Going to vet, would some advice

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Post   » Tue Jan 08, 2002 9:03 am

Hello. I am taking two pigs to my vet today. I want to be prepared with a list of questions and/or suggestions. Some of you may remember that a vet misdiagnosed my Sable two weeks ago and she died as a result. This is not the same vet as I am home in Va. now. I have a truly super vet here but want to be prepared. Patch is going in for a sort of V shaped bald spot on his back. Good appetite, some itching, no lethargy. His cagemate is fine, no hairloss at all. There is a bit of flaky skin but not much, he does scratch at the spot. Could be mites, but Streak is fine. Oscar is going in because I think his teeth may be growing too long. He eats well but more slowly than normal and drools. I´d appreciate it anyone can give me any hints about what this could be and treatments.

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Post   » Tue Jan 08, 2002 9:10 am

All I can think of is the vet advice on Guinea Lynx (see index page for link). There is an article there with some questions from Kleenmama. And links to other people who have suggestions for tracking down a good vet.

Personally, I would ask questions relating to mites and treatment -- whether they must be found on a skin scraping (this is the first thing I would do for a pig with that type of hairloss) and ask questions about malocclusion (maybe reread the teeth page to think up some).

Hope you find someone you think knows what he is doing.

P.S. I moved this because it may be useful to turn up in a search in the med forum in the future.
Last edited by Lynx on Tue Jan 08, 2002 9:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post   » Tue Jan 08, 2002 10:26 am

Right, I´ve looked at Guinealynx. I´ve been through the mite thing and skin scrapings so I´m prepared for that. Thanks.


Post   » Tue Jan 08, 2002 4:02 pm

If Patch has mites (that really sounds like it), his cagemate will have to be treated too, even if he doesn´t show signs, and so will all the other pigs he´s been in contact with. I´d treat all of them to prevent reinfestations.

Good luck!


Post   » Tue Jan 08, 2002 4:16 pm

Probably too late but My guess is mites. Dufferent pigs can be affected to different degrees. A mild infestation might not bother one pig at all, but make his cagemate miserable. For that reason you must treat ALL poigs rather than just the one with the symptoms.

The drooling could be from something caught in the throat or more likely, malocclusion. It is imperative that you find a vet experienced with guinea pig teeth if malocclusion is the problem. An inexperienced vet can make the problem worse instead of better. One sign of an experienced vet is the presence of buccal pad separators in his/her clinic.

If the drooling is combined with slow and steady weight loss, the diagnosis does point to malocclusion.

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Post   » Tue Jan 08, 2002 5:35 pm

...or oral problems of some kind (abscess, etc.) -- something interfering with how he eats.

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Post   » Tue Jan 08, 2002 6:49 pm

The vet did scrapings on Patch even though I was completely against it. She didn´t find any mites. She thinks from the sheared off hairs that his cagemate is chewing on him. He is scratching but she thinks it´s also from stress. Stress from traveling and now from living in small bins b/c I have no heat in my apt and am staying with a friend. The vet also thoroughly checked out Oscar´s teeth. She checked front ones and molars, they are fine. She even had one of her fellow vets look at his teeth. So I´m to watch Patch for anymore hair loss and to see once I get home and get them back in their normal cages if it begins to clear up. I just need to keep an eye on Oscar for drooling. He weighs 2.2 lbs. Thanks for your thoughts and ideas. It´s nice to be able to get opinions.


Post   » Tue Jan 08, 2002 7:19 pm

Pigs aren´t competent or artistic enough to chew hairs off in a V shape. The V shape comes from the sweep of the pig´s jaw as he turns to frantically chew at his back.

How many scrapings did the vet do? 4 or 5? It could take that many to find evidence of mites. Once our vet figured that out years ago, she stopped doing scrapings for mites and just treated with ivermectin. To be honest I really believe your vet is missing the boat on this one. Everything you describe is screaming "MITES".

I do have a family of pigs that drool when they are relaxed(mother, son and daughter). To the degree of leaving little puddles of saliva. They are the only ones I have ever had drool naturally.

One pig who was drooling severely, we had sedated (the vet needed to do a thorough exam) because we thought something was caught in his throat. She found nothing but the drooling stopped once the pig woke up. We assume that her examinatiion dislodged whatever was causing trouble.

But if your pig is chewing slower than normal, slowly losing weight(could be just an ounce or two a month to start with) and drooling, I think you should consider seeing an animal dentist. These are classic symptoms of malocclusion.

Animal Dentist Site. You might find one for your vet to consult with.

Did your vet use a buccal pad separator to examine him?
Last edited by pinta on Tue Jan 08, 2002 9:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post   » Tue Jan 08, 2002 8:39 pm

She did 6 scrapings and found no mites under the scope. She said if he contiunes to lose hair bring him back in. She said she was hesitant to give him meds b/c she couldn´t find any evidence of mites. I know when Happy had them it took 4 scrapings before the vet found any. Happy had an oily substance in the area of the mite infestation and didn´t want to be touched. Patch doesn´t mind the bald spot being touched. I´ll keep a close eye on him and will take him back if it doesn´t improve or gets worse. Looking at Oscars teeth at she used what I guess was a buccal pad separator. I´ve never seen one before but it had little hand looking things on it, kinda like a pair of salad tongs. He ate his breakfast this am just fine. It was a carrot and lettuce. Maybe last night he had something lodged in his throat b/c he didn´t drool this am but paranoid me took him in anyway. She didn´t see any evidence of overgrown teeth.

I went into thinking I wasn´t leaving without ivermec for Patch. I did that once with Sherman when I took him to a vet in Richmond for the fluid coming out of his eyes when he gave himself a bath. That vet didn´t know squat and gave me baytril partially b/c I insisted. I trust this vet a great deal. She´s been super with my pigs. So I didn´t demand the ivermec. I will watch him very closely for the next few days and see if I can catch Streak chewing on his fur. I´m losing my academic connection here at school. I have to end this post before I lose evertything I typed!


Post   » Tue Jan 08, 2002 8:54 pm

Still points to mites.

Un-needed antibiotics could harm your pig, un-needed Ivermectin doesn´t. I don´t understand what your vet is trying to do. Your pig is already losing quite a bit of hair. Keeping an eye on him? What, exactly, are you supposed to be watching? It doesn´t get any more evident that a V bald spot, you know.

It sounds to me like your vet made a mistake, this time. With mites, you treat with Ivermectin and ask questions later.


Post   » Tue Jan 08, 2002 9:05 pm

Ivermectin when properly dosed is a very safe med and well worth trying. It does not upset the gut flora like antibiotics. It will not adversely affect the pig and will take care of any other parasites that could be causing hair loss. I don´t know why your vet would be hesitant to use it. Read this thread for Ciaytee´s experience with her vet who was reluctant to use Ivermectin.

Sellnick Mite Infestation

Mites really do affect pigs differently. A small infestation can really bother one pig while leaving another feeling just fine. A small infestation is even harder to find evidence of than a "normal" infestation that most pigs would shrug off.


I mention in this thread I had a pig severely allergic to mites. I doubt skin scrapings would have turned ANY up since it probably only took one to affect her, she was that allergic.

Try an unscientific mite test. Scrabble his back and see if he starts chewing the ground or whipping his head around to chew his back. Pigs with mites will do this.

There are pics of buccal pad separators at Guinea Lynx in the teeth section. If your vet is using these it´s a very good sign. (Some vets have even used nail clippers on pigs molars - a very bad sign.) If he was only drooling once - it could have just been something caught in his throat. Weight loss is a key indicator of malocclusion. If he isn´t losing weight malocclusion becomes less of a possibility.

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Post   » Thu Jan 10, 2002 8:45 am

Well, I sat last night for over an hour and watched them, it´s Streak. He is chewing on Patch´s fur. My furnance was finally repaired yesterday so I will be going home and they will be back in their regular cages today. I am hoping that it´s just the closeness of these small cages. Streak is the dominant one and there isn´t room for their pvc tubes in the small cages. Patch does scratch at the area but I´m sure it´s irritated with Streak chewing on it. If the fur doesn´t begin to grow back after a few days in their normal cages we´ll go back to the vet. Thanks for all the advice.


Post   » Sat Jan 12, 2002 6:45 pm

I was thinking about your watching Streak chewing on Patches fur. Do you think there´s a possibility he was grooming him? Not chewing on him?

Alfie´s thread made me think of it:
Help! Big lesion

It´s just that it is so unlikely that a pig would chew a "V´ shaped pattern on another pig unless he is somehow exuding something tasty in a "V" shape...... I have barbering pigs and they don´t restrict themselves to one area or geometric shape.

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Post   » Sat Jan 12, 2002 10:04 pm

I don´t know. Lilly and Grace barber, those are the pigs you´ve seen and there´s certainly not any exotic shapes in their fur. They´ve been back in their cages for two nights now. If I don´t see any change by Monday we´ll go back to the vet for ivermec.


Post   » Sat Jan 12, 2002 10:18 pm

Apatche is getting barbered. He´s one of 3 sort-of peruvians. The other two aren´t being touched. I have no idea who is barbering him but he looks ridiculous. He has turned into an abby with a mohawk. I guess the little bugger responsible couldn´t reach to the top of his head. He is fairly evenly shorn all round except for the very top.

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