- Cavies 'n Cobwebs
A brief history is Tiggy was about 9 weeks old at the end of October 2007 when I took her home from Thistle Cavies, rescued as a pup. Her main health issue has been a recurring hairloss/skin problem but other than that she was spayed in February 09 after passing small amounts of blood and had hormone issues, her urine was clear so it wasn't bladder related. No further problems till a brief bout of cystitis which we used Pediatric Septrin on but she got very gassy with it and lost some weight so went on Baytril and all was well.
A quick summary of her skin problems and time line so far.
Health wise everything was going fine until she developed what looked like patches of a fungal infection.
Before and after one of her bath treatments.
She was treated with 3 baths of Nizoral, 3 rounds of topical Ivermectin and Clotrimazole cream but it still didn't clear and 2 new patches appeared.
Olive oil soak, Gorgeous Guineas Melt and shampoo seemed to help and it eventually cleared up some weeks later in July.
It had broken out again, cleared up and preventive treatment in November too.
It always seems to start in the same places.
More bald patches appeared again but less like before so was again treated for mites with topical Ivermectin. Both pigs were treated in case Chilli was infecting Tiggy.
Another outbreak and again both pigs treated for mites and fungal. This time we went as far as getting a sample cultured to see if we are dealing with fungal. Random bald patches on Tiggy that looked a bit like ringworm as the skin was also a bit flakey and appeared white but Chilli had more general hairloss. We tried Nizoral shampoo, Canesten cream, Canesten solution, Imaverol dip and Beaphar antifungal spray. 4 weeks of topical Ivermectin and the lab results showed no spores - nothing, just clean hair. So we treated with Stronghold (Selamectin).
Treated with GG Neemleaf and again all seemed to clear up.
More bald patches appeared but were not flakey or white and the skin seemed very clean compared to last time so we took it one treatment at a time to see what works. 3 rounds of topical Ivermectin to start as it could have been mites. No difference and patches got bigger.
The skin was looking pink with spots under the skin. The hair is wet where I had put on Gorgeous Guineas Souffle, a moisturising cream with no essential oils for soothing and softening skin.
We were on Stronghold for several weeks at 8 days apart. Initially it seemed to calm things for a few days then Tiggy started scratching furiously again. This also shows a better pic of actual lumps under the skin and some redness. Tiggy is very itchy (though she wasn't with previous breakouts) and scratches and bites at her back.
After that we did 3 weeks of ORAL Ivermectin at 7 days apart in case that would help. Nope!
Still redness in the skin.
This shows the worst affected area.
Now it's March '10 and there is not much difference. Much of the hair that has grown in is getting barbered out again with her biting. It's dry and sparse though the skin itself is no longer red or flakey at all. Vet doesn't think it's fungal.
The skin looks white in these photos but it's just the exposure or flash, the skin looks clean and black.
Have also tried Piriton liquid (antihistamine) to see if it's just over-sensitivity to something and Miconazole anti fungal spray which seemed to make her worse and more irritated, but that also brought out furious biting till she was raw and then had to use Sudocrem and Metacam to calm things down again. The worst part is across her shoulders at the base of her neck but more on the right hand side.
We've run out of options and are unwilling to send off further tests to the lab as we have lost faith in their ability to find anything - they have failed so far with both Tiggy and Chilli's latest urinary issues. Vet is unwilling to do skin scrapes as it doesn't always identify a problem for the stress it causes.
Any ideas before I make another visit? am I missing something? The poor pig has been putting up with this for around 4 months now with little signs of improvement. Otherwise she is healthy and eating like a horse and putting on weight, now a sturdy 1300g! She's back on Stronghold and Metacam. This time round Chilli has shown no hairloss at all and had mite treatment too so I'm guessing this is not a mite issue.
ETA, this time round she has also been barbering at her flanks, the tubby bits she can reach which I think is more of a symptom of not being able to reach the irritating bits on her back. This has regrown at times during the last 4 months but recurrs again when at her worst.
Also she doesn't squeak in pain or anything but will BRRR when you touch her hair lightly near her shoulders but lies flat when you rub her gently on her back as I can reach the bits she wants to get at.
I can see how frustrating this is! The only encouraging thing about the pics and problem you describe is that it has not been painful enough that she has self-mutilated with open wounds.
- Cavies 'n Cobwebs
Tried the Melts and oil soak recently but that hasn't helped this time round other than to keep the skin shiny!
Chilli has been treated alongside Tiggy with either Stronghold or Ivomec oral as a precaution and her coat is great in comparison. The rest of Tiggy's hair is thick and shiny and healthy, just those 2 strips on her back causing frustration! Even held off on overlapping treatments in case it was having an adverse effect.
I've even thought it could be environmental but the pigs have been elsewhere over Christmas and that didn't help any. Wondered about allergy to bedding but her underside would be more affected surely, or her breathing. Even noisy neighbours have been blamed on causing stress but the new guys have been in for months now and perfectly quiet! Thought on hormones too but she was spayed and all bits removed successfully according to the vet. We are kinda stumped. :·)
Look over this summary where "the book" was thrown at this pig's skin problems.
My husband gets itchy, flaky skin patches on his scalp (fortunately his hair doesn't fall out!) that flare up when he is under stress or the weather is cold. It is also aggravated by hair products with EDTA as a preservative. He has a prescription antifungal cream (Nizoral?) and a cortisone cream to clear it up, but sometimes it takes awhile.
Hopefully, it will clear up with the treatments you have been giving her and you will get a longer respite before it flares up again. Maybe you will get lucky and find a cause that you can treat and eliminate for good!
- Let Sleeping Pigs Lie
If Program doesn't work--
My Sakura just finished up a prescription for Itraconazole, after her fungal test came back slightly positive.
I don't know if this was just a coincidence, but Sakura had the messiest droppings while taking this medication. I've been cleaning both her and the cage daily.
Sakura - Medical Thread
Miss-S also wrote about using Itraconazole on this thread:
Kofi's Medical Thread
- Cavies 'n Cobwebs
Do we go antifungal only or in combination with a mite treatment or mite only. I'm sure there is somewhere it says not to treat one the same day as the other?
I'm not exactly sure what was helping Tiggy last time which is why we were going for the 'one at a time' treatments this time. Maybe that's why it has lasted so long this time.
- Cavies 'n Cobwebs
So today Tiggy went in for the procedures with Chilli as a comparison since she's alot leaner. It's not good news. Vets did find something, a very large, fluid filled mass with some deposits in it sitting in front of her stomach and behind intestines (or other way round). Have ruled out needle aspiration of it since it's an unknown quantity and didn't want to chance peritonitis if some fluid escaped. We went over the options and in the end thought best to have a closer look though laparoscopy then operate to remove it if possible.
She's going back in tomorrow for this and thought the sooner the better as it's not something that can be fixed with drugs and will only get worse with time. Both piggies are going in as they thought it might help with Tiggy's recovery and her not forgetting who Chilli is this time! So there was something else going on after all. She's now on Metacam, Adult Septrin and Vit C to help keep things under control for the moment. We kept going on about the symptoms being same as ovarian cysts but she's been spayed so will be interesting to see what this thing is likely to be. Kicking myself that earlier this year I've been going on about them being chubby and Tiggy putting on weight and all the time it was this thing growing inside. Explains the biting, the hairloss the uneven weight gain, the bladder problem, the gas....
I am hoping for the best.
- Cavies 'n Cobwebs
They xrayed and ultrasounded and it showed up on both and I saw the xray, very bizarre. Shows a very large solid grey mass with no definable edge, mostly on her left side and pushing all her organs up and to the right. They are not sure if the mass is full of clear fluid or blood, and it could be attached to the liver or to a small tumour attached to the liver.
Thankfully the bladder is clear, no stones or sediment, the intestines are gas filled but that is likely due to the pressure from this mass and the fact the food isn't passing properly or maybe fast enough. So far it isn't affecting her lungs but if left unchecked will start putting pressure on her lungs and affecting breathing and stomach. She is passing more blood clots now but they're more a salmon pink colour, not 'cranberry juice' like Chilli.
At least something is getting done, leaving it was not really an option. I am hoping they can do something as it was so big I'm worried they won't be able to get it out cleanly. She's at the vet for surgery in an hour or so as I type this. Fingers crossed...
- Cavies 'n Cobwebs
The vets believe the mass is/was her left kidney, not attached to the liver as previously thought but you'll understand their disbelief and excitement when you see the size of the thing that came out. Hydronephrosis is the medical term they gave it and said it's not uncommon in guinea pigs. Tiggy now has only one kidney and they did look for the right one but couldn't find it and didn't want to upset her internal organs any further by rummaging for it. I hope it's OK or even there!
Poor Tiggy has a very large scar and I take my hat off to the vet for getting this out in one piece. I took photos with the ruler as it's so unbelievable that this thing came out of a guinea pig. A good 5 x 3.5 x 4 inches and like a firm bag of liquid.
Lesson for today, never ignore symptoms of ovarian cysts, even after a spay!