Treating Guinea Pig mites, lice & fleas
Parasites can be a problem for any animal, including guinea pigs. Guinea pig mites, lice, and fleas can affect your guinea pig's skin and hair. If one of your guinea pigs has a problem, they could pass it on to your other guinea pigs too. The sooner you catch the problem, the sooner you will be able to treat it and stop the issue from getting worse. When you can recognise the signs and you know which treatments to use, as well as how to prevent mites and lice, you can take better care of your guinea pigs.
Guinea Pig Mites
There are two common types of mites that often affect guinea pigs, static mites and sarcoptic mites. Static mites like to make themselves at home in a guinea pig's hair, while sarcoptic mites get under their skin and cause a condition called sarcoptic mange. But how can you identify these mites?
Static mites will leave behind what looks like dust in your guinea pig's hair. You won't be able to see the mites themselves, but they will make your guinea pig very itchy, so you might see them scratching. A medicated shampoo or spray can be used to treat static mites, and you can also find spot-on treatments for both treating and preventing them. Sarcoptic mange will cause bald patches and is very painful for your guinea pig. It should be treated as soon as possible with a topical treatment containing ivermectin and an oral wormer. Spot-on preventative treatments and shampoos can also help to prevent sarcoptic mites. Your vet can help you to find the right treatment.
Guinea Pig Lice
Lice are another problem that might affect your guinea pig. The same treatments that can prevent and treat mites can often be used for lice too. Lice can also cause itching in your guinea pig, but you can see them with the naked eye, whereas you can't see mites. Lice are easier to see on guinea pigs with lighter hair, and you might be able to spot them if you use a torch. If you think that your guinea pig might have lice, your vet can help you with a diagnosis to make sure you get the right treatment.
Guinea Pig Fleas
Guinea pigs can also get fleas, just like cats and dogs. You might spot the fleas themselves, or you could see the dirt that the fleas leave behind in their hair. If your guinea pig has fleas, it's important to use a treatment that is designed to be safe for guinea pigs. Flea treatments for other species can be very dangerous for guinea pigs because they contain chemicals that are poisonous to them. There are guinea pig-safe treatments for fleas that will treat your guinea pig's fleas and leave them feeling much better.
After you have treated mites, lice, or fleas in your guinea pig, it's also important to keep them away. As well as using preventative treatments, you should sanitise your guinea pig's environment to stop the creepy crawlies coming back.