Guinea Pig Diseases - Fur mites

mite infestation in guinea pig
  • Infestation with Chirodiscoides caviae, or the guinea pig fur mite, is a commonly encountered problem in guinea pigs.
  • Under normal conditions fur mites are present in small numbers and exist symbiotically and do not harm their host. However, their numbers can increase when a guinea pig is stressed, has decreased immunity due to illnesses, is unable to keep the mites reduced by normal grooming all of which can lead to excessive itching, irritation and other disorders of the skin.
  • Mites may be transmitted by direct contact with infested guinea pigs and contaminated items such as bedding.
  • If you suspect one of your guinea pig's have mange mites, treat them all as soon as possible as they can be carriers without showing symptoms.
  • On rare occasions, mange mites may cause some temporary itchiness for sensitive people, but cannot reproduce or live on humans.

    • Causes:
    • Infection from other guinea pigs
    • Infection from contaminated objects like bedding
    • Unclean living conditions
    • Stress
    • Lowered immunity due to illness

      Your veterinarian can diagnose fur mite infestation in your guinea pig either by examining your guinea pig's fur for visible signs of the mites or by taking skin scrapings from your guinea pig for microscopic laboratory analysis.

      fur mite infestation in guinea pig Symptoms:
    • Excessive scratching/itching
    • Scratching, causing self inflicted wounds
    • Dry and flaky skin
    • Loss of weight
    • Hair loss (if left untreated, guinea pigs can become completely bald)
    • Run around the cage in an agitated state
    • Squeal in pain if touched
    • If left untreated, the guinea pig will emaciate and die

    • Take your guinea pig to a veterinarian right away if a guinea pig mite infestation is suspected.
    • Ivermectin is the treatment of choice. It does not kill the eggs, and it must be administered by injection, orally, or topically in several doses.
    • It is usually placed on the skin found directly behind the ears. The dosage is weight specific and is not safe to use with guinea pigs that weigh less than twelve ounces.
    • After giving first dose second dose may be given after seven days.
    • This drug is safe to use on pregnant cavies.
    • A vet may also provide topical treatment for open sores and infection caused by scratching and for crusty skin and other complications related to the infestation.
    • Diazepam may be used to control itching, while steroids provide temporary relief.
    • The nails should be cut in order to minimize any further damage to the skin.
    • Keep stress levels to a minimum while the guinea pig is recovering from a mite infestation.
    • Clean any shared space thoroughly with non-toxic disinfectant and water, then replace the bedding.

      In addition to keeping your guinea pig's living quarters clean and sanitary, minimizing your guinea pig's stress levels and feeding your guinea pig a healthy, balanced and nutritional diet will go a long ways toward preventing fur mite infestation in your guinea pig.