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A:Guinea Pig Suffering from Hair Loss PetPlanet Vets PPAdmin firstname.lastname@example.org
The most common cause of hair loss in guinea pigs is skin mites (sarcoptes species) but this problem is associated with itchiness, redness of the skin and lots of scratching and chewing. Hair loss may be seen if the animal has ringworm. In this case there would usually be some scaliness of the skin. A veterinary diagnosis would be required and then treatment could be prescribed in both cases. In both of the above cases any in contact animals will also be affected and should be treated. However from your description of the absence of itch or flake, it sounds as though these diagnoses are unlikely. Overgrooming by cagemates or the animal itself may also lead to baldness. In this case there would usually be signs of the presence of broken hairs. If the animal lives alone then the areas of self inflicted baldness would obviously be restricted to parts of the body that the animal can reach (i.e. not the head and neck). If overgrooming is the problem, and is inflicted by cagemates then perhaps the housing arrangements or grouping should be reorganised. If a solo animal overgrooms it may be a sign of stress or boredom and may be due to cramped accommodation for example. I hope that this guinea pig's diet has sufficient vitamin C. As guinea pigs are unable to synthesise this vitamin in their bodies, it is imperative that sufficient is present in their ration (i.e. fresh food each day, a concentrate ration which is supplemented or a supplement in the water). If not, signs of scurvy will ensue, which may include hair loss although joint pain and dysfunction and other much more obvious and severe signs usually precede this. As this is an older guinea pig, it may simply be that the hair loss is an age related problem, which may not be easily remedied.
Angela Bodey MRCVS (Vet for PetPlanet)