Meet Nutmeg. She is not a new guinea pig, she was Cookie's cage-mate, friend, companion, etc. Nutmeg has never been as friendly as Cookie was & this always caused great angst with the boys. Upon our loss of Cookie we didn't like having Nutmeg outside in the hutch alone & to add to the problems Nutmeg was suffering from mange. We'd all ready treated her with the vet's old standby, & while she was no longer deteriorating she was still scratching bits of herself raw.
Morgan & I brought her in & got her set up in the new cage we picked up for her so we could keep a closer eye on her, but that didn't mean we could get her to stop scratching. So upon a quick google search I saw that someone had great success with putting a little shirt on their guinea pig. Their little piggie could scratch, but couldn't get to their skin & they also noticed that the firm hold of the shirt seemed to bring some relief from scratching. Only, we don't own a guinea pig shirt. I'm not really into the whole dressing up of animals, all though I could really use a thunder vest for our dog but I digress..
Anyway, we hadn't discovered a shirt at the pet shops for our piggie either & I did the next best thing. I pulled out a sock, cut it to the right size & slipped it on her. She was so angry with me that not only did she scream at me while I put it on her she proceeded to turn her back to me every time I went near her! I kept assuring her it was for her own good, but she didn't care. In fact, she would sulk away. In the morning we found her "sockless", contriteness that she is, she'd managed to get out of it!
Not one to give up I pulled out a new sock, of the tighter variety, & cut that one to shape & put it on her. Success! We left her like that for 4 days & then decided to take it off & bathe her & remediate her again. Oh the difference was amazing! Her skin had been scabby & dry, in some places scratched so badly you could see her little claw mark. It was just awful. When we pulled the sock off all the cuts had been healed & all the old scabs had peeled off leaving fresh pinky/brown skin behind. It was amazing!
She's still not over it yet, by any means, but she's certainly on the road to recovery here. We bathed her again & then dried her up & reapplied more mange spray. After that we put Betadine on her skin, especially in the areas where she still had minor abrasions that needed healing. Yes, the Betadine is brown, but our piggie has brown hair & skin so it's not at all noticeable on her. We then tried to wrap her with a bandage which was an interesting thing to attempt.
Nutmeg would lay there peaceful as you please while we warmed her, but the minute I tried to wrap her shoulder she'd step on the bandage & look at me. Pipsqueak! So I had Mr S lift her so I could get her all wrapped up. She wasn't keen on it & let us know, but I thought it might be more breathable then the sock. Well, it might have been, but she managed to contort herself well enough to start chewing through the shoulder portion where she tends to scratch the most. We slipped the sock back on her, much to her great annoyance.
We normally give our piggies a little box to have as their "nest" or place to be left alone. We couldn't find a new one to go in the new cage & just cleaned up the old one to put in there, but Nutmeg was really upset with it. She'd chew heavily on it & scream & cry. We wondered if the smell of Cookie still being on it was just too much for her so we removed it & she settled right back down again. In the end we've put, don't laugh, an old flour sack in there for her to curl up in. She seems to enjoy that for now & went straight to it to sulk after realising she had a sock on again.
We were speaking with the vet about Nutmeg & she was heavily impressed that the guinea pig was just over 5. This really boosted Morgan's confidence, but when the lady at the counter said, "Wow that's a great age for a guinea pig!" I told her that we'd just lost one that had been a week away from being 7. The women was floored. She said, "You obviously know how to care for your guinea pigs!" I corrected her & said, "Oh, it's not me, it's our 12 year old." It really helped him to hear it from someone who didn't know anything about him that he'd done an amazing job. Here's hoping that we can finish healing Nutmeg up & she'll have a few more years on her as well.