Dry skin problem

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Post   » Sat Jan 19, 2002 1:55 pm

Hi everyone! I am new to this site, and have a question concerning dry skin. I have 2 pigs, both females, that live together in a large cage. I noticed a few days ago that when I scratch a spot on their backs, they go nuts!! Trying to bite me, etc. It seems to only be dry skin, I don´t see any mites, but there are very small dandruff-like flakes. They have no contact with any other animals. What should I do? Give them baths? It doesn´t seem to be bothering them otherwise. But if my pigs aren´t happy, I´m not happy! Any insight would help.  ?( :)


Post   » Sat Jan 19, 2002 2:13 pm

Some mites that cause itching are not visible to the naked eye and some are not even detectable through skin scrapings at the veterinarians. There is good information on this topic in the GuineaLynx medical guide:


Or click on the GuineaLynx button above. You might want to read about mites there and check back with further questions. This a topic that many guinea pig owners encounter and I´m sure someone here will be able to answer your questions.
Last edited by pigpal on Sat Jan 19, 2002 2:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.


Post   » Sat Jan 19, 2002 2:54 pm

Thank you very much for your response!;)
If I have any more questions about my itchy pigs, I´ll post ´em!!
They´ll be going to the vet if I can´t identify the problem.

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Post   » Sat Jan 19, 2002 3:41 pm

It does sound like a classic case of mange mites. The furmites are actually larger and don´t seem to cause as much irritation as the mange mites do. I´m betting Pigpal meant to give you the mange mite link instead (she knows all about them).

Ivermectin is the treatment of choice. The sooner you take care of it, the better. Healthy pigs are sometimes not as prone to severe outbreaks but if you are experiencing any of the symptoms you describe, it´s a good bet they need an ivermectin treatment. You can read about ivermectin at the same site (look for "Ivermectin" in the index).

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Post   » Sun Jan 20, 2002 1:05 am

If it is mites, most likely the first sign that you will see is a chewed area in the center back, right where they can reach. It will look like a sore. Ivermectin (orally) is needed for those. Fur mites are black specks on the fur that just affect the fur, not the skin.
If it is a very flaky spot, it might be fungus. I have a sow who seems to constantly have fungus. Some home cures for fungus are athletes´ foot spray or cream after a bath ( I use selsun blue, but others use nutrogena t-gel and other human dandruff shampoos to battle the fungus), a series of baths in an iodine based shampoo, or reppeated application of betadine or another iodine based formula to the affected spots.
You can also get something that is very effective against fungs from your vet, it is a dip called Lym Dyp. It stinks, and is an ugly yellow, but it works.
No matter how you treat fungus you will have to keep up the treatments for a week to a month, as well as cleaning the cage thouroughly to get rid of the problem.


Post   » Sun Jan 20, 2002 1:18 am

I agree, this does sound like mange mites. Though I do suggest reading the whole section as a good introduction to various causes of the itchies.

I thought that link brought up the start of the topic. It does for me.


Post   » Mon Jan 21, 2002 1:17 am

Hi everyone! Thank you so much for your insight! Well, here is an update: I got both my pigs out this evening, and put them under a bright light to see if I had missed anything. Boy, did I ever!! There were little tiny white wormy bugs moving through their hair.:( I especially noticed them on Snickers, the predominantly black pig. I am going to get on the medical guide right now and hopefully figure out what to do for the pigs. Also, can they catch these things from hay and bedding? I am very curious as to how these nasty things found my piggies!! Thank you much!!


Post   » Mon Jan 21, 2002 1:54 am

Tiny, white wormy things - if you can see them without a magnifying glass they are most likely lice rather than mites. See:


If so, lice can easily be treated with Advantage, a topical anti-flea medication for dogs and cats. You will need just ONE drop on the bald spots behind the pigs ears.

If you are not sure exactly what the creatures are, it would be best to take your pig to see a cavy knowledgable vet. Preferable one who specializes in exotics rather just cats and dogs.
Last edited by pigpal on Mon Jan 21, 2002 1:56 am, edited 1 time in total.


Post   » Wed Jan 23, 2002 8:47 pm

Hi everyone!! Thank you for all your help. Pigpal, I have just one more question!! I gave the Advantage to my guineas and I was wondering how long it takes to eliminate the lice. I gave it to them on monday night, and they still have a few. I would think they would all be gone by now, but there could still be more hatching, I guess. Any thoughts would help!!


Post   » Wed Jan 23, 2002 9:05 pm

I think it could take a few days for the lice to totally disappear, although I never had a big enough infestation to really notice how long it took.

If necessary, you reapply the Advantage 30 days later.

The exact dose my vets worked out for me was 0.1cc/kg


Post   » Wed Jan 23, 2002 11:22 pm

The remaining lice should get killed off as they hatch and feed. My vet indicated he found the one drop behind each ear effective, but more precise is always better.

If you still have a problem in a month I would treat them again, calculating the dose as Pinta suggests.


Post   » Wed Jan 23, 2002 11:56 pm

Thanks Pinta and Pigpal!! I appreciate it!!:)

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