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Itchy Skin

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Squeak98

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Hi,
I got up this morning to find that my Guinea pig has a rather striking bald patch around her mouth and chin. The skin seems to be flaky with fur falling out in little clumps. She is an extremely old pig (She's eight and a half!) And not surprisingly in her old age she has encountered numerous illnesses due to her weak immune system. She has already been diagnosed with Guinea pig arthritis, which she is being treated for to make her more comfortable, and she is generally a happy little pig despite this. The bald patch does seem to be spreading down to her chin, and we will be taking her to the vets as soon as possible.

I was just wondering if anyone had encountered this before and whether anyone has any idea what it could be and how I can prevent it from happening.

Thank you.

Side note: I have recently changed her from having a water bottle to a water bowl, as she was finding it increasingly hard to use her water bottle. When she drinks she does tend to dribble it down her chin, however the bald patches are only to the right of her mouth. I hope in my mission to make her more comfortable in her old age I haven't caused this!
 

Critter

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It would be worth taking her to the vets just to rule out fungal infection, which can occur anywhere on the body. It's not likely to be mites because of where it is BUT it is worth the vet checking for that too, just to be sure. Does she keep scratching at it?
 

Squeak98

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Yes she is itching frequently and it does seem to be giving her some discomfort.
 

Wiebke

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It rather sounds like fungal (potentially ringworm), which is one of the opportunists that can hit whenever the immune system is lowered. Good that you have her seen promptly!

That is a very good age indeed!
 

Wiebke

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Those pictures definetly helped, but the skin is more clumped to the fur and tends to stick to it when it falls out, does this sound more like a fungal infection?
Yes, it is typical for a fungal infection that skin flakes with several hairs stuck to them come off. Mange mites are usually tiny scales; the hair is broken half-shaft.
 

Squeak98

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Here are some photos, they are not very clear as she has black fur around her mouth, but you can just about see the irritated skin.
We managed to get this photo by lifting her upright, so the area is quite hidden otherwise.
Also there is quite a distinct smell, which I'm not sure is associated with fungal infections?

IMAG0979_1.jpg

IMAG0975_1.jpg
 

Wiebke

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It looks rather fungally to me, but better get a proper diagnosis!
 

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It looks a bit flaky under the fur. Is that correct? It does look fungal. The vet should be able to give you some stuff for that :) In the mean-time do you happen to have any Hibiscrub? I've read that's good for fungal. Please be aware that humans can catch some fungal infections from guinea pigs, so Hibiscrubbing your own hands is wise too, as is keeping the cage extra clean. x
 

Squeak98

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Yes it is quite flaky, there are flakes of skin and fur on the blanket I'm keeping her on while I clean her cage out, I will also disinfect her cage and give it a good scrub:nod: Our vets doesn't open until 5pm so I'll try and keep her as comfortable as I can until then, unfortuanlty we don't happen to have any hibiscrub at the moment, but seeing as we will be able to get a diagnosis this evening, she won't have to wait long for some treatment. We've all been washing our hands after handling her and checking her over, as you suggested.

Does anyone have any precautions we can take to stop it from recurring, as she is an old pig now, and too many illnesses at her age is going to cause big problems for her, as I'm sure you are aware

Thank you for all the advise so far, I will update on how she is doing x:D
 

Squeak98

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Update: We took her to the vets and it turns out to be mites! The vet removed all of the dead skin and fur and she is now looking much better with spot on treatment for over a course of 4 weeks :nod: Our vet was extremely helpful, definetly recommend anyone with doubts about their Guinea pigs skin condition to visit a veterinary practice, as the vet was able to identify it almost immediately with no stress to my little pig!

Thank you also for any advise that was given, it was very useful and I will bear it in mind in the future :Dx
 
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