Treating a Guinea Pig for Mites
Guinea pigs are very popular pets, especially among children, because of their clean habits, their quiet nature and their docile behavior. Add to this fact their cute and lovable appearance and you have yourself one of the most ideal pets for households. However, like all kinds of pets, they are prone to getting diseases and getting infected with parasites. One of these parasites that are common guinea pig invaders are guinea pig mites. If you have a guinea pig, you need to be aware of what problems your pet is prone to having and what you can do to prevent or treat it.
Guinea Pig Mites Infestation
Different kinds of mites can infest guinea pigs and most of them cause itching and scratching, but nothing more. However, there are certain kinds of mites like the Trixacarus cavie, or Mange Mites, that can can cause severe guinea pig's hair loss due to intense scratching and itching. There are instances when these mites do not even cause scratching and itching but still cause hair loss. Crusting of the skin can also happen with an infestation of this type of mite. In severe cases, scratching and itching can lead to self-inflicted wounds accompanied by frenzied behavior like running around and wild movements. Biting and seizures are also signs that the infestation of mange mites is already severe. At this point, you need to treat it as soon as possible since it is already life threatening.
The Trixacarus cavie mite can be transmitted by direct contact only, so if you have had your pet guinea pig for a long time and it hasn't come into contact with an infected quinea pig, it is safe. You need to be careful when buying a new guinea pig or having your pet come into contact with another one.
The most popular treatment for mite infestations in guinea pigs is Ivermectin. It is a drug that is administered orally, topically or by injection. This drug takes care of the mange mites if given in proper doses. The dosage is determined by the weight of the guinea pig and it is administered 7 to 10 days apart. The drug has been found to be safe for pregnant guinea pigs, but to be entirely safe, consult a veterinarian if you are going to administer Ivermectin on a pregnant guinea pig. Another treatment option for killing mange mites, as well as lice, is Selamectin. Both of these drugs deal with the parasites themselves, but there are also treatment options for the side effects of the infestation.
Diazepam is a drug that can help in controlling itching while steroids can be of use when the guinea pig is experiencing seizures. Consult a veterinarian about the use of steroids before administering it to be safe. You can also consult your vet about the available drug you can use to treat skin infections, crusty skin, open sores and other side effects and complications of the mite infestation.
Main visible sign that you can suspect that your guinea pig pet has mites is its frequent scratching due to itchiness leading to hair loss. Mites can be transmitted from one guinea pig to another by direct contact, so if you have several guinea pigs, check all if you suspect one. Also, itchiness may not always be associated with mites infestation but may be due to other guinea pig diseases. When treating guinea pig mites, be sure to consult a veterinarian first because some drugs may actually cause more harm to your pet without proper consultation. Some infestations happen without obvious signs.