under control.

Glad she's better!
 
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