[Gpdd] HEALTH: Peter Gurney and his advice

Cheryl Cline cherylcline at gmail.com
Fri May 5 14:03:00 EDT 2006

I am so sorry to hear that Peter Gurney is in poor health.  Can
someone post his email address so we can send him our good wishes?

I had meant to post about this before, but while we are on the topic
of Mr. Gurney, I thought I would share my story of how his website
helped me with my Peruvian pig's skin problem.

Last month I noticed that Alex, my all-black Peruvian piggie, seemed
to be suffering from something that looked like dandruff.  He had
white flakes all over his rump that looked black once they were off
the skin.  If I scratched his back, he would begin scratching himself
furiously and eventually begin fitting or seizing.  Unfortunately, I
did not recognize the seizures for what they were at first.  He would
lie on his back or stomach and tremble all over, then, once he had
recovered, would become EXTREMELY agitated.  He would jump from my lap
onto the floor and run and hide, something he never does.  I thought I
should share this with the list members because it is not always easy
to recognize something you've only read about--I, for one, never would
have recognized a guinea pig seizure at first sight.  I had to see it
a few times before I connected it with what I had read online.

I looked at Gurney's website and several others, and figured that Alex
must have mites or mange.  What I never understood was why his
cagemate, J.B., never seemed to catch it, as it is supposed to be
contagious.  Gurney recommends neem oil in a carrier oil solution, but
he doesn't specify the concentration or what the carrier oil should
be.  However, for the life of me, I could not find a place that sold
neem oil over the counter, only a few online stores, and I wanted to
help Alex right away and not wait for packages to arrive in the mail. 
So I used about ten drops of tea tree oil in an ounce of cooking oil
(mostly canola) and rubbed that into Alex's rump and back.  I was
supposed to wait two days before washing it off, but I could tell that
poor Alex was miserable and grumpy because he would hide in his pigloo
all day.  So after 24 hours I washed him with an anti-dandruff shampoo
(containing selenium sulfide, I believe), which Mr. Gurney says is
safe for pigs.  I then sprayed him lightly with Ark Naturals Neem
Protect spray, which I found at Whole Foods and is also available from
drugstore.com.  The spray was oilier than I had expected, so I had to
wash Alex again a few days later.

The good news is that Alex improved quickly and within two weeks
looked perfectly gorgeous again!  No more dandruff-y flakes, excessive
itching and scratching, nor seizures.

I understand that the kind people at Orange County Cavy Haven (who
alerted me to J.B.'s surrender to a local shelter, where I adopted
him) usually give ivermectin doses as a precaution to all the shelter
piggies that they bring into foster care.  I think that ivermectin is
the standard cure, but I found my modification of Gurney's advice to
be cost-effective and relatively chemical-free.

More information about the Gpdd mailing list