Pet Information > ASK Experts > Exotic Pets > Guinea Pigs > Itchy Pig

Itchy Pig

21 13:48:30

Hi Pat

I appreciate your time.  In recent weeks I have taken three guinea pigs into my care.  The first two are father and son who were owned by an elderly lady who has gone blind.  Sweetie is 14 and a half years old (yes you read that right). I think he is the worlds oldest pig.  Big Pig is his first ever son (the previous owner bred Sweetie for the first time) and is around 8months old.  

Because Big Pig and Sweetie weren't getting along and I was worried about Sweetie being lonely in his old age I bought him a little boy friend.  Turns out he's a girl.  And I think Sweetie is still fertile....

So enter Peaches.  Peaches I think is a few months old.  I think she might be with pig because she's getting fatty.  My problem is in the last two weeks Peaches was getting less friendly as I got to know her rather than more friendly. I realised when watching her she was super painfuly itchy and Google told me it was most likely mange mites.  

I bought revolution and treated all 3 but 3 days later she's still scratching a hole in her back.  I put antiseptic cream on her and yesterday even bandaged her because she'd made a painful red hole on her back from scratching.  Today I removed the dressing and it's better...but she still super itchy.  I made a new bandage (which took half an hour) but when I put her back in the cage she immediately flicked it off.  

I think she views me as some kind of pain inflicting monster.

How can I help her?  I'm having a cup of tea and then I'm going to try to re-administer the bandage.  I'm beside myself watching her suffer. I couldn't sleep last night with trying to come up with ways to ease her discomfort.

Should the revolution have ceased the itching immediately?  How long can it take?  I've spent $65 so far on the revolution and cream. I have upped her vit C and she has a fabulous diet.  She's still eating like a champion. Is a vet inevitable?  My husband is mad with me because I told him I would keep them so healthy when I took them on that they would cost more than diet and housing...and love is free.

I appreciate your input Pat.

Adams Spray & Dip
Adams Spray & Dip
Is she by chance chewing where you put the Revolution?  If so she may be having a local reaction to the medication.

I don't think that she has mange mites.  When I hear the term mange mites I think of Demadectic mange, caused by a specific mite. It sounds like she's just got ordinary cavy mites and I'm not sure if they have a special name for them or not.

Revolution is an excellent product but it doesn't work right away.  It breaks the breeding cycle of the mites and thereby eliminates the 'family tree.' It's absorbed through the skin and into the system.

You might check into finding a dip made for fleas and ticks on dogs and cats that is made with Pyrethrins or Premethrins. The Pyrethrins and Premethrins are made of a food product rather than an insecticide, so they're safer for the pigs and for the environment.

Mix according to the directions and put the solution in your bathroom sink or use some kind of container.  Put her into the container and pour the solution all over her. Keep it out of her eyes and ears.  Once she's dripping wet put her on a towel and allow her to drip dry. That will kill the mites that are causing her to itch so badly. The first telltale sign of mites is the 'V' shaped hairless spot on the top of the back where the mites seem to run, knowing the pig can't reach them.  But she will scratch and bite trying to relieve the itching, and thus pulling the hair out in that spot.

The Revolution should kick in within a few days.  In the meantime you've gotten rid of the immediate problem. Give it a few more days and see if it doesn't resolve by then.  If by chance she has what we call 'running lice' the dip will take care of that too.

My personal choice for dips and sprays is Adams Spray. I don't know whether you have that available to you or not.  It doesn't have an insecticide smell and actually smells quite good. I've attached pictures of it to other posts but I'll put it on this post so you can see what it looks like.

And congratulations, you probably do have the world's oldest guinea pig.