Apart from feeding them and quick hellos every day, I haven’t been able to spend much time with them since last weekend and have had to delegate lap time to the b/f, who likes to pat them but doesn´t know much else about cavies in general.
Anyway, all this is why I haven’t noticed what seems to have happened all of a sudden. Carrie has 3 large (about 1 1/2 inch) and 1 small (about 1/4 inch) open sores on her torso, above her arms (2 large on the left, the others on the right). Worse, I noticed it when I caught Daisy chewing at Carrie’s shoulder. I was horrified, and, weirder still, Carrie didn’t seem perturbed at all – she barely moved a muscle while Carrie chewed away.
The sores aren´t bleeding but they´re very raw and red and look extremely painful.
At first I thought it was barbering gone pathologically overboard, but then I checked them all over and found that Daisy, Lucy and Carrie have some clear symptoms of mites:
- tiny scabs elsewhere on Carrie and a couple on Daisy, while Lucy has one tiny one on her rump, immediately surrounded by small amounts of greasy dandruff;
- the hair on Daisy’s belly and on the rosettes on her back is a little thin, and Carrie and Lucy both have a couple of (very small) balding spots; and
- Daisy and Lucy occasionally scratch themselves (although, strangely, Carrie doesn’t), and all three react to my touching their lower backs (near the rump) by chewing the towels beneath them (no fits though, that I´ve noticed, and I´ve been keeping an eye on them all evening).
Textbook case, right?
What really confuses me is that Alfie, bless her, seems 100% okay and has no symptoms (she very occasionally chews towels but she’s done that ever since I got her, even without me touching her), although that probably just means her system is stronger than the others’, doesn’t it? Certainly, she’s never looked healthier.
I can’t tell you how furious I am with myself for not picking this up earlier, but it seems to have come out of nowhere just in the last week.
I’m taking all four of them to the vet first thing tomorrow morning, but in the meantime I have some questions.
1 Why is Daisy chewing at Carrie? If Carrie herself was causing the wounds I could understand it, but this doesn’t make sense. And why doesn’t Carrie scream with pain when Daisy chews her?
2 Should I separate Carrie from the others (particularly Daisy the cannibal) tonight to stop her wound getting worse?
3 Could the mites have incubated since I got Daisy (about 10 weeks ago), and why would they suddenly emerge now? Could it be because of the recent heat helping the mites proliferate (unsure of this, though I know fleas and other nasties multiply in summer) or could they have another, underlying illness that has compromised their immune system and allowed this to crop up? If so, where do I start in terms of diagnosing it? (Other than the mites symptoms, they all seem healthy and none have lost weight – actually, they’ve all put a bit on recently.)
4 If it hasn’t been incubating and they’ve only just been infested, where could they have picked it up? There are no other animals nearby and they haven’t got any new cage equipment that could have introduced it. The only other animals I’ve been near are my parents’ dog and cat, but are mange mites on cavies the same ones dogs and cats can carry?
Plus, I’ve only been to this vet once before, about 4 or 5 months ago Although she seemed very good last time, I’m nervous that she won’t give the right treatment. Having done a search and read up, I’m thinking I should just ask her to treat with ivermectin without putting them through the trauma of a skin scrape. Is this right?
More questions, on treatment:
- Should I have her treat for fungus as well?
- Will they need two or three ivermectin treatments?
- How do I decontaminate the cage (cubes/coro lining) – is bleach strong enough or should I get new coro? And should I get rid of their towels or just soak them in bleach and/or hot water?
I think that’s all my questions for now. Sorry for such an epic post but I’m seriously panicking and feeling like a very, very bad slave.
Have they ever been treated with ivermectin? As I understand it, mites can be around for quite sometime w/o showing symptoms.
I´m wondering if Carrie didn´t cause the sores on her own from scratching & Daisy discovered them after? "above the arms" is a place they can reach with their hind legs. (The pigs I took in from PA had this problem - after 2 doses of ivermectin the scabs healed - they received 4 doses total)
If Daisy´s relentless on her grooming, chewing or whatever it is that she is doing, I would remove Carrie (or Daisy) for now.
If it were me, I´d skip the skin scrapings -- go for ivermectin, at least 3 treatments.
As far as the cage goes, if it´s plastic -- a good cleaning with bleach should be enough.
Lynx will have more input I´m certain -- and you might want to check over Guinea Lynx
Read the ivermectin page on Guinea Lynx. Read the info on mange mites too . Call your vet and ask whether she will treat without doing scrapings. If you are good with figures and confident, you might even try doing it yourself. I would do the ivermectin first and see where you stand after that. The vet may have some ideas for treating any open sores. Make sure it isn´t something that could be licked off and harm the intestinal flora.
I think you´re right about the mites.
- Thanks for the Memories
Bleach was enough for me when Jules was a mess. I don´t know if it helped any but I let his pen sit in the sun to dry, kind of thinking that the sun would help (works for vultures...) I also threw out his hidey box every time I cleaned (deliberately used disposable cardboard).
2. I don´t think it will make any difference. It sounds like Daisy is only doing what Carrie can´t.
3. Yes, mites could have been incubating since you got Daisy. Did Daisy have Ivermectin treatments when you got her? Mites can be dormant for months. Stress and lowered immune systems will exacerbate symptoms. Increased scratching, discomfort when being touched, unexplained skin lesions and bald spots, a telltale "V" mark of barbered hair in the centre of the back, reddened skin on pink skinned pigs(usually redder where hair starts compared to the skin behind the ears), frantic chewing at the ground when the back is "scrabbled", and seizures (in extreme cases) are all signs of mites.
4. I am 99% certain they picked them up from the new pig. However, if you are in the habit of fondling strange pigs without washing your hands and changing your clothes before handling your pigs, mite eggs (I believe the eggs can reside on the surface, the adults bury into the skin - Lynx can confirm) can hitch a ride home with you. This has been the experience of some vet techs with pigs at home. The sarcoptic mites on cavies are species specific meaning they do not come from your cat or dog and your cat and dog can´t be infested with them.
You mean to tell me *gulp* that you introduced a new pig to your resident pigs without treating her with Ivermectin during quarantine? *scream of horror* I might just have to get on your case, then. No, seriously, I hope Daisy gets better soon.
You mean I can´t bleach my pigs anymore? But I thought they looked sexier when they are blonde!
Actually, I didn´t know we should routinely treat all new pigs with Ivermectin. I´ve always been timid at just the thought of potential math errors, so I guess I must have blocked this rule out of my mind.
EDIT: Alfie, I´m so sorry that you have your handsful with suffering piggies. Best wishes to them and to you. I hope that they feel better soon.
I once had a hamster whose brothers chewed his skin off in a spot roughly 1-1/2 inches in diameter which is a huge portion of a hamster´s backside. The vet gave me a small plastic squeeze bottle of antibiotic powder which I "sprayed" onto his back. The powder worked incredibly well. His skin and fur both grew back and you couldn´t tell that he´d ever been injured. Unfortunately, I do not know what the powder was. Perhaps Josephine might know what it would be based upon what I have described here in regard to its usage.
I took them to the vet this morning, who confirmed mites. She gave them all jabs of ivermectin, with varying reactions. Carrie screamed like... um... a stuck pig?... whereas Alf just sat there happily as she always does. I´m going back in 10 days for another round. The vet checked them over and seemed to think the heat may have played a part in their outbreak, but also gave me a fungicidal wash to treat them with just in case.
Their entire cage setup has been bleached and is drying outside as I type (this hot sun comes in handy at last). I´m going to follow RS´s lead of cardboard hideys, but what about their dozen or so towels? I´m prepared to throw them out, but could I bleach them?
E, I must plead ignorance and/or stupidity on treating during quarantine. I must have read it at some stage in the dozens of info pages I´ve gone through over the past year, but for some reason it hadn´t sunk in. To be honest, I thought mites had a much shorter incubation period and if they didn´t show up over the 3 weeks of quarantine you were in the clear. Patently not...
E, I´d love to see your bottle blondes when their roots need a touch-up - do they overdraw their lipliner, too, to achieve the full Pamela Anderson look?
And I never fondle strange pigs. They at least have to buy me a drink first.
As for mites, they are just so small, you never really know if they are there. The ivermectin is systemic (affecting all mites on the pig) and I tend to think drastic measures are not needed -- but basic cleanliness will do. This is where a third shot may help (to catch anything stray). In the case of a fungal infection, burning and bleaching may be necessary.