We have so few guinea pigs left that it is quite a treat for me to spend a whole day with them as so much of my time is spent with the rabbits. As it looks as if today was the last day above 10C for at least the next ten days and the piggies were due baths I decided to out off cleaning the rabbit sheds until tomorrow and do the baths today.
Before the bath I always do a thorough health check and cut the piggy’s claws. It is a good opportunity to check teeth,eyes, ears, bottom, to check any lumps for changes or to spot any new ones (piggies get lots of lumps which rarely cause them any trouble unless they grow very quickly or ulcerate, you normally just need to keep an eye on them). I also go through the coat thoroughly to spot any skin problems such as mites or fungal infections and to remove hay seeds or loose fur. If the fur is loose it is best to remove it as the skin will be healthier without it and a new coat will grow in qui and be in much better condition. If the loose coat is removed when it is warm it can help the piggy get through the winter with a healthy coat. Pay particular attention around the eyes as there can be crusty bits around the eyes if they have been weeping and around the bottom as piggies are a bit too prone to sitting in one place and getting a soggy bottom which can cause sore skin and loose hair. Always test to see if the hair is loose and remove it if it is. The skin will recover much faster without it. The piggies don’t really appreciate this sort of attention but they will be much more comfortable as a result of it so don’t let them talk you out of doing a proper job.
Calling it bathing is a bit of a misnomer. Really it is more like a shower as if you were to put them into the water they would panic and jump about and could injure themselves. The best way to do it is under a mixer tap keeping a firm grip on the piggy the whole time so they feel secure.
I really enjoyed my day with the guinea pigs. It is very strange only having six of them left! But to make this really truly a guinea pig day I was asked to take in a three new piggies and was delighted to be able to say yes. I can’t wait to meet them.