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Itching And Twitching

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FayeM

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Hi everyone

I'm new to this site and a new guinea pig mummy so looking for some advice if anyone can help. I bought my 2 boars from a breeder 8 days ago and they were just 8 weeks when I collected them. One of them is very nervous and hasn't really gotten used to be handled as yet, but will be hand fed. Tonight when holding him he started to twitch quite violently and lie on his side. When back in the cage he hasn't twitched as much only a little bit hasn't yet laid on his side while in there. He is itching and scratching a lot (and the other is scratching too but not as much). I have read about mites being the possible problem however they have both been having white pees so not sure if this is related? Is it safe to use anti mite drops even if I am uncertain if it is definitely mites? Any other ideas would be great

Thanks in advance
Faye
 

Merrypigs Sanctuary

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The twitching when held suggests fitting to me -which when joined up with the itching might mean a severe fungal infection :( The fitting/twitching usually occurs during handling and hair removal and can seem awful, but if it is fungal, you'll find it stops once the infected hair is removed. Is his fur scurfy and his skin a bit dry/crusty? Where is he itching the most?

Ooh, and regarding white pee - pig pee is naturally cloudy, but if it feels gritty or dries powdery you'll need to reduce dietary calcium :)
 

FayeM

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There are no marks or sores on his skin and his fur is completely smooth. Itching is mostly under his tummy and behind is ears and he seems to be sleeping outside of his bed tonight he has always been a bit twitchy when being held but it's the first time he has laid on his side
 

Merrypigs Sanctuary

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If he's sleeping outside his bed he might be a bit hot, especially if his ears are pink (if he doesnt have dark ones) :) If you part his fur, can you see anything stuck to the hairs near the bottom? They might be mites. Do his ears look crusty at all?
 

FayeM

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No his ears look fine. I haven't been able to part his fur properly since he did it as he seemed to be panicking so I put him in his cage. The other one ( Bruce ) has started scratching more now too but Norman is asleep so I think I may leave them be until the morning and try and handle him again then and I'll go and get some spot on drops, can the drops harm them if it isn't mites?
 

helen105281

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Definitely needs a vet visit so they can diagnose properly, I am thinking the behaviour makes it sound more like mange mites which need to be treated with a course of at least 3 Ivermectin treatments a week apart. For mange mites I prefer the injections as I have found them to be more effective and if they are that sensitive that they are fitting I would be concerned about using a spot on treatment. Are you certain it is not popcorning you are seeing?

I agree fungal is a possibility too but the treatment for that is different. Imaverol dips are my preferred fungal treatment as it is effective and gentle enough to be used on young babies.

Do the hairs look broken half way down the shaft? (this could indicate mange mites)
Does the hair seem greasy? does the skin seem excessively pink? (both of these could indicate fungal).
Debris on the ends of the hair could also indicate fungal.

Please note that there are many types of fungal, most of which will not show up if the vet offers to test for it, only Ringworm does.

If they are fitting you need to get them seen as soon as possible.

Welcome to the forum.
 

Merrypigs Sanctuary

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It can't harm them but might increase their resistance to the active ingredient :) You could take them to a vet and have their skin checked over to be sure - some external parasites only respond to shampoos or dips, and if he has the beginnings of fungal the drops won't help :( He might just be twitchy because he's uncomfy :)
 

FayeM

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Thank you to you both, I don't think it was a fit as he was fully alert and it was almost like he was trying to get away but kicking out too ( I read that when fitting they will be unresponsive is this right?) he does popcorn a lot but he hasn't done it when being held before - is this possible?
 

helen105281

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It doesn't sound that much like a fit to me either then, best to get them checked by a vet though if they are scratching that much. My Gertie had a really bad case of mange mites years ago and used to scratch so much she would fit but I can't remember if she was unresponsive, if she was it was very brief.
 

FayeM

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I'm just thinking I changed to a different brand of bedding on Friday could it be that? I've also been introducing new veggies as I don't think they had them at the breeder, could this be related? They had parsley and coriander about 10 minutes before it happened
 

helen105281

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I wouldn't have thought it would be the veg, unless it was sheer excitement. What bedding are you using and what were they on before?
 

Wiebke

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Hi everyone

I'm new to this site and a new guinea pig mummy so looking for some advice if anyone can help. I bought my 2 boars from a breeder 8 days ago and they were just 8 weeks when I collected them. One of them is very nervous and hasn't really gotten used to be handled as yet, but will be hand fed. Tonight when holding him he started to twitch quite violently and lie on his side. When back in the cage he hasn't twitched as much only a little bit hasn't yet laid on his side while in there. He is itching and scratching a lot (and the other is scratching too but not as much). I have read about mites being the possible problem however they have both been having white pees so not sure if this is related? Is it safe to use anti mite drops even if I am uncertain if it is definitely mites? Any other ideas would be great

Thanks in advance
Faye
Hi! I agree that you need to have your guinea pigs seen by a good vet for a proper diagnosis; we cannot give you that and without seeing it, we cannot judge how serious the twitching episode is - at the mildest, it can be a reaction to you stroking him on very sensitive and painful skin.
The twitching and certainly the itching can be down to mange mites, which are not uncommon in breeder and shop piggies. Mange mites typically start with heavy duty itching; the hair loss is secondary to the scratching and biting because of the acute discomfort.

Please DO NOT home treat on spec with los dosed shop products, as they won't get on top of the mites and will make things worse rather than better - at the very worst it can lead to resistence to the one product that can kill mange mites. If it is mites, your two piggies need to be treated with the correct dosage for their weight with a good quality ivermectin product, at least 3 times, spaced 1-2 weeks apart depending on the product used. If your vet decides that serious fitting may in play, it is advisable to inject the ivermectin rather than treating topically with a spot-on.

As we have got members from all over the world, it would help us a lot for enabling us to tailor any advice to what is available and doable where you are and to give you specific recommendations if you please added your country, state/province or UK county to your details. click on your username on the top bar, then go to personal details and scroll down to location. Thank you.
 

FayeM

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Ok, I think it is definitely mites, I got up early this morning to spend time with them before work and they are scratching like crazy although no hair loss as yet :( I feel so bad for them. I've managed to register them with the local vet and book an appointment for 3pm today, poor things. thank you all for your help I'm glad I found this site!
 

Wiebke

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Ok, I think it is definitely mites, I got up early this morning to spend time with them before work and they are scratching like crazy although no hair loss as yet :( I feel so bad for them. I've managed to register them with the local vet and book an appointment for 3pm today, poor things. thank you all for your help I'm glad I found this site!
Please do not be tempted to do anything until you see the vet, as distressing as it is. That will enable your vet to step in with the appropriate treatment straight away, which he would not be able to if your piggies had already some ivermectin in the system.
The itching should go down noticeably within 2-3 days after the first dose and cease completely after the second round. The third round of treatment is for making sure to catch any emerging eggs and prevent a comeback. Do not bathe during that time, as it could trigger fitting. I would also recommend to not try to pet them on the rump while their skin is painfully inflamed. There are tips on how you can work on establishing a bond in other ways in the link below.

However, the good news is that it doesn't sound like it is one of the really severe cases where piggies scratch and bite themselves bloody and bald from the pain. You seem to have caught it in time, so it should hopefully be a pretty straight forward affair once started. ;)

All the best! Mange mites are opportunists living in the skin of most guinea pigs, but are usually kept under control by a working immune system. The young, the pregnant and the elderly are most at risk of an outbreak whenever their somewhat frailer immune is lowered through illness or stress - like the move to a new home and new surroundings.

You may find the tips in our new owners information bundle helpful: " Starter Kit" Of Information Threads For New Owners
 

FayeM

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Thank you Wiebke, no I haven't done anything this morning, just spot cleaned the cage without getting them out. I don't want to distress them anymore than they already are. They are sleeping now and quite still so hopefully 3pm will hurry up so we can get them there. It must be driving them mad!
 

Wiebke

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Thank you Wiebke, no I haven't done anything this morning, just spot cleaned the cage without getting them out. I don't want to distress them anymore than they already are. They are sleeping now and quite still so hopefully 3pm will hurry up so we can get them there. It must be driving them mad!
Just brace yourself that the ivermectin needs 2-3 days to do its job, so you have to sit this out. As you are having them seen promptly, you are keeping the discomfort as short as you can.
 

Hannah Boyd

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Hi @FayeM I probably wouldn't handle them while the ivermectin is working but you could try hand feeding veggies for bonding activities instead. I found that made mine very human friendly very quickly! I also don't know if anyone else does this, @Wiebke ? but I keep some ivermectin handy in my "piggie medical box" so you can treat straight away when you spot the signs for mites. I got it online from a pet med store, vetsuk or something equivalent. But a vet visit is always best if you aren't sure.
 
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