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.
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