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Medical Problems at Cavy Spirit

Here are some stories and photos of medical problems we have encountered at Cavy Spirit. This is not an inclusive list, but we wanted to share some of the photos and stories that we do have.

Abscess in Testicle

This guinea pig, Wing Tip, developed an abscess in his testicle. We are really not sure if it was from neutering or a bite wound infection that traveled. He had been neutered for a long time before the abscess appeared.

The Discovery
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The Shunt
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The Dreaded Collar (he hated it)
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Life in Recovery
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The shunt had to be flushed out regularly. We took pity on him the second day and removed the collar temporarily. Big mistake. We had a difficult time getting it back on. And then it didn't last. Once the collar was off, he managed to pull the shunt out himself, which of course, the whole purpose of the collar was to prevent. It ended up healing just fine with diligent care.

Post Natal Sores

momrump1.jpg (15566 bytes)momrump2.jpg (14229 bytes)momrump3.jpg (20265 bytes)We didn't see Bella's delivery, but in the morning, in addition to three healthy babies, she had this huge patch of hair and outer layer of skin missing. We posted about it and called the vet. "It is common for sows to experience this after giving birth, they are probably post natal sores and is thought to be caused by a mineral and protein deficiency. Sows can also develop raw patches after delivery especially if she has had a long and difficult labor because they are too tired to clean themselves properly, this irritates her and she pulls the fur out from the affected area." We used a Chlorahexiderm solution to rinse it off, then gently patted it fairly dry. Within 2 days it "leathered up" (got all black and leathery). Then the next day or two, we think she scratched that off and there was good new white skin underneath. All of her hair grew back just fine.


When Thelma first came to us, she had a number of problems, including bumblefoot. bumblefoot1.jpg (14876 bytes)I've had to treat about four cases of bumblefoot. A couple were worse. In her case, she was on antibiotics for another problem, and that helped with the bumblefoot as well. It can also require wrapping or a light dressing. Foot infections can be difficult to treat. Please see your vet for this condition.

Mites & Long Nails

. Intact American Male (short hair). The person who surrendered this guinea pig took the guinea pig to the vet to have the nails trimmed. It turns out the last vet visit was on June 6, 2001 - 8 months ago (and once before that on 6/17/2000). The vet tech may or may not have trimmed enough last time. So it's hard to tell how many months of nail growth this really represents. This guinea pig also has a serious case of mites. He was born in a Petco pet store. The employee was handling the mother during her delivery. No doubt the poor guinea pig has had these mites his entire life. He is 1 1/2 years old. He does have a very sweet personality. Unless someone comes along who is looking for a male friend for one of their males, we will probably get him neutered in a few weeks. More reading on Mange Mites.

His nails have been trimmed back down to normal. Trimming these nails is pretty much the same as trimming normal nails. The quick had not really grown down into the nail. Luckily, this guinea pig's nails did not grow back into his pad, a danger of letting nails grow too long. But, if you look closely in the middle photo, you'll see how the outer nail curved around and under the next nail, forcing the outer toe under the one next to it.

The woman who had this pig, while neglecting some care areas, actually did pretty much everything right according to pet store advice and products, which turned out to be everything wrong for the poor guinea pig.

Update (2/11/02) Upon closer examination tonight, discovered an entrenched case of running lice. Treated with Advantage for now. Don't want to give him a bath for a couple of more days -- too much stress for now. THIS COULD HAVE BEEN A PRIVATE ADOPTION or a PET STORE BUY! This is a good example of WHY QUARANTINE IS IMPORTANT if you are getting a guinea pig to bring home as a friend to your existing guinea pig!

We changed his name today from Red to Rusty!


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Long Nails

The person who surrendered this guinea pig, Rusty, took the guinea pig to the vet to have the nails trimmed. It turns out the last vet visit 8 months ago. The vet tech may or may not have trimmed enough last time. So it's hard to tell how many months of nail growth this really represents.

His nails have been trimmed back down to normal. Trimming these nails is pretty much the same as trimming normal nails. The quick had not really grown down into the nail. Luckily, this guinea pig's nails did not grow back into his pad, a danger of letting nails grow too long. But, if you look closely in the middle photo, you'll see how the outer nail curved around and under the next nail, forcing the outer toe under the one next to it.


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Fungal Infection

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Fungal2.jpg (53473 bytes)Note the scurfing. Scurf refers to a thin, scaly, flaky incrustation of skin on the surface. Usually hairs are attached to the flakes and come off easily in chunks when pulled revealing just plain skin underneath. Some more reading on fungal infections.

Eye Problem

diabetes1.jpg (46463 bytes)diabetes2.jpg (39181 bytes)diabetes5.jpg (44093 bytes)An eye injury. 2/17/02. In recovery now.




Son's Special Story

Son1.jpg (18973 bytes)Son2.jpg (16869 bytes) Son. Intact American Male (short hair). Son is a long story. We had pig sat for him a couple of times. Unfortunately, his caretaker died. So, we offered to take him, and so here he is. This poor guy used to live outdoors with two other pigs. He would escape under the fence into the neighbor's yard (the previous owner). One day a raccoon got the other two and he lost one of his eyes in the fight. Well, the neighbor took him. They really didn't know any better, but although they loved him dearly (hence the name Son), he was kept on a wire bottom cage, spent a lot of time outdoors eating grass, wasn't given any water "because he didn't drink it," and his diet was not the best. When he came to us the first time to pig sit, we immediately took him to the vet. He had a huge mass on his chin which had been operated on once already. That vet advised not to do any other surgeries. My vet said it needed to come out again. It was growing into the bone and would soon impair his ability to eat. The owner did have my vet do the surgery when they returned. We kept him during the recovery and hand fed him for a while. The growth was a slow growing cancer that would come back. Now that he's back, he has a multitude of other problems as well. He will be going to the vet for complete check up. 

The thing is, he is just the sweetest pig you can imagine. He is used to being brushed and attended to every day. He is very, very friendly, and doesn't seem to mind his problems at all. He is drinking from his water bottle (something the previous owner insisted he didn't do) and eating quite fine.

We expect he will be with us the rest of his life, unless someone has room in their hearts and their lives for a really special guinea pig. 

Son3.jpg (13269 bytes)Son4.jpg (12970 bytes)Son5.jpg (13609 bytes)Update (10/16/01) Son went to the vet on 10/11/01 for a check up and surgery. We had him neutered, a small growth or mole removed from his belly, and his eye sutured shut. His teeth were checked and there is no re-growth yet of his prior tumor. All good. These are some photos before we go back to get stitches removed.

Update (10/19/01) Son had the stitches removed from his eye and his belly. He is doing fine! We will update the photos once the eye area heals and the hair grows back. 

Update (1/20/02) Sonsop41.jpg (18178 bytes)sonsop44.jpg (19277 bytes)sonsop43.jpg (13842 bytes)We recently discovered a pretty large lump on Son's chest. We took him to our vet on 1/10. We determined that, it probably should come out, but it was going to be difficult. This was a tough call. He's come through all of his other operations quite well. He has a lot of spunk, a lot of life left in him. We decided to go for the surgery. We took him in on Thursday 1/18. It was a difficult surgery. They had to cut through muscle and he lost a lot of blood. We were a basket case during the waiting time. He came around quite well and was moving around within hours. But, the next day, it was clear that he was in a lot of pain. We had him on pain meds, but felt that he needed more. Before going to the vet to pick up some additional injectable pain meds, we fed him some Critical Care (a powdered fSonsop42.jpg (16331 bytes)ood good for recovery) and he was very thirsty and drank a lot of water. When we got back from the vet with the meds, he was having difficulty breathing, like he had an Upper Respiratory Infection. So, either some of the water went down the wrong way (he drank from his water bottle), or he was accumulating fluid in the lungs. So, now instead of giving him the pain meds, we put him on Baytril (a guinea pig-safe antibiotic)--all per the vet, of course. We have been spending all available time holding him. He likes the warmth. Also, when we are not with him, he gets some time in his cage with Rita and most of his time on cozy which is over a heating pad. He is eating on his own here and there now, but still gets hand fed. He is doing better, but we are not considering him out of the woods yet. The photos were taken Sunday evening, over 3 days after the surgery. The suture looked pretty gruesome when we picked him up, but looks quite good now.

Update (1/23/02) Son is doing better now. He is eating on his own, and pooping and urinating like normal. We still give him nap time on the heated cozies and are still supplementing his food with some Critical Care feedings. He does appear to be "out the woods." The suture area looks fine and there is no swelling. I'm sure he is looking forward to having his sutures removed in a few days or so!

Update (1/26/02) Son had his stitches removed this afternoon and is doing much better. He has put most of his weight back on now and his poops are back up in that "prolific" category! Prolific poops. That's what we like!

Update (2/10/02) Last week, Sunday (2/3) we went to pick up Son and discovered (by our nose) that there was an infection at the suture site. Some of the hardness that was part of the scar healing was covering an abscessed infection. We did our best to clean and flush it out. Took him to the vet the next morning. He dug out quite a bit of yuk. We are now flushing the area twice a day and he is on Baytril. The infection seems to be getting a bit smaller every day. He doesn't act like it bothers him at all. Although he really hates the flushing routine. Now he doesn't like it when I come over to get him. Bummer. Hopefully we'll get through this soon. I'm also pretty sure he has some back molar problems. We'll try to get that taken care of soon, too.

Son taking a snoozeSonandRita.jpg (28189 bytes)Update (3/4/02) Not sure when this happened, but discovered yesterday that one his bottom incisor's has broken off. Son's broken bottom incisorHe has a vet appointment for later this week to look at his teeth, probable trimming of molars. He is still on antibiotics for some remaining infection at the suture site. There is still some infection there. Here is a photo of Son catching a snooze, but being interrupted by the flash of the camera. The other photo is of Son puttering around while Rita takes a nearby siesta in her cozy. The photo of his teeth is with the lower lip pulled down to expose much of the root. Looks like he needs a good flossing, doesn't it? Please send healthy, healing thoughts Son's way. I don't know how much more this poor guy is going to be able to handle. He is still as perky and friendly as ever.

Update (3/14/02) Son went to the vet and had his teeth trimmed on Thursday 3/7/02. We think he was a bit sore and the vet took off quite a bit of the incisors as well as trimming the front molars. We hand sonsteethafter.jpg (23877 bytes)fed him for a few days. He is now eating great. He is no longer grinding his teeth and his breath smells a lot better. It's hard to believe his teeth have grown back so darn fast, but right now, they look wonderful! His weight is much better. He is very muscular and healthy. His suture scars have all but disappeared! He is doing fabulously! We are so happy about it.


On This Page

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 Must have for Slaves 

Diseases of Domestic Guinea Pigs  
($36.95 at Barnes and Noble)

Lots of great info that you usually have to go searching for. Good back up on working with your vet as well.



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