Understanding Fur Mite Infestations In Guinea Pigs


Under normal conditions, fur mites live on guinea pigs in small numbers without causing them any problems. However, when numbers increase, fur mites can cause skin problems and leave your guinea pig feeling uncomfortable and sore. Here's an overview of the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment approach for fur mite infestation in guinea pigs.

Causes And Symptoms

Fur mites can increase in numbers when your guinea pig is stressed, which can lead to them grooming themselves less. Infestations can also occur as a result of an unclean living environment or contact with infected bedding or other guinea pigs with a mite infestation.

Symptoms of fur mite infestation include hair loss, skin inflammation and crusty patches of skin. Areas of broken skin can become infected and pus may form around these areas. The effects of being in pain as a result of a mite infestation can cause your guinea pig to stop eating, develop lethargy or display agitated behaviour, such as running around in circles. The stress caused to your guinea pig from an untreated mite infestation could lead to them experiencing convulsions or heart failure.

Diagnosis And Treatment

Your vet will diagnose your guinea pig by visually inspecting their fur and skin for the presence of mites. They may also take skin scrapings for analysis, which can confirm the mites are typical fur mites and determine if a bacterial infection is present. Establishing the type of bacteria causing an infection will allow the vet to prescribe a treatment that's effective against that strain and improve recovery time for your guinea pig.

To treat a fur mite infestation, your vet will prescribe a mite powder to kill off the mites. They may also be prescribed oral or intramuscular anti-inflammatories and oral or topical antibiotics. If your guinea pig has stopped eating, they may require fluids or nutritional supplements to get them back on track.

Your vet will provide advice about how to minimise stress and keep your guinea pig's living environment clean. You will also be advised to disinfect their living area to remove any clusters of unhatched mite eggs, and if you have other guinea pigs, it's a good idea to have them checked over by your vet even if they're not displaying any symptoms of a mite infestation.

If you think your guinea pig could have a fur mite infestation, or if you have any concerns about their skin health, book an appointment with your vet right away to prevent any unnecessary suffering. For more information, contact a small animal service in your area.


21 February 2020

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