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A Guinea Pig With Love Bites And A Hedgehog Suffering Quill Loss

A guinea pig with an abscess caused by a bite and a hedgehog losing quill because of mites receive treatment.

By Jerry Murray, DVM
Posted: May 18, 2011, 5 a.m. EDT

guinea pig
This guinea pig had a large abscess on its back that was oozing pus.
guinea pig
© Photos courtesy of Jerry Murray, DVM
The abscess on this guinea pig's back needed to be removed surgically because anitbiotics alone wouldn't have cured it.

One of the neat things about working with small mammals is that you never know what you are going to see next. Two recent cases involved a guinea pig with an unusual lump and a hedgehog with a common skin problem.

Guinea pigs are neither pigs nor from New Guinea. They are actually large rodents similar to rats and hamsters. They were originally from South America, but pet guinea pigs are bred here in the United States.

The guinea pig was recently acquired by the new owner, but he came with a rather large lump on his dorsal back. The new owner was afraid that the guinea pig had a tumor. Fortunately, it was not cancer.

The thick white fluid coming out of the lump on the guinea pig’s back was pus, and the lump was a large abscess. The abscess could not be treated with just an antibiotic, because antibiotics would have a hard time getting into the abscess to treat the infection. Thus the little guinea pig was scheduled for surgery, and his abscess was removed. The guinea pig was originally kept in a cage with a female guinea pig, so it is likely that his female cagemate nipped him on the back, which caused the infection and abscess to form.

The second recent case was a hedgehog that was losing a lot of her quills. A lot of skin was visible on the dorsal back of the hedgehog because so many quills had fallen out. There was also a small amount of crusty material at the base of the quills and on the face and ears of the hedgehog.

Skin mites are a common hedgehog problem, so mites were suspected. Several of the hedgehog’s quills were looked at under the microscope, and mites were seen. Revolution was chosen for the hedgehog’s treatment. Hedgehogs typically curl up into a tight ball when scared. Allowing the hedgehog to curl up made it easy to apply the Revolution directly to her skin in an area without quills.

See all of Dr. Murray's columns>>

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