Planet Gorgeous Bitesize…

After Planet Guinea’s and Gorgeous Guineas’ successful collaborations in 2009 we have decided to make it a regular event with Planet Gorgeous Bitesize. Every month we will bring you a topical newsletter reflecting on current issues in the guinea pig world.

We hope you enjoy our first on skin care:

1. I have read on the internet about using Nizoral to treat my guinea pig’s fungal skin, is it OK to use products for humans on guinea pigs? I know they were tested on guinea pigs but they were tested for use on humans surely?

Human products are designed for humans, not for the specific needs of guineas with skin problems.  Human anti-dandruff shampoos are often recommended on forums, but people don’t seem to realise that they often contain harsh detergents such as SLS / SLES as well as Parabens (preservatives that have had some bad press).  Read more about what’s in Nizoral here:

The Gorgeous Guineas range of products has been designed specifically for the types of skin problems that guineas have.  We don’t use harsh detergents such as SLS / SLES in our shampoos, nor do we use Parabens.  We always buy good quality ingredients and use the minimum number to get the job done – every ingredient in every product has a purpose. Take a look at the ingredients list on the back of a bottle of GG shampoo vs. human shampoo….many human products have up to 40 ingredients!

2. My boar has scabby lips and I need something NOW to put on them, they look so painful. I have the Green Cream that I used on a cut lip once, can I use that?

Gorgeous Guineas’ F and M  Cream is the best product for scabby lips.  Why? Sores like this can be fungal or bacterial in origin and  can help both types. You DO NOT NEED TO REMOVE THE SCABS before applying the cream.  Some people advise this, but it is totally unnecessary and very painful for the guinea.  The Cream will soften the scabs and they will come off in their own time.  The easiest way to apply the Cream to small areas around the mouth it is with a cotton bud.

3. A rescue sow has sore nipples from feeding a very large litter that was also the result of post partum mating; should I buy the Human equivalent or is there something I can get for guinea pigs that won’t harm the pups?

Sore nipples can be helped with either Super Souffle Cream or Perfect Paws Ointment.  Both contain Calendula Oil which is one of our “must-have” ingredients to help all sorts of skin problems.  Human products often contain Mineral Oil (such as Paraffin / Petrolatum) which can sit on the skin and block pores.  This is because their molecules are bigger than those of vegetable oils which can be absorbed by the skin to help the healing process.

4. Are all Neem shampoos the same?

No – if you go to a health food shop where most of them are sold, you will find all sorts of different ingredients included in each brand (including SLS and SLES as mentioned above, along with Parabens).  Neem also comes in several different varieties such as oil, leaves, bark and tincture.  Each one has a variety of uses and from reading the ingredients, it is unlikely that you will find out which part of the Neem tree has been used.  Gorgeous Guineas’ products containing Neem are made with the most appropriate form for each different type of product and no, we’re not giving our secrets away!

5. I normally order my products online but this problem is looking like it needs attention now, what do I do?

First port of call would be your Vet to get a diagnosis and treatment.  You can also email us for advice – depending on what the problem is we can sometimes advise you to  buy products that are available from your local chemist / supermarket (Aloe Vera Gel for example).  This is where it is always useful to have a small stock of products to hand and why we offer Trial Sizes of most of our products.  “Must have” products include a CocoNeem Melt, Manuka & Neem Shampoo, Lice ‘n’ Easy Shampoo, F+M Cream and Aloe Vera Gel.

6. How old should my guinea pig be before I start to bath them?

Unless your guinea has a skin problem they should not need bathing until they are at least 3-4 months old.

7. What’s the difference between an ointment and a lotion and when would I use them?

A lotion is water-based and contains:

a small amount of oil (such as Calendula which is great for sore, itchy, inflamed skin conditions, also for dry / cracked nipples) an emulsifier (to enable the oil and water to mix) a preservative – every product containing water needs to be preserved to prevent the growth of micro-organisms such as fungi and bacteria  other active ingredients such as essential oils and herbal oils Lotions are easily absorbed into the skin and can be used where the surface of the skin has been damaged (eg scabs, fungal infection, irritated skin).  They help the skin to stay moisturised and heal from the inside out.

An ointment usually consists of herbal oils (such as Calendula) in a wax-base and contains no water , so does not need a preservative.  It forms a protective layer over the skin as well as helping it to heal and is particularly useful for foot problems, fungal ears and crusty nipples.  Most ointments are made using Beeswax, but ours are made using a vegetable wax so are suitable for Vegans as well as Vegetarians.  Ointments should never be used on open wounds as these need to be kept moist in order to heal properly.  Check out this article for our 3 Steps To Natural Wound Management for additional information:

8. We have an extremely fungal pig that has just come into rescue who needs treating now. Can you recommend the products that will be most effective and any other hints and tips until his veterinary appointment? We have some Rimadyl prescribed to us for times like this to give before we even attempt to relieve the problem.

If there are large, crusty areas the first thing to do is to soften them before attempting to do anything else.  Super Soufflé Cream is very effective for this purpose and when the crusts are softened, a CocoNeem Melt followed by Manuka & Neem Shampoo will help the guinea feel more comfortable.  After 2 or 3 rounds of Melt / Shampoo each a week apart, you should see a big improvement in the condition of the skin, Kwench lotion from Gorgeous Guineas can also be helpful where there is scabby skin that needs to be kept moisturised so that it can heal properly. See Mr Melt’s story:

9. I read on the internet that I can buy Ivermectin to treat parasitic conditions and also to prevent them but when I looked there are lots of different strengths etc! Will any one do?

No!  If you think your guinea has Mites, please go to a guinea-competent Vet for a diagnosis (  Most Vets now use Xeno 50 or Xeno 450 which is Ivermectin in a spot-on form that is applied to the skin, rather than painful injections.  Please DO NOT be tempted to buy any spot-on products from your local pet shop or supermarket.  These usually either contain Permethrin (which can be harmful to guineas) or contain too little Ivermectin to do the job properly.  Only the affected guinea needs treating as Mange Mites live under the skin and usually start multiplying and cause intense itching when there is some sort of underlying stress (eg new home, poor nutrition, pregnant sows, sows that have recently given birth, babies, boars fighting, golden oldies).  Two doses of Ivermectin are required, 10-14 days apart.

10. I’ve given Ivermectin on day one and day ten to my guineas and the condition is starting to clear but they are still scratching, do I need to bath them?

Ivermectin given in the correct dose is a very effective treatment and usually the scratching subsides within 24 hours of application as the Mites die off.  Occasionally if there has been a bad infestation of Mites a guinea may need a 3rd dose of Ivermectin.  Usually if it is a bad case, your Vet will inject the Ivermectin rather than using Xeno 50 or 450. Guineas often get parasitic and fungal problems at the same time, so if your guinea is still scratching it could be as a result of a fungal problem or from irritation caused by scurfy skin.  If the is the case, a CocoNeem Melt followed by Manuka & Neem Shampoo will help to remove any dead skin and leave the guinea more comfortable.

January 24, 2010   Posted in: Planet Gorgeous