Even if you change your cavies’ bedding regularly, it is possible that they end up with mites. They can get mites from other infested guinea pigs that they come in contact with.
Luckily, getting rid of mites is pretty straightforward. You first need to determine the type of mites and then develop a treatment plan for them.
Guinea Pigs and Mites
No matter how well you take care of your guinea pigs, there is always a chance they get mites.
This article will take a deeper look into how guinea pigs can get mites and lice and treat them.
Mites are small insects that may enter your guinea pigs’ fur and cause skin problems.
The two common mites that attack cavies are sarcoptic and caviae static caviae.
The static mites are the ones that travel up and down the guinea pigs’ hair shafts. Sarcoptic mites are ones that burrow under the animals’ skin and cause a painful condition called sarcoptic mange.
Whichever types of mites the guinea pigs have, you must follow the right treatment method.
The treatment depends on the type of mites you have, so you should first determine the type.
Once done, you must then observe the symptoms or take your guinea pig to the vet. Don’t follow anti-flea medication since such treatments tend to contain poisonous ingredients.
If left untreated, mites can lead to skin irritation, hair loss, seizures, and in some cases, even death.
Therefore, you must figure out and observe everything at your earliest.
How Can Guinea Pigs Get Mites?
It’s typical for cavies to get some form of parasites in their hair. These pesky creatures can live in their hair for a long time and normally go unnoticed.
Once the affected guinea pig meets others, the mites can spread quite rapidly. It can even indirectly spread through them.
Guinea pigs can get mites from various sources, but the primary one is through improper living conditions. This is why they can get mites from their cage and bedding.
Other sources include hay, food, grass, and even their toys. Mites can live in these areas for up to two weeks.
How to Identify Mites in Guinea Pigs
A telltale sign that the guinea pigs have mites is if they are continuously scratching and itching.
Besides this, there are several other signs that can also point toward mites in guinea pigs.
They include the following:
Look for Dust on Your Guinea Pig
The first thing you should do to look for mites in guinea pigs is to examine their fur firstly.
If your guinea pigs have white dust on their fur, it might indicate static mites.
Try blowing or brushing the dust away; if it doesn’t, then it is probably static mites.
Identify Any Bald Patches
If you notice any bald patches in your guinea pigs’ skin, it might mean that they have sarcoptic mites. Such mites burrow into their skin and cause intense itching.
The guinea pigs might excessively scratch or bite their skin to get rid of the itching.
This is why you should take them to the vet as soon as you can to get treated.
Use Clear Tape
Another way of diagnosing mites in your guinea pig is by sticking a clear tape on the cavies’ fur.
When you remove the tape, you should see tiny mites, lice, or their eggs under a magnifying glass.
Even if you don’t see any mites, you might be able to spot their eggs. This is why a magnifying glass is essential to look through the tape.
Take Your Guinea Pig to the Veterinarian
Even if you don’t see any mites or lice under the clear tape or find significant dust or bald patches, take the cavies to a vet.
They have more accurate methods of detecting mites in guinea pigs.
It is better to be safe than sorry. Hence, if you suspect any mites in your guinea pigs, take them to the vet to be sure.
How to Treat Guinea Pig with Mites
Once you have identified mites in your guinea pigs, it is time to take the necessary steps to treat them.
The treatment varies according to the type of mites you cavy has.
Static mites are different from sarcoptic mites, which is why their treatments also differ.
There are different measures you need to take in order to manage and treat mites properly. They include the following:
How to Treat Static Mites in Guinea Pigs
The treatment for static mites is relatively straightforward compared to sarcoptic mites. Take your guinea pig to the vet.
Your vet will recommend an anti-mite shampoo or spray.
Avoid buying over-the-counter medication or shampoos because they may be toxic to guinea pigs.
How to Treat Sarcoptic Mites in Guinea Pigs
When it comes to treating sarcoptic mites in guinea pigs, you have to be quite careful and quick. If they are left in the guinea pigs’ fur for too long, it can be quite painful and even lead to death.
You must take your cavies to the vet immediately. They will likely give them medication either topically, orally, or via injections.
This is because the sarcoptic mites get under the skin. Hence, you will need medication that can properly treat this condition.
You might need to take them to the vet several times to administer the medication. Moreover, the vet will also recommend a special shampoo for treating sarcoptic mites.
Depending on the severity of the sarcoptic mite infection, the vet may also administer a de-worming injection. This is also administered via injection or orally.
Whichever type of mites your guinea pigs have, you must get them treated immediately. This is because mites and lice both spread fast.
Hence if you have more than one guinea pig, you should be extremely careful.
How to Prevent Mite Infestations in Guinea Pigs
You cannot do much to guarantee the prevention of a mite infestation completely, but you can follow certain helpful methods.
These can ensure that the likelihood of your guinea pigs getting mites is reduced.
Here’s how to prevent a mite infestation in your guinea pigs:
Regular Health Checks
Since guinea pigs are quite prone to lice and mite infestations, habitual health checks must be conducted.
Hence, use a comb to part their hair and search for mites or lice.
Change Bedding and Clean Cage
You must regularly clean wet or dirty bedding whenever necessary. Moreover, wash and change their bedding every week.
Consider doing a deep and thorough clean of the cage once a week. Keeping their cage clean can prevent mites and lice.
Give Your Cavies a Balanced Diet
To enhance guinea pigs’ health and immunity, you must provide them with balanced nutrition.
Ensure that you give them plenty of vegetables, hay, and fruit.
Moreover, you should also include a lot of vitamin C in their diet.
Avoid Introducing New Guinea Pigs That Have Mites
It goes without saying that before you set up a new guinea pig to your existing ones, you should check them for mites.
As mentioned earlier, mites can spread really fast amongst guinea pigs.
Hence, always check for signs of mites before introducing each other.
Bathe Your Guinea Pigs Regularly
You should be bathing guinea pigs at least once a month or two.
Moreover, ensure you use specific guinea pig shampoos to clean them.
Use Anti-Mange Shampoo
Another excellent idea when bathing your guinea pigs is to use an anti-mange shampoo.
This will aid in the prevention of sarcoptic mites.
Since sarcoptic mites can be quite painful for your guinea pigs, you must prevent them from developing.
You could also wash a new guinea pig with this shampoo before introducing them to the rest of the cavies.
Lower Guinea Pigs’ Stress
An unhappy and stressed-out guinea pig can have a weakened immune system. This is why they can be more susceptible to mite infestations.
This is why you should do your best to lower their stress. This can be done by placing their cage in a quiet and peaceful area.
Additionally, you should avoid over-handling them and giving them space and time to relax.
Guinea pigs are social creatures that also enjoy their time with other cavies, so it’s best to keep them in pairs.
Give Them Plenty of Vitamin C
Vitamin C can help boost your guinea pigs’ immunity. Since they cannot produce it on their own, it is important that you provide them with plenty of it.
Vitamin C can help them fight off diseases and mite infestations as well.
You can enrich their drinking water with vitamin C or give them food and pellets enriched with vitamin C.
It is important to check your guinea pigs regularly for signs of mites in their fur. If you suspect mites, you must take them to the vet immediately.
Treating mites, especially sarcoptic mites, is essential because they can be painful and life-threatening.
Prevention is better than cure. Hence, follow the aforementioned techniques dutifully!
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