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Strange Growth On Guinea Pig’s Nails

A guinea pig has strange growths on its nails.

By Karen Rosenthal, DVM, DABVP
Posted: December 27, 2009, 5 a.m. EST

Q: I have a guinea pig named Lucy that is about a year old. We adopted her from the humane society when she was about 8 months old. She is doing wonderfully, but I have a question about her toes. I trimmed her toes for the first time about a month ago. Since the nail trim, some of the toes have formed a large nail-like growth where the nails meet the toe. To me it looks a bit like how toenail fungus in people looks. I can't find any information online that seems to match what she has. Any ideas? She doesn't seem to be having pain or anything from them.
A: I am not exactly sure what you are describing with your guinea pig Lucy’s toes. We commonly see “growths” on the underside and the side of the feet. These have been termed “skin flaps,” “corns” or “horny growths.” These are usually harmless and may be caused by certain types of bedding or substrates.

Growths like this on the bottom or sides of the feet usually can be removed without a problem. We try to remove them only because they can cause bleeding if they get caught in the cage flooring or get accidentally torn.

What you describe is something on top of the foot, not on the bottom or side. That is very unusual. It could be a fungal infection, those do occur in guinea pigs. If that is the case, a very simple in-house test by your veterinarian will quickly give you an answer about your guinea pig. Then, you can start treating this, if it is fungal growth.

See all of Dr. Rosenthal's Critter Q&A articles>>

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Reader Comments
Our guinea pig is nearly 2 years old. She has a dark brown-black growth on the side of her front outer toe. It is hard and dry looking. I cut her nails a few months ago. On the bottom of her cage we put Yesterday News. It is a recycled newspaper litter. Also used as kitty litter. It is hard like her food. We used this litter for about 18 months. There is no smell to the litter. It is very good.
I am wondering if she may have Bumblefoot? Which I am learning about on the internet. I understand Bumblefoot can be treated with , Baytril? I might be able to buy Baytril at a pet store.
Or could it be a tumor? I am just guesting? Vets are very costly! What do you think I should do?
L sherman, toronto, ON
Posted: 8/9/2010 2:15:41 PM
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