Back in November 2017 I wrote about our little male Guinea Pig, Percy, and how he died. At the time I didn’t know why he died, though I had some suspicions. Since that day we have kept a close eye on our sole remaining Guinea Pig, Betty. While she is lonely, she has been in good health. On the weekend, I noticed that she was crying a little, and running around her cage in a state of agitation. On examination, I could see that she had (what seemed to be) a very slight case of dandruff… this was similar to Percy’s symptoms. After Percy’s death I researched the illness and I suspect that he had Mange. She was obviously suffering from the illness, so much so that she had scratched several cuts into her side.
I had heard of Mange previously, and I thought it was just a condition which affects some animals and makes them look messy. This is not the whole story… Mange (also called Scabies) is a skin disease which can effect mammals and, if left unchecked, can lead to suffering and death. I am fairly convinced that this is how Percy died, and now it was affecting Betty.
Most websites I checked recommended taking the Guinea Pig to the vet. This is something I was reluctant to do… I am not a big fan of spending $80 for a vet to have a look at her, and prescribe something I could buy at a supermarket. The product which online vets recommended is Advantage. It is a cat medicine which is made to kill Insects, such as fleas and mites. I could buy this from the local supermarket, yet it was $40 for a dosage… still more than I wanted to spend on Betty. Searching for an alternative I found one in the form of Exelpet “Vet Series” Flea treatment for cats. It contains Firponil, which is useful in killing Mites. I found this at the supermarket for $15, which is much more affordable. I know the container says it is for Cats only, yet I decided I would take the risk… Betty would be grateful for the treatment.
I administered the medicine to her skin and moved her to a totally new location, in a clean cage (with new bedding and shelter). I noticed that over the next day her attitude recovered remarkably. She stopped crying and seemed more like herself. She has lost a little hair, which I suspect could be a side effect of the medicine… or maybe she pulled it out. These is still a couple of dandruff like flakes on her backside, so I will keep an eye on them and treat her again if needed.