Guinea Pig Parasite ControlDr. Bobby Ortiz M.V.B
When bringing home a new guinea pig, you want them to be as happy and as comfortable as possible. This means taking the correct parasite preventative measures to ensure your guinea pig doesn’t fall ill. Guinea pigs are susceptible to a lot of different parasites such as mites and worms, which can cause skin irritations and diarrhoea.
Parasite control is typically reserved for young guinea pigs or guinea pigs being introduced to a new group. Due to their small size, it is highly recommended parasite control is discussed and dispensed by your local veterinarian.
In this blog post, I will discuss the types of parasite your guinea pig may encounter and how to take the correct preventative measures to ensure your guinea pig is as happy and as healthy as can be!
Dr. Bobby Ortiz, M.V.B.
Dr Bobby Ortiz, aka 'Dogtor Bob', is a small animal and exotic veterinarian based in Dublin. He has a strong interest in Small Mammal (rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets) and Reptile medicine and surgery.
He grew up in a family of avid animal lovers, which led him to work as an Aquarist at the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific in California. It was there he decided he wanted to become a vet, and specialise in exotic animals, that needed the same care and medical attention that dogs and cats are given.
He lives with his wife and Brittany Spaniel Bodhi, and has dreams to build a new tropical marine fish tank in the near future!
Common Parasites in Guinea Pigs
Guinea pigs can contract mites or lice, which can be found on the skin and fur. They may not show any signs of an infestation at first, but may begin scratching or experiencing hair loss.
Chirodiscoides caviae mites are also called static mites and may not cause any signs to show. It is generally non-life threatening.
Trixacarus caviae mites (sarcoptic mange mite) can cause extreme itchiness and lead to painful and life threatening seizures if left untreated.
A lice infestation is similar to mites and can cause extreme itchiness and skin irritation. They are visible to the naked eye and easier to spot as you will be able to see their eggs on your pet. The three most common types are oval lice or gyropus ovalis, slender lice or gliricola porcelli, and trimenopon hispidum. If you suspect your guinea pig has lice, you must treat it as soon as possible, as it can easily spread from one infected pet to another. It can also spread via contaminated bedding.
A common misconception is ringworm, which is actually a fungal infection and not a type of parasite but can present very similar symptoms. It can cause bald patches and alopecia. They can be seen on the head, and may have red, flaky patches in them. It can be spread to other parts of the body if left untreated. It is important to know that this can spread to other animals and humans, so identification and early treatment is necessary.
Signs of Parasites on your Guinea Pig
Some tell-tale signs of a parasite infestation are:
- Moderate to excessive scratching
- Biting themselves
- Hair Loss
- Crusty or inflamed skin
- Unthrifty coat
- Decreased appetite
If you believe your guinea pig is showing any of these signs, it is essential they are taken to a vet immediately.
Preventing Parasites in Your Guinea Pig
It’s not possible to keep 100% of parasites at bay but there are some things you can do to reduce the risk of infection, such as:
- Regular health checks
Young guinea pigs are prone to infestation so it is important to regularly check on your guinea pig, both yourself and by a vet. Try using a fine-tooth comb to gently part the hair to look for signs of parasites.
- Clean Bedding and Cage
Always make sure your guinea pig has clean bedding. A weekly wash and dry should suffice. Make sure to check for soiled or wet bedding and replace and clean right away.
- Balanced Diet
A healthy, balanced diet of hay, vegetables, vitamin-C rich pellets, and plenty of water will ensure your guinea pig maintains a happy and healthy lifestyle.
Any More Questions?
If you have any concerns regarding your guinea pig’s health, I recommend you consult with your local veterinarian. For more on feeding and caring for your guinea pig, speak to a member of the Petmania team in store today.