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10 Common Causes For Guinea Pig Hair Loss (And Treatment)

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Tim Rhodes

Guinea pig hair loss can become irritating for the pet owner. 

Improper care or aging are the main reasons for hair loss and balding problems, regardless of whether a guinea pig lives alone or with other guinea pigs.

Hair loss in guinea pigs can affect guinea pigs living in confinement, but it’s most noticeable in long-haired guinea pigs.

Apart from nutritional and genetic factors, other reasons such as an infectious disease, parasite, or fungal infection are responsible for hair loss in guinea pigs.

If you notice bald spots on your guinea pig’s fur, that is an obvious sign of hair loss that is usually easy to treat.

10 Common Causes For Guinea Pig Hair Loss

Therefore, in this article, we will present the ten common causes of guinea pig hair loss.

What Are the Causes For Hair Loss in Guinea Pigs?

A guinea pig doesn’t lose hair due to aging, there must be an infection, but the bald spots are typical.

The bald spots are hairless areas, and they are widespread in albino guinea pigs.

Those bald areas also lack sebaceous glands, which leads to hair loss.

Any hair loss in an old guinea pig you should first inspect before inflicting any treatment since aging cannot lead to hair loss.

There should be proper hygiene to prevent health issues in guinea pigs like clean water, right beddings, frequent disinfection of the guinea pig’s cage, and adequate exercise to the pet.

It is because, at times, treating infectious diseases in guinea pigs is complicated.

They are more sensitive to antibiotics to other pets, making them more delicate to prescribe drugs.

Health problems in guinea pigs cause a lot of stress to the animal, leading to its death.

There are several reasons for hair loss in guinea pigs, but the most common causes are mostly microscopic.

They include parasites, fungal, scurvy, barbering, functional cystic ovaries, slobbers, pododermatitis, greasy seborrhea, abscesses.

Most of these problems are treatable at home, but it is advisable to seek veterinary support when the issue is advisable.

Parasites Infection

It includes mites that are rarely seen by bare eyes but with a microscope.

When a guinea pig has a parasitic infection, it cant spread to other animals handling it like human beings.

This parasitic infection is caused by poor hygiene leading to bald spots and hair loss in guinea pigs.

Its primary symptom is itching on the skin, which causes wounds, making the owner think that the animals were fighting.

Due to stress on the infected animal, animals can fight, increasing the chances of spreading the infection among the animals.

You can only see mange mites on a microscope after scraping of the skin is done.

Mange mites cause itching around the head and the neck.

It also causes seizures and dandruff on the skin and can lead to hair loss in guinea pigs.

The owner should note that bathing guinea pigs cannot fully cure the condition.

Still, it is advisable to clean the animal frequently to avoid other infections like fleas and lies.

It’s easy to treat parasitic infections at home, but you have to seek veterinary advice when the condition persists.

The more safe way of treating the disease is by spraying guinea pigs with ivermectin.

You have to repeat the treatment severally.

For severe cases, you have to treat the animal three times in 7-10, and the animal can be safe for a month.

Fungal Infection

They appear as ringworms, and they majorly affect the face.

Its symptoms are bald spots, itchy and dry skin.

The itchiness for fungal infections is not intense as that of mange mite infection.

Trichophyton Imentagrophytes are the primary cause of ringworms.

While treating fungal infections, it’s advisable to practice hygiene as this can spread to other animals in contact with the infected animal; it can also apply to human beings.

Kids are always susceptible to infection.

General proper hygiene is essential to avoid the spread of the diseases.

It’s advisable to treat this fungal infection with an antifungal cream or clean the animal using a recommended shampoo.

And for severe cases, oral medication is advisable using antifungal medicines.

Scurvy

It’s a vitamin C deficiency.

Its sign and symptoms are rough haircoat, lameness, hair loss, joint swelling.

It can be hard to identify these signs because it suggests other illnesses, indicating different conditions.

Treatment of this condition is by administering for two weeks.

The owner is advised to feed guinea pigs with fresh green vegetables daily to prevent scurvy conditions.

Barbering

A guinea pig with this condition pulls out its hair or other guinea pigs are responsible for such misconduct.

It happens because of the boredom in the cage when guinea pigs can start barbering, or at times, fight between themselves.

Wounds can develop during the fighting, which causes hair loss in guinea pigs.

Guinea pigs barber each other to assert dominance in the cage, especially the older ones; stress can also cause barbering in guinea pigs.

Guinea pigs can also barber due to itching on the skin caused by allergy or parasite infections.

You can control this condition by reducing stress in the places where a guinea pig lives.

That is by providing enough space in the cage, especially for hiding, and also maintain hygiene.

Again separate the dominant guinea pigs from the non-dominant if the behavior is influenced by fighting.

Also, give guinea pigs alternative toys to chew to avoid barbering.

Changing the guinea pig diet is also advisable.

Also, it’s advisable to apply lemon juice to the barber guinea pig or any bitter juice to make its fur painful and unpleasing to other bullying guinea.

Cystic Ovaries

Ovarian cysts cause abdominal swelling in a guinea pig and hair loss on both sides of the abdomen.

There is no itching of the skin in this condition.

Ovarian cysts can affect up to 5 years old female guinea pigs; it always affects both ovaries through the ovary is commonly affected.

When androgens are produced on the female body, including testosterone, the androgens trigger puberty hence stimulating hair growth.

The excess androgens make the hair thin, hence alopecia, female pattern hair loss.

Many guinea pigs with this disorder grow thicker hair, mostly in their faces and body, and some hair loss and thinning.

When the hair is lost due to this disorder, it’s hard to recover the lost hair, but new hair can grow with some treatment.

Hair loss in female guinea pigs can be caused by hormonal imbalance.

There are natural ways of treating the condition; guinea pigs should take zinc supplements, which may help prevent hair loss.

A female guinea pig with a hormonal imbalance should take the supplement for about eight weeks.

Also, weight loss can be the treatment of the condition because it lowers the level of androgens in the body, which will prevent thinning and loss of hair in guinea pigs.

Besides, you can give biotin to the animal since it helps hair growth; also, removing the ovarian cysts can cure the female guinea pig’s condition.

Hair loss can happen at the late stages of pregnancies, but it resolves at delivery.

Spraying of the affected guinea pig is recommended, and the draining of the cyst relieves the animal from the condition.

Slobbers

It’s a condition where the hair below the jaw and neck is ever wet due to a guinea pig’s dripping saliva.

Its usually caused by the overgrowth of guinea pig molars and premolars.

Hence making the dental operation strenuous due to the small space in the mouth.

It is advisable to check the molar and premolar growth lengths to prevent this condition because it causes itching around the wet areas, leading to hair loss.

Drooling

The drooling of a guinea pig can also be caused by overeating; guinea pigs might have eaten excess food, thus drooling, leading to hair loss.

The owner should control the rate of eating of its guinea pig.

Sometimes drooling in guinea pigs is normal, and at times it can indicate a severe health problem.

If the owner is unsure about its guinea’s health, it’s advisable to seek advice from the veterinary.

Guinea pig dental problems are the primary cause of drooling, the front teeth can look okay, but the back teeth are the ones with the situation.

Overgrowth of the back teeth causes trapping of the tongue hence drooling.

The immediate solution for this is first giving a guinea pig a mash of dry food and water.

Don’t let the vet trim the incisors; examining the back teeth should be done before concluding to treat the front teeth because the back teeth are the central problem of drooling.

Also, guinea pigs’ teeth grow daily in their lifetime, requiring many items to chew every time and again with fiber.

It allows it to wear its teeth naturally hence controlling the problem of drooling.

When teeth are not well aligned, it causes malocclusion due to uneven wear of the teeth leading to drooling hence hair loss.

Malocclusion is at times also a generic disorder.

A veterinary should examine the guinea pig’s teeth and align them.

When weight loss occurs in guinea pigs and loss of appetite is a sign of lobbying, you should take action to avoid worsening the condition.

Besides, the pig can be taking the soft food and leaving the hard food behind.

It is a sign the teeth have a problem and need to be checked before they start drooling.

In case of any sign of infections, the veterinarian will prescribe antibiotics and monitor the teeth growth process.

Pododermatitis

It’s a skin inflammation condition that is always associated with a lot of pain.

It happens when a lot of pressure is applied to the skin’s soft tissues, causing inflammation and even death of those issues, causing a lot of pain, especially in the affected region.

Death of the soft tissues leads to a secondary stage of bacterial infection.

The condition is always common on guinea pigs, which are overweight, or those borne with lame conditions.

You can find that the pig is born with one fat leg leading to this condition,

A condition called bumblefoot is related to this and common in pigs housed with carpet surfaces, wet or urinated covers.

This condition irritates the side of the body on which a guinea pig sleeps; hence, the cousin bacterial infection leads to hair loss.

This condition has no age limit.

It affects all guinea pigs associated with the dead tissues, and the secondary bacterial infection affects the borns.

Hence a guinea pig struggles with the weight-bearing on the affected part; therefore, walking and standing becomes a problem to the guinea pig.

This condition now leads to pododermatitis.

Majorly associated with the animal’s environment are the cage, hard surfaces, and beddings.

The condition majorly affects the front feet of a guinea pig.

The symptoms are redness on the feet, red skin, and swelling accompanied by a lot of pain caused by skin inflammation.

Abscesses

It is a guinea pig infection where the tissue infection enters via the mouth or the skin.

Guinea pig teeth always grow throughout their lifetime, meaning the oral disease is very common.

This disorder in guinea pigs is very resistant to treatment.

Guinea pigs have very thick capsules that can prevent antibiotics from penetrating.

Again antibiotics for treating guinea pig infections are minimal.

The best treatment for a guinea pig with a condition is surgical; you can remove the capsule without rapture.

The disease can be cured, making the semipermanent hole into an abscess.

Surgery requires very intensive care to prevent infection.

Abscess conditions can affect any part of a guinea pig and always be noticed by a hard abscess capsule that will form around it.

An abscess can develop under and top of the skin.

If the blemish affects the top of the skin, it becomes warm and starts to swell, a capsule forms, and then after the hair on the affected region starts to fall.

If you take your guinea pig to the vet on time, the vet can drain the capsule and dress it well; then, you solve the problem.

If the guinea pig’s abscess bursts, the owner should use microscope tape to cover the wound because other pets are at risk of infection.

The owner also cleans the wound with disinfectants to avoid infections and feeds the guinea pig a lot of vitamin C to fight the foreign bodies from getting into the damage.

An abscess may also be a result of fighting between the animals in the cage.

The abscess sometimes is a symptom of other problems.

The owner should be careful in reading the signs from the guinea pig.

Greasy Seborrhea

It’s a condition more common in male guinea pigs, where there is excess secretion of glands, which causes the skin to be more smelly and smelly, and sometimes it’s accompanied by some infections.

The condition is mainly noticed along the rump.

Medicated baths are always preferred to treat the disease.

For guinea pigs, grease glands come up during the puberty stage and are more prone to male guinea pigs.

A yucky cream discharge can help in noticing a greasy gland produced at the rump.

Cleaning the grease gland frequently is advised and should be done because it’s considered part of grooming.

Leaving the gunk to build up for long is not advisable because it can cause infection and temper with the skin, leading to hair loss.

That is why it’s advisable to clean frequently.

Grease gland problems are accompanied mainly by cysts, bacterial, and fungal infections, which seriously damage the skin; hence, it is advisable that when the problem persists, seek vet advice.

This condition does not affect the young guinea pig because their grease glands are not yet active.

This condition is more prone to dominating guinea pigs because their greasy glands are very busy.

Guinea pigs always use their greasy glands to mark their territories.

The male guinea pigs also use the scent produced from the greasy glands to attract the sows.

When the guinea pair marks the territory, they end up fighting, injuring themselves, affecting the skin leading to hair loss.

It’s advisable not to keep two boars in one cage because it encourages many fightings while marking territories hence injuring each other creating high chances of infectious skin diseases.

Again a guinea pig with active grease glands and long hair is at high risk of infection on the skin, so it’s advisable to treat to be a bit shorter for grooming and avoiding infections more hair loss.

Yersinia Infection

It’s an infection that is spread through contaminated food and water with beddings.

You can apply It through open wounds and scars on the skin of a guinea pig.

Treatment for this infection is by covering and practicing proper hygiene on the wounds to prevent further disease, spread all over the skin, causing hair loss.

Also, it can apply to the bloodstream leading to the death of a guinea pig.

Pregnancy

This condition affects the sows only; during the pregnancy, a female guinea pig can experience thinning hair or even hair loss associated with lactation, as hormones affect the pregnant guinea pig’s hair growth.

It always happens during the last stages of pregnancy.

It is usual for a pregnant guinea pig, and the owner should not worry.

When the condition continues even after pregnancy, then the owner should seek advice from the vet.

How to Help a Guinea Pig Maintain a Healthy Fur?

Avoid the risk of keeping guinea pigs in a small cage where they cannot exercise.

The animal should not sleep on a wired surface; litter and wet grounds affect a guinea pig’s skin.

Enough space at the cage gives guinea pigs freedom of exercise, therefore, reduce the chances of obesity, that is, excess weight.

Besides, you have to consider their diet; there should be no vitamin c deficiency.

When guinea pigs are severely sick, you should isolate them and monitor them closely.

Maintain their hygiene as much as possible.

You have to provide healthy, warm, and dry surfaces to guinea pigs all the time.

Provide vitamins c supplements in the correct proportion.

It is crucial to control obesity to prevent pododermatitis.

Provide enough space for exercise.

For the infected feet, antibiotics can be used.

The owner should take care of the overgrown nails to reduce the pain and encourage mobility.

This disease’s symptoms are usually more pronounced on the legs, so the owner should keep an eye on the feet.

In case of wounds, they should be well cleaned and kept safe from infection, which might worsen the condition.

The wound should be well dressed.

Things To Consider

Regular bathing of a guinea pig with pigs shampoo can help the guinea pig avoid many skin infections, which causes hair loss.

Regular inspection of the guinea pig’s head, eyes, ears, nose, and other body parts is an excellent way to get to know your guinea pig’s condition.

Also, it helps in noticing the problem earlier and treating it immediately before it worsens.

Always check on your guinea pig to read any abnormal or new signs that appear to solve the problem.

Hygiene should be critical every day and every time, and grooming of the cage will make the owner avoid all these skin or hair loss problems.

If the owner is very keen on its guinea pigs, it’s easy to diagnose guinea pig hair loss.

The owner should also know that other more serious diseases can possess the same hair loss disease symptoms.

Guinea pig owners should also consider deworming guinea pigs to avoid other minor health issues that may cause significant problems.

The owner should also note that bathing guinea pigs with mange mite infection cannot treat the condition but causes more irritation on the skin, and he/she should visit the vet before it worsens.

Final Thoughts

There are many causes for guinea pig hair loss and bald patches.

Visit your guinea pig’s vet regularly for checkups, especially as soon as you notice that something is unusual with your pet.

The hormonal status of female guinea pigs, ovarian cysts, viral and fungal infections as well as parasitic infections can be responsible for bald patches and hair loss in guinea pigs. 

Overall, you should not just consider that this is a hair loss disease; if it persists, take the animal to a vet to examine the condition.

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