Guinea Pig Mites: Treating Parasites Properly

If guinea pigs have mites, there is no need to panic. Such a parasite infestation is easy to treat in the cute rodents. Here you can find out what you should pay attention to.

A mite infestation in guinea pigs can be treated fairly easily - Shutterstock / Dev_Maryna

A mite infestation in guinea pigs can be treated fairly easily – Shutterstock / Dev_Maryna

Guinea pig mites are completely normal. Some of them live permanently in the fur of the rodent, without disturbing them. However, if the health of the guinea pig becomes imbalanced, the number of parasites can increase sharply.

Mites in guinea pigs: symptoms and types

There are several symptoms you can use to identify mites in guinea pigs. This includes hair loss. In some cases, however, the mites dig deep into the skin of the cute four-legged friends. The result is severe itching, scaly, crusty inflammation, thickened areas of skin and barky crusts. These commonly appear on the inner thighs, shoulders and neck of the guinea pig.

Guinea pigs heavily infected with mites may lose weight or appear lacking in energy. But if the guinea pig is running around excitedly in the cage, this can also be a symptom. Do not leave the condition untreated, as this can lead to further infections of the sores. The animal suffers greatly, and an infestation with mites can even be fatal if left untreated.

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Guinea pigs are mainly attacked by these types of mites:

  • grave mites: These parasites are the most common species found in guinea pigs. The mites burrow into the rodent’s skin, burrow entire burrows, and lay their eggs inside. The infestation usually begins in the ears, neck, neck and shoulders and spreads from there.
  • hair follicle mites:
  • fur mites: These parasites can be found on the hair of the animal. This type of mite is usually introduced with new animals or objects.

Guinea pig has mites: what are the causes?

A high mite infestation is a sign that your animal’s health is out of balance. Reasons for this can be:

  • Infection in other guinea pigs
  • Qualitative or quantitative missing or malnutrition
  • Poor keeping conditions (insufficient space, lack of hygiene)
  • stress
  • immunodeficiency

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The treatment: Medication against guinea pig mites

If you notice an infestation with mites in your guinea pig, you can treat it yourself as a first step. The following applies: If the animals have already scratched open wounds, they should be disinfected with agents such as Betaisodona, Braunol or Kodan. Then cream the areas with wound and healing ointment such as Bepanthen or Hametum.

If the itching is severe, you should administer Fenistil drops in the first few days. As a dosage, give your guinea pig one drop per kilogram of body weight three times a day. Bandages on the hind paws can also provide relief. Because: If the animals don’t scratch their wounds again and again, healing can start faster. The risk of further bacterial and fungal infestation via the sore spots is also reduced.

Coconut oil has proven itself as a home remedy for mites in guinea pigs. The oil is known for its antibacterial, antiviral and fungicidal effects and also works well against parasites. Simply put a little coconut oil on your fingers and then run your guinea pig’s fur thoroughly. Massage the oil carefully, also into the skin of your four-legged friend.

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Have you treated your guinea pig but it isn’t working or are the symptoms getting worse? Then you should definitely go to the vet. He will prescribe suitable remedies for you.

burrow mites and hair follicle mites

Grave mites and hair follicle mites are treated with the active ingredient ivermectin (e.g. Ivomec). The drug is given in the form of an injection or as a spot-on solution. Alternatively, Selamectin (e.g. Stronghold) can be used as a spot-on solution. Both drugs are available on prescription from the veterinarian, who also determines the dosage and duration of treatment.

fur mites

Fur mites are treated with the active ingredient Propoxur (eg Bolfo as a flea powder or spray). An alternative may be fipronil (e.g. Frontline). Your veterinarian will issue a corresponding prescription and also determine the treatment details here.

Guinea pig mites: Don’t forget to clean the cage

It’s not just your guinea pig that needs to be treated for a mite infestation. You should also thoroughly clean the cage. This is important so that your pet does not become infected with mites again directly. However, you should avoid using chemical cleaning agents as much as possible, as they can be harmful to your pet. Among other things, the foreign smell causes stress for your guinea pig.

In order to reliably eliminate mites, you can tackle the cage and inventory with hot water or vinegar water instead. The following applies to the latter: As a final step, everything must be washed out again thoroughly with clear hot water or rinsed off. In any case, everything must first dry well – if possible in the fresh air – before you give it back to your pet. Alternatively, your vet will give you special tools to clean the cage and the like after a severe mite infestation.

Another way to get rid of mites in bowls, houses and the like is to expose them to extreme heat or cold. The easiest way to do this is to either heat your guinea pig’s cage accessories in the oven or freeze them in a plastic bag in the freezer.

If you choose the oven variant, you should heat the accessories for at least one hour at 100 degrees Celsius. Caution: Make sure you stay close to the oven. Plastic parts don’t even belong in it. If you prefer to put the mites “on ice”, the accessories must be in the freezer for at least a week. Exactly how long the parasites survive the freeze depends on the specific species. Better to ask your veterinarian for an assessment.

Basically, you should always keep your guinea pig’s cage clean. This is the best way to prevent mites. But you shouldn’t overdo it either. Your guinea pig’s immune system needs a certain amount of contact with germs and the like in order to remain in training. Too much hygiene therefore weakens the defenses of the cute rodents rather than helping them.

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Can guinea pig mites be transmitted to humans?

Mites can be a real nuisance for guinea pigs, but the small parasites are not usually contagious to humans. The reason: guinea pig mites are host-specific. They don’t like human blood, so they prefer to stay on their four-legged hosts.

In the case of a very severe infestation, however, it can happen that some guinea pig mites get lost on humans. They then cause symptoms of pseudo-scabies. Thorough washing of hands after contact with the animal, cleaning out etc. can be a good preventive measure here.

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