Sniffing And Scratching

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Samantha Bates

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Hi there,

I have noticed some odd behaviour in one of my guinea pigs which I have not come across before with my previous two boys. I have had my two boars for about a month now and they are still youngsters. Unfortunately, they have suffered from a number of health problems since we got them home, which the vets at the store are still treating them for: mites, conjunctivitis and a suspected respiratory infection. The whole ordeal has been very upsetting and stressful and rest assured I will never purchase guinea pigs from a pet shop again. At this point in time they have had three doses of the invermectin 'spot on' treatment and are still scratching. I'm also still unsure whether the respiratory infection has completely cleared and will be returning to the vet on Thursday to get this checked. Any comments on this would also be greatly appreciated.

The reason for my post is that I have noticed one of them has recently taken to sniffing the other one's behind. I know to a degree that this is normal behaviour, however the amount that it has been happening seems excessive as it goes on for long periods of time and it is far more than a 'quick sniff'. He also doesn't seem to get the hint that he needs to stop when my other guinea, who lets him do it for a little while but eventually gets fed up, gives him the signal that enough is enough.

I just wondered if anyone else had come across this behaviour to this degree. My other boars had the odd sniff but nothing like this. They are on fleece bedding and I am going to change the fleece today as it has occurred to me that it could be the smell of the washing detergent causing it, therefore I have washed the next fleeces on a high temperature but without any detergent.

Any other tips or advice would be greatly appreciated. I just want to start enjoying my two lovely boys without constantly worrying about them.

Thanks!
 

Wiebke

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Hi and welcome!

I am very sorry for your bad start.

As we have members from all over the world asking for advice, we find it very helpful if you please added your country, state or (for the UK) your county to your details. so we can always adapt any advice and recommendation to what is available/possible for you where you are. Please click on your username on the top bar, then go to personal details and scroll down to location. Thanks!

Mites:
Generally, the scratching should stop after the second round. What product in which strength and at which interval have you been prescribed? Has your vet considered a fungal problem instead?
I would recommend that you get hold of F10 disinfectant, which is not only antibacterial but also antifungal and the only one that also kills ringworm spores for a deep clean. Washing the fleece at 60 C will kill most fungal spores and bugs; we recommend to wash fleece regularly at this temperature. The detergent is not the cause for the sniffing. For a deep clean you will have to wash at 90 C; fleece will survive it, but shrink somewhat.

Sniffing:
Any antibiotics - especially the only officially licensed one for guinea pigs, baytril, which you have been most liekly prescribed and which is quite hard on the guts - don't only kill the bacteria that make the piggies ill, but also the good ones in the guts. We recommend to give a pinch of probiotic 1-2 hours after the antibiotic to help bolster the guts.
Recovering guinea pigs help themselves by snatching poos from healthy guinea pigs' bums, preferably the treasured caecotrophs which contain the goodies for re-digestion. They not only contain lots of half digested fibre, but also plenty of gut bacteria. If one of your pair is healthy, soaking some fresh poos in water and then syringing that water is actually a very effective way of stocking up the affected guts, as gross as it is - and the piggies in question usually love it!
Here is more information about probiotics and vitamin C: https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk...vitamin-c-overview-with-product-links.115404/

If you are worried about the gender: http://www.cavyspirit.com/sexing.htm

You can find lots of other information at the top of our various Care sections, which you may find helpful in settling in and making friends with your boys, but you are most welcome to ask any questions you may have. We will answer them all! These information threads here may be the ones of most urgency for you:
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk...or-a-balanced-general-guinea-pig-diet.116460/
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/boars-a-guide-to-successful-companionship.76162/
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/guinea-pig-body-quirks.58854/
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk...stincts-and-speak-piggy-body-language.117031/

We have got vet locator on the top bar for our UK members where we have tried to list the best piggy vets for as amny areas as possible. We may be able to provide contacts for other countries if you wish to get a second opinion.
 

Samantha Bates

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Wiebke, thank you so much for such a detailed respones. I will look into the f10 disinfectant you mentioned. They have now had three rounds of invermectin. The first two we administered 10 days apart. Unfortunately I've thrown the box away now so I can't tell you the dosage. One week ago, after another 7 days, the vet administered a third dose but again I can't tell what the dosage was. I also wondered, as you suggested, whether the cause of the scratching could be something other than mites.

Yes it was baytril that we were prescribed for the sniffing. I felt that this had cleared up, however when I took them for a check up at the vets she could still hear something- not in their lungs but slightly higher up. Because of this she prescribed a week of Zithromax. This was a complete disaster- immediately they were off their fresh food and I was barely having to muck their cage out for poos, whereas before I needed to do this at least once a day. Obviously we immediately stopped the medication after one dose and their appetite has now returned to normal. I have not heard any sneezing since but am still concerned that there could be an infection lingering as the medication was stopped prematurely. I am hoping to return to the vets about this later in the week. I will mention your suggestion of a fungal infection re the scratching at the same time.

You asked where we are based- we live in Surrey in the UK. If there are any specialist vets nearby that would recommended I would be really keen to visit one, as I have always felt that, nice as the vets I have seen the past are, the treatments are always a bit 'hit and miss'.

Thanks also for the suggestion as to why one of them could be 'sniffing' the other one. I have read about eating one another's poo before so did wonder if it could be this. I will pluck up the courage to try out your syringe idea!

Thank you again.
 

Wiebke

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Zithromax is a very strong antibiotic; it should always be taken with a generous amount of probiotics, according to my own piggy savvy vet, who was one of the pioneers of Zithromax. Could you ask your vet to try marbocyl instead of zithromax if the URI symtpoms persist? This is a stronger form of baytril and has been recommended to me by another vet specialising in guinea pigs for respiratory issues where baytril is not enough. To be honest, your vet sounds like he/she has at least recourse to another piggy savvy vets.
The 10 days interval is also well within the usual perimeters of mites treatment. Xeno 50 is the usual spot-on product for guinea pigs under 800g.

Try our vet locator: https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/pages/guinea-pig-vet-locator/
If you ever need it, we also have got a rescue locator; there should be several good piggy savvy rescues within your reach.
 

Samantha Bates

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Hi,

I posted about my guinea pigs a couple of weeks ago who appeared to have mites and were undergoing treatment for it. Last time I saw the vet she checked their skin and felt that there was no evidence of mites other than a little wriggling on one of them when she scratched their lower back. Because of this she prescribed another round of xeno 50 mini spot on treatment as a precautionary measure. We were told to give them three tubes each. This was their fourth treatment and she said that she has known for it to take up to six treatments to cure the mites. I feel that the scratching has lessened slightly, however it hasn't stopped completely. Because of this I called the vets again yesterday and asked for a further treatment. They did not see my guineas but gave me another 3 tubes each. When I got the package home the label said to give one pipette once a month.

I'm now unsure whether to follow this instruction or to give them all at once, as I have been doing up until now. If the mites have nearly cleared up would it be best to give a smaller amount over a longer period or would this be ineffective? My feeling is that I should give each of them all three at once but I wanted to ask some advice on this.

Thanks in advance!
 

Wiebke

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Hiya!

As you say you can see something wiggling, you cannot be dealing with invisible mange mites, but must mean a different skin parasite.
Here is the list of what guinea pigs can have; they need different treatments and ivermectin is not necessarily effective: http://www.guinealynx.info/parasites.html

Has your vet also checked for the potential of fungal?
We have got a recommended piggy savvy vet locator on the top bar.
 

Samantha Bates

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Hi,

Thanks for you reply. Sorry, I wasn't clear- I meant my guinea pig wriggled a little bit when she scratched his back which she said might be a sign of discomfort as a result of mites. She couldn't see anything on his skin other than slight dandruff which again she said could be a sign of mites. Do you think I should put the remaining tubes of ivermectin on them?

I have used the vet locator and have found a fantastic vet nearby so thank you for that link. I have taken my other guinea pig for a check up with this vet, but as the pets at home vets are treating my newer guineas free of charge at the moment (due to them being poorly when they were sold to me) I have been taking them to this vet for the time being. I should imagine I've run up quite a bill there by now!
 

Wiebke

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Hi,

Thanks for you reply. Sorry, I wasn't clear- I meant my guinea pig wriggled a little bit when she scratched his back which she said might be a sign of discomfort as a result of mites. She couldn't see anything on his skin other than slight dandruff which again she said could be a sign of mites. Do you think I should put the remaining tubes of ivermectin on them?

I have used the vet locator and have found a fantastic vet nearby so thank you for that link. I have taken my other guinea pig for a check up with this vet, but as the pets at home vets are treating my newer guineas free of charge at the moment (due to them being poorly when they were sold to me) I have been taking them to this vet for the time being. I should imagine I've run up quite a bill there by now!
Squirming when the skin is touched can be a sign of mild mange mites, as is fine dandruff from dead skin cells in the wake of an attack. I would recommend to continue the treatment.
 
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