Do you have a balding guinea pig?
Guinea pig hair can be affected by different parasites, which leads to balding in guinea pigs, they become uncomfortable due to the itching.
You can hold the guinea pig on your lap to examine what affects the skin and causes balding.
Try to figure out the type of parasites and fungal infection, affecting them to determine the best treatment.
The main parasites that affect guinea pigs include mange, static lice, and running lice.
Any hair loss in your guinea, which is not behind the ear, should be investigated and treated.
Any diseases that affect hair follicles can lead to hair loss in guinea pigs.
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What To Do If You Have a Balding Guinea Pig?
When your Guinea pig is balding, you should first look for the causes of the balding.
The causes will direct you to know the correct treatment that you should consider for baldness.
Baldness in guinea pigs means that your guinea pig is losing hair or fur, and they have a bald spot.
This can be caused by barbering, mites, lice, mange, and other parasites that damage the guinea pig skin.
The following are the causes of balding and their recommended treatment for a guinea pig.
What Are the Reasons for Hair Loss in Guinea Pigs?
Alopecia makes guinea pigs to scratch themselves around the shoulder and head as it spreads with time.
It causes the hair to come out, and there could be the development of patchy alopecia.
At some point, painful skin sores would even develop, which can lead to total baldness.
Treatment for alopecia
When a guinea pig is suffering from alopecia, it should be given some special treatment and handled with care.
House the pigs in pine-chip bedding as you feed them with a commercial guinea pig diet to supplement their diet.
The best treatment for this condition is visiting the vet to diagnose and give you instructions and medicines for its treatment.
Fungal infections affect the hair and top layer of skin, causing hair loss and scratching.
Fungal infection occurs during raining season, during the summer when the humidity is high and when the weather changes from being hot to rainy.
Guinea pigs who are stressed, sick, or elderly are more prone to it.
You can identify the fungal infections by observing if the guinea pig’s skin is dry and scaly, especially in the ears, nose, and feet.
You can also identify the fungal infection by keeping a close eye while removing the loose hair.
The dandruff-like skin visible from the area where the balding hair was attached indicates fungal infection in guinea pigs.
Treatment of balding caused by a fungal infection
There are different ways of treating fungal infection, depending on the guinea pig’s fungus severity.
You can treat it in the early stages by using a combination of coconut oil and pawpaw ointment.
It’s a cheap treatment that effectively affects the ears, nose, and feet of the balding guinea pig.
You smear the combination of the oil on the hair and the top layer of the skin.
When the fungal infection has spread and has become severe, a combination of coconut oil and Betadine can stop the balding.
The treatment can be carried out twice per day for a successful outcome.
It would be best if you also bathed guinea pig twice a week with Malaseb shampoo, which can help heal the bald spot on the guinea pig.
Ensure you sterilize the cage and clean bedding material with disinfectants, to remove the fungal infection.
It would help if you visited the vet to get a prescribed cream when the balding is severe, and the guinea pig is in pain.
When the home treatments are also not effective, you should visit a vet for further investigations and better treatment.
Ovarian Cysts and Hormonal Imbalance in Female Guinea Pigs
The ovarian cyst is a condition that mostly affects female guinea pigs.
It has bilateral hair loss symptoms on the flanks, crusty nipples, abdomen, and abnormal appearance of the skin.
The body of the guinea pig can conform to a pear-shaped appearance when looking at it from above.
The pear-shaped appearance is caused by abdominal enlargement with normal chest size.
Treatment for balding caused by ovarian cysts
Spaying a guinea pig is the recommended solution for the illness.
You should consider this option even if a large cyst is not found for a complete treatment.
Ensure the guinea pig undergoes routine diagnostic laboratory work.
The screening should include a complete blood count, biochemical profile, and urinalyses to check the guinea pig’s medical condition.
There is also another treatment, which includes draining cysts or using hormonal treatment to provide relief for some instances.
The hair loss is caused by hormone whacks making the guinea pigs act like they are on heat rather than normal days.
Lupron is another unproven treatment for treating cysts in guinea pigs.
It’s commonly put to use to control the release of hormones in the normal way.
Barbering Treatment to Prevent Balding
Barbering includes hair loss that is not from the skin root, and it’s self-inflicted or caused by other guinea pigs.
Self-inflicted barbering occurs when the pig is stressed or as a result of pain; hence it’s forced to ‘barber’ himself.
Guinea pigs barber themselves due to itching, uncomfortable skin caused by an allergy, or parasitic infection.
You should check the bald areas for swelling, lumps, or signs of tenderness on the skin.
Older pigs can do this as a reaction towards pain from arthritis or tooth problems.
The guinea pig’s pals can also do barbering as they dominate or result from bullying.
For this reason, you have to keep an eye on them to know the one bullying the other and separate the submissive pig.
You can also reduce stress in the surroundings by providing a spacious cage that allows the pig to hide comfortably.
Be keen to identify any changes in the environment that may have coincided with the beginning of the barbering, such as different noises and a new cage.
You should adjust to calmer places that you think the guinea pig will be more comfortable and conducive to them.
Provide guinea pig appropriate toy to chew, to act as an alternative to chew, instead of chewing their fur.
You can opt to change their diet if you are advised to do so by your vet, to ensure that you provide enough diet for their satisfaction.
Treatment Against Mites and Lice Causing Balding
Mites cannot be observed with naked eyes in guinea pigs, but you can clearly notice their symptoms.
The symptoms that indicate mites’ presence include extreme itching, dandruff, skin irritation, and scabs.
Guinea pigs that are manifested with mites are affected with balding since they affect the skin.
Mites are transferred from direct contact and interaction with pigs that already have mites.
They are also spread through indirect contact with bedding or clothing that has the insects or their eggs.
Ivermectin is a common and safe medicine to use when treating mites or lice.
The medicine can be given to the pigs either orally, through injection, or topically.
Most people find the direct application on the bald spot to be more effective and easier to conduct.
The 1% formulation is affordable, safe to use, and readily available.
The treatment should be done once per week since ivermectin does not destroy mites’ eggs.
An alternative solution is a revolution, which is a chemically similar prescription product.
Revolution does not need to be done repeatedly, and it can be effective for almost a whole month.
The main aim when treating the mites is to prevent them from coming back totally.
You should consider treating all the guinea pigs even if they are not showing any symptoms.
Make sure you sanitize the beddings, clothing, and the surrounding after the treatment.
It would help if you treated running lice like any other parasite since they cause itching, and further contributing to hair loss in guinea pigs.
They are very contagious; hence you should treat all the guinea pigs that are around to avoid them spreading.
Their treatment is mainly in the form of a spray or anti-louse powder used to destroy the lice.
Don’t use anti-flea treatment since it won’t work, and they are not safe for the guinea pig since they may contain poisonous chemicals.
Ringworm Treatment to Prevent Balding
Parasites are not the only ones that cause guinea pig skin to itch and hair loss.
Guinea pigs can also suffer from ringworms and have bald patches, scaly skin, and hair loss.
Ringworm always starts affecting the head area hence forming a ‘v’ shaped area at the back.
It can be treated by visiting a vet who will probably prescribe you a fungus cream or shampoo.
The use of anti-fungal creams can be done for six weeks or more, depending on the body’s ringworms’ severity.
You will use the shampoo for bathing your guinea pig as frequently as recommended by the vet.
The shampoo is to apply on the fur as you gently rub and massage the guinea pig’s skin.
The fungus cream can be used by simply applying it to the affected area of the body.
Clotrimazole and miconazole creams are fungus creams that are safe for guinea pigs.
You should make use of these creams regularly as a home treatment for balding guinea pigs.
Wear disposable gloves when applying the cream on the pig’s affected area for your own protection.
Ensure you wash your hands with soap and water after handling the cream, as it contains chemicals that are harmful to the human body before getting in touch with other household items.
When the ringworm outbreak is severe, you will have to opt for oral medication as directed by the vet.
When treating the ringworms, you should be cautious since they can easily spread to other guinea pigs or even to the household thus also affecting humans.
Ensure you clean and sanitize the cage where your guinea pig stays.
The surrounding environment should also be clean at all times as a preventive measure against ringworms.
You should do thorough weekly cleaning to help prevent the chance of ringworms coming back.
Hair Loss Caused by Vitamin C Deficiency
Guinea pigs don’t produce their own vitamin C; hence they are likely to be scurvy.
Scurvy leads to the breakdown of collagen involved in tissues and bone formation, leading to skin problems like hair loss.
To treat vitamin C deficiency in your guinea pigs, you have to give them vitamin C pills or injections.
The supplements should be administered for about one or two weeks for them to be effective and bring positive change in the guinea pig.
You should place the vitamins you are given in the pig’s mouth when they are in tablet form.
They can also be added to the pigs’ water such that they can take the medication while drinking water.
For the one administered through injection, you will have to take your guinea pig to your vet to inject it.
Their food should also be supplemented with fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C like kiwi, oranges, kales, spinach, and broccoli.
Foods rich in vitamin C should continue being given to the guinea pig even after being treated for scurvy.
When the scurvy condition is severe, and the pig has lost hair to the extent of having sores on the skin that are bleeding, you should lightly wash the wounds.
After commencing the scurvy treatment, you will have to monitor your guinea pig since it should feel better after a few days.
Look at the sore and bald spots on the skin to see if they are closing up to indicate that they are healing.
If there are no signs of the pig getting better, you should consult the vet to get an alternative solution; maybe they will be required to increase the vitamin C dosage.
Balding Caused by Antibiotics
Guinea pigs have very sensitive skin that reacts to anything that has chemicals that is harsh to their skin.
The use of antibiotic ointment can have toxic effects on the skin and eventually lead to hair loss.
Inadequate nutrients and vitamin C deficiency in your guinea pigs make them prone to be affected by antibiotics ointment.
If your guinea pig is affected by antibiotic ointment, then you should stop using it to avoid further damage to the skin.
Consider asking for further advice from your vet to get an alternative to the antibiotic ointment.
When you apply the antibiotic ointment on the guinea pig, and it brings itching problems, you should immediately clean the pigs to remove the ointment on the skin.
Balding During Pregnancy and Lactation
Female guinea pigs that are associated with pregnancy and lactation experience bilaterally symmetric.
In the last trimester, they mainly experience thinning and loss of hair.
This is caused by reduced anabolism of maternal skin, which is associated with fetal growth.
Nutritional and genetic factors in guinea pigs also contribute to hair loss.
This cause of hair loss does not require any treatment provided; there are no signs of parasites that can infest the guinea pig.
You should make sure the guinea pig has a nutritious diet and supplements to speed up the healing process.
If the hair loss becomes severe, visit your vet for further instructions and recommendations.
Balding Caused by Mange
You should consider a special anti-mange shampoo since the disease is hard to notice the type of mange when it has just been transmitted.
When your guinea pig is affected by fungal mange, you can use the fungal dip to treat it.
You carefully dip the pig in the special substance and keep the head above water to avoid killing the guinea pig.
The head also needs to be treated, but you will rub the treatment on the head’s hair and around the ears with your hands.
You can also opt to give an oral treatment for safety measures since you won’t be needed to dip the guinea pig in water.
The treatment of mange will reduce balding on guinea pigs and heal the bald spot completely.
How to Prevent Balding in Guinea Pigs?
Ensure Proper Skincare Routine
When your pig is affected by balding, you should ensure that you give it some proper skincare routine, which includes:
Cleaning and bathing your guinea pigs
Cleaning your guinea pig, their beddings, and clothing thoroughly with the recommended shampoo, this routine will keep surrounding clean and safe.
Bathing them regularly will prevent mites, lice, fungus, and other parasites from infesting your guinea pig hence preventing balding.
Provide proper bedding
Please avoid the use of shaving or sawdust as beddings for your guinea pigs since they create a conducive environment for the parasite to survive and reproduce.
These products are good for absorbing urine, but they can easily remove natural oil from the skin leading to skin problems.
Try to use soft, fresh green hay or short-chopped straw on top of a thick layer of newspaper.
It would help if you made it a habit to disinfect and clean the cage twice a week to keep parasites and fungus away.
Regular inspection of skin
Ensure you do a regular inspection on the pig’s skin to look for any signs of balding or any other skin problem.
It would be best to take immediate action when there is any sign of baldness or skin problem.
What to Do When a Guinea Pig is Balding?
When your guinea pig is balding, you should clean it at least once a week, using the following steps.
Cleaning guinea is one solution to prevent it from parasites and fungus; hence it won’t have balding.
Use a damp cloth to remove surface dirt from your guinea pig before giving it a full bath.
Dip a piece of cloth in warm water and use it to remove the surface dirt by rubbing it gently on the fur.
Lay a small cloth at the bottom of the bathing container to prevent the guinea pig from slipping to make it easier for you to clean it.
Avoid using hot water, which may damage the skin since guinea pigs have sensitive skin, and they react to anything harsh to their skin.
Pour water in the container up to 2 inches and make sure the guinea pig can stand on it comfortably.
Lower the guinea pig in the water and let it adjust to the water temperature for some minutes.
Rinse it with warm water and rub them using your hands and a piece of cloth that has a shampoo.
Gently massage the shampoo on the guinea pig fur and be very gentle because of the sensitive skin.
After finishing cleaning, place it on a clean towel and try to dry it, ensuring no dumbness is left on the fur.
Brush the pig’s hair to prevent it from matting and remove tangles, especially if your guinea has long hair.
Disinfect its beddings and cage to ensure it stays in a clean and conducive environment.
This will as well help to destroy any parasite that may be hiding on the clothing or beddings.
Balding guinea pigs lose hair, and this should not be ignored or attributed to old age as many people assume.
Balding can be symptoms and signs that are indicating that the guinea pig is ill or is affected by a certain product you’re using on it.
Hair loss can be a symptom of the presence of parasites, distress, injury, and several other illnesses.
It would be best if you did a keen investigation to find the cause of hair loss in your guinea pigs to decide on the treatment.
Different causes of hair loss have different treatments; hence, it’s essential to be aware of the cause to treat baldness effectively.
Finally, you should always ensure your guinea pigs’ surrounding is clean, and you clean them frequently using the recommended shampoo.
If you can’t figure out the cause of balding, you should look for further help from the vet.