Since round april he has been constantly sick. If not eye issue (only left eye) then skin problems. He is currently on Vigamox for a S. Anginosus infection in this left eye and as soon as it clears up I am seeing an eye specialist that is supposed to be the best in town. That eye has been treated by three different vets, all very knowledgeable and trustworthy. I have no reason to doubt them, but the issue is clearly secondary so I will move forward.
The bigger issue is Zyrtec's skin. He has been treated for mites multiple times (doesn't help), he has been treated for fungus topically, and orally (slight improvement after oral medication, but rather confounding factor i suspect). He has been tested for metabolic issues and liver function after the anti fungal treatment and all is normal.
He is only on fleece in cage and no wooden items that can not be properly cleaned. He gets fatty acids with meals in an attempt to hydrate skin (p.o). He dislikes (no irritation of skin, he is just a grumpy boy) Gorgeous guinea calendula, neem soothing gel or regular coconut oil. Neither helps more than temporarily. The skin is not thick or crusty, but rather dry and sensitive. He does have a small fit if he scratches intensely.
The BIG issue is.. When he is at the pet hotel (like now over xmas) he comes back with decent skin! Few days at home and his problem is back. I provide everything for the hotel. Cage, dry food, veggies, fleece, hay, toilet substrate, medication.
Anyone with any experience with skin problems related to air quality, temperature or humidity? I have no clue where the issue lies but this seems to be the only difference between my place and the hotel. That and the fact that their cage at home is bigger and cleaner, but thats hardly the issue here :)
- And got the T-shirt
And how often do you oil his skin? As I understand it, the oil needs to be applied regularly.
But i question that the mites treatments don't work. What medication are you using? What is the strength? What is the dose? How often do you apply it?
He has been treated with Ivermectin at the vet(vetamectin 1% 0,2ml, topical). The last treatment batch was 3 doses in total, ca 10-14 days apart. I have since gotten a new vet that specialise in dermatology that prefers Selamectin, but she sees no indication to treat for mites at this point. She has noted that he has a poor immune system.
He does get better at times, but mostly only for a few weeks and then it comes back and it's mainly unrelated to time of treatments for mites or fungus.
Check what bedding the hotel is using. You can probably find out what the humidity levels are if you visit with a temp/humidity gauge and compare your apartment.
Were both guinea pigs treated for mites? One can be a carrier.
Consider even the detergent you use if you are using fleece.
Try the same bedding as the hotel. There are lots of things to rule out. Avoid the Neem oil.
The hotel is only using my fleece and bath mats that I provide them with so that's a static factor. I noticed that they do use scented detergent, whereas I have tried 2 different brands of unscented, one of them being baby detergent.
The cage mate was treated previous times, but not this last round. I have to add that he is much better than in august which was when the pic was taken. He has no scratches in skin or bleeding, but he is not symptom free.
I don't know if this can happen in guinea pigs, but it was the first thing I thought of because of my staph. It's probably not likely, though.
I have noticed that his skin is better just after the short trip to the vet due to something I could only compare to sweating. I know it sounds ridiculous. His skin always looks great when I pick him up, but he is clearly not all that happy there as he loses a bit of weight that he quickly regains (I only house them there when absolutely necessary).
I have considered fungus at home. I can't see any signs of growth, no humid places or any respiratory problems myself, but I am keeping it in mind. He only had topical fungal treatment that just made his skin worse and oral treatment this autumn that worked as much as placebo in addition to being hell to administer.
He clearly is more sensitive than normal so I will increase moisturisation with calendula lotion and check humidity. The odd thing is that it has been fluctuating since spring, so it has been independent of summer heat and winters cold.
I mainly used pure coconut oil before (spring and summer), it made him look real nice but didn't help with his level of discomfort. It is only on neck behind shoulder blades that is irritated by touch, which I always felt were consistent with mites (?). Maybe if readings are normal I should consider treating with Selamectin in case it is due to ivermectin resistant mites. What are your thoughts on that?
They were both treated 3x 7 days apart during spring and summer. i.e 2x this year. Zyrtec was then treated again this autumn (more days apart) while getting anti fungal treatment and immune stimulating drug.
His skin looks like any normal skinny pig at the moment, but touching or moisturising the area results in loud complaints and is followed by scratching with screams a couple of times during the day. If I don't moisturise he scratches less (if at all some days), but then starts again when skin gets dry 2-3 days later. It doesn't matter what I use to moisturise (I stick to same product minimum 2 weeks).
- And got the T-shirt
What strength of ivermectin did you use? And how much of it? We've had one person do repeated, failed treatment with ivermectin because she used an insulin syringe, not realizing that the markings are different. Once she got the right dosage, the mites went away.
I don't know if the advice on skinnies' and skin would help, but you might want to read over Pink Rufus advice:
I read the Pink Rufus post some time ago and I still find it brilliant. I was at the hotel today and measured just round 30% RH and at my place it is 27% RH. It isn't a significant difference but clearly too dry so I am addressing that to start with.
The boys without doubt got the right dose of ivermectin, rather on the high range for their weight actually (Zyrtec was just over 700g until recently when he increased to almost 800g). We have discussed using a steroid cream if the current treatment with fatty acids and external moisturising wouldn't improve the issue. He IS in better condition than in a long time atm, but the root of the problem (whatever it is) is still there.
He is a small guy, poor immune system, and with chronic left eye problems (we are going to an ophthalmologist on monday) and I suspect that he is suffering from the consequences of reckless breeding.
I'll get the humidity up and let you guys know if there is any improvement :)
I really hope it was as easy as this! Never thought issue with humidity would give such major complications as I've seen in Zyrtec.
I will update the thread with info on his eye problem as soon as I find something out.