Why Does My Guinea Pig Have A Double Chin? (Signs+Treatment)

Why Does My Guinea Pig Have A Double Chin

The fold of loose skin hanging from the neck is an additional flap under the chin of a guinea pig that contains a large amount of fat tissue, which is generally found in female guinea pigs (sow). Still, in male guinea pigs, only a few of them have a double chin, which is smaller than female guinea pigs.

Once a female guinea pig becomes sexually mature, the double chin will be found in the female guinea pig. It could be a result of excess fat or loose skin. In most cases, a double chin is not something fatal and can be ignored. However, cut down on your guinea pig calories if they look obese.

Double chin is less noticeable in female guinea pigs, which have been spayed at a young age.

However, it doesn’t mean that the guinea pig is obese or overweight by a double chin containing fatty tissues.

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Dewlap in guinea pigs

A 6-year-old female guinea pig has a left double chin Pt 1

A dewlap in guinea pigs is an extra pouch of skin that hangs below the neck or jaw of guinea pigs.

At the age of 2 or 3 years, both male and female guinea pigs usually develop the dewlap.

Do male guinea pigs have dewlaps?

Male guinea pigs can have dewlaps, but they are less noticeable than female guinea pigs.

To perform a guinea pig with dewlaps is deemed to have high estrogen levels compared to other male guinea pigs.

If a guinea pig is neutered before puberty then it results in high levels of estrogen in their bodies.

Those guinea pigs that have been neutered after puberty are more likely to have much smaller dewlaps and less estrogen.

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Does dewlap indicates obesity

The guinea pig who is overweight will have the more prominent double chin as per their weight. That is valid for those male guinea pigs who are overweight as well.

Though overweight guinea pigs have bigger dewlaps, having dewlaps doesn’t mean that a guinea pig is overweight.

Some breed of guinea pigs, unspayed female guinea pigs, and those guinea pigs who have hanging skin are the most likely to have dewlaps compared to other guinea pigs, whether they are fatty or not.

If you think that your guinea pig has a redundant dewlap due to being overweight, ask your veterinary surgeon for the diet plan of weight loss.

The veterinary surgeon can suggest reducing the fruits, treats, and starchy or low-fiber vegetables from the diet of your guinea pig.

In many cases, the dewlap of guinea pigs will decrease in size when they lose their weight. It is natural for your guinea pig if they do not stop to have a little dewlap even after they have weight loss.

A dewlap means a little fold of skin or loose skin under the chin that can remain in many breeds of guinea pigs, especially after an unintentional weight loss.

Guinea pig pulling their hair out

Pulling of hairs by guinea pigs can be strange for most of the owners for the first time, but this is completely common. During the female guinea pig’s nesting stage, they will pull their hair out.

If your guinea pig has been spayed, your guinea pig can go through a false pregnancy, and create the nesting habits as an expecting, an unspayed female guinea pig.

That is because of the stress, or sexual stimulation that affects the female ovulates guinea pigs, convincing them that they are pregnant.

However, take your guinea pig to a veterinary surgeon immediately. If you find your guinea pig is having a severe injury to the skin bottom and pull their hair out from the dewlap.

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Common health problems related to double chin

Two crucial problems related to those guinea pigs who have prominent dewlap:

Unable to groom

If your overweight guinea pig has a big dewlap, they can have trouble while eating and grooming themselves.

When guinea pigs are not capable of grooming themselves, then they may have remaining or uneaten food stuck between the folds of loose skin of their dewlap. Also, it can develop bacteria and cause infections.

You need to put your guinea pig on a diet if you find your guinea pig’s big dewlap is because of their overweight. In severe cases, your veterinary surgeon may suggest you for surgery to decrease the quantity of a dewlap.

Also, if your guinea pig has a big dewlap, an account of their breed, or due to reaching sexual maturity, grooming your guinea pig daily can help you avoid any problems.

During the shedding season, you will need to clean your guinea pig’s dewlap, to avoid getting matted and dirty. In severe cases, surgical removal of the dewlap may still be necessary.

Wet dewlap

The wet dewlap is also named as moist dermatitis. It is a painful skin disorder in guinea pigs.

The dewlap of an older guinea pig is always mistaken for a swollen area within body tissue. It is usual for moist dermatitis and to have a loose skin dermatitis to formulate in a dewlap.

Causes of wet dewlap

A dewlap is the skin dropping, which is found under your guinea pig’s chin.

The guinea pigs can quickly get inflamed and irritated when dewlap is always wet and is not allowed to dry completely. The skin of dewlaps can be infected over a while.

A dewlap can get continually wet because of the following reasons:

  1. Unhygienic living conditions.
  2. Leaking of a water bottle.
  3. Being overweight and having a big dewlap.
  4. Dental problems that cause hypersalivation or drooling.
  5. Not drinking from the bottle but from a bowl can cause a dewlap to become wet every time your guinea pig drinks.

That can wet your guinea pig’s chin and dewlap. Saliva can tend to cause corrosion if it is left on the skin for a long time, and also open the pores of the skin and cause irritation.

Signs of wet dewlap

Hair of guinea pigs coming out of the infected area is one of the noticeable symptoms of wet dermatitides, such as a dewlap. The uncovered skin can appear red, sore, and raw.

The skin of your guinea pig can turn green when it becomes infected. The sores of the skin will attract the flies, which can lay eggs on the area which is infected. If this condition continues in this way, then you will see maggots creeping on a dewlap.

Treatment of wet dewlap

Treatment can be done quickly when you handle your guinea pig’s situation in their early stages. The veterinarian will most probably trim or shave the hair from the dewlap to make the skin of your guinea pig dry more successfully.

The owner may also put antibiotic powder on the infected skin to avoid the area, not to get infected. The veterinary surgeon will also tell you more instructions to avoid the excess wetness on the dewlap of your guinea pig.

When the situation moves forward, then it could be tough to treat them. To treat the infection, your veterinary surgeon can put your guinea pig on well-ordered antibiotics. Many antibiotics are not safe to use for your guinea pig.

Prevent wet dewlap in guinea pigs

The most beneficial way to avoid wet dermatitis on a dewlap is to maintain the area dry. Some tips are:

  1. Trim the dewlap hair of your guinea pig and clean the area often to allow the area to dry quickly.
  2. By giving your guinea pig the toys to chew and provide unlimited amounts of hay, it can prevent dental problems.
  3. Clean the area of your guinea pig’s enclosure and remove wet or solid bedding.
  4. Instead of bowls, use those bottles that have no leakage issues.

You must groom your guinea pig regularly if they have a dewlap. To avoid infection and irritation, keep the dewlap dry.

If you have an overweight guinea pig and have a dewlap, you can put your guinea pig on a diet to prevent grooming issues.

Conclusion:

Dewlap (double chin) are common in guinea pigs, except few male guinea pigs. The dewlap is not noticeable in those guinea pigs who are spayed at a young age.

Also, it is not essential that because of double chin, a guinea pig is overweight. Male guinea pigs also have a dewlap, which is unnoticeable.

Overweight guinea pigs have large dewlaps, but it doesn’t mean that they are overweight. You can also contact your veterinarian if you find that your guinea pig has unnecessary dewlaps because of their overweight. 

Guinea pigs pull their fur from dewlap at a nesting stage. That could be due to sexual stimulation or stress. There are two types of common health problems related to double chin: Wet dewlap and unable to groom.

The causes of wet dewlap could be leakage of a water bottle, drinking from a bowl, unhygienic living conditions, and large dewlap because of overweight and dental problems.

The antibiotic powder can help to cure the infected area. You can trim the hairs or guinea pigs to make them dry quickly, clean the area of the enclosure, use bottles, and offer toys or hay to prevent wet dewlap in guinea pigs.


Sources: High-fat diets and pathology in the guinea pig, Guinea pig as a model for metabolic programming of adiposity, Thyroid Diseases.

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Saurav

Hello, I am Saurav the founder of this blog that's all about guinea pigs. I am an Animal Nutritionist by education but a pet blogger by profession. My motto with this blog is to help guinea pig owners understand their pets better so they can provide them with the life they deserve.

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However, our site doesn’t provide you with any medical advice for your guinea pigs. For any medical assistance and advice, it is recommended to consult a licensed veterinarian.
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