Following along with the theme of feather, fur and skin health, this week we have guinea pigs!
Guinea pigs can have a huge variation of different coat types, and colours – some requiring more maintenance than others!
It is a good idea to pat your guinea pig regularly and check his/her skin and coat, and be familiar with what it normally feels like, so you’ll pick up on any changes. The more pats the better!
Longer coated guinea pigs require regular brushing, and even trimming. Brushing will help to prevent mats developing and keep the coat clean of urine and faeces. Trimming is completely ok, as well as keeping guinea pigs cooler and tangle free, we often see them rocking many amazing hairstyles!
When checking through your guinea pig’s coat, particularly look for:
- Any mats (tangled clumps) – These will pull on the skin and cause irritation underneath
- Areas of fur loss
- Redness and/or flakiness of the skin
- Small scabs
- Areas that are more itchy than normal
Guinea pigs do moult, just like cats and dogs and other small mammals like bunnies. They shed hair regularly, and are constantly growing it back. However, they should never have any areas of missing hair.
Guinea pigs are prone to mites, which can cause all of the above signs, and are very treatable.
A healthy coat should be thick, have no mats or missing patches. The skin underneath shouldn’t be red or have crusty areas or scabs.
Sometimes a certain coat type can indicate health issues in guinea pigs. For example ‘Satin’ guinea pigs, characterised by a very shiny coat, are genetically predisposed to osteodystrophy – an incurable, painful bone disease. A health exam every 6-12 months with an experienced guinea pig vet can mean that diseases are detected earlier, resulting in better management long term.
If you have any concerns about the health of your guinea pig’s coat or skin, then please call us on 07 3217 3533 or feel free to book an appointment online.
Neo the long-haired guinea pig. His coat requires regular brushing to keep it untangled and free of mess. It takes a little more work for him to look this amazing, but it is very much worth it!
Honey the Guinea pig showing off her short, Abyssinian coat type. She doesn’t need a lot of maintenance from day to day. Honey wakes up looking this gorgeous!