This article aims to provide you with information about fly strike in guinea pigs, how to prevent fly strike occurring and what action to take if your guinea pig becomes infected.
Fly Strike (or Myiasis) is a common illness in guinea pigs (and less often in cats and dogs.) It is a painful and life threatening condition however it can be both treated and avoided.
It is caused by flies laying eggs on the skin or fur of a pig, often around the rectum or back end. Within hours the eggs hatch on the guinea pig and the larvae bury their way into the animal's body. Once inside the body the larvae feed off the guinea pig releasing toxins. This can lead to infection and the animal going into shock, eventually if untreated the animal can die within 48 hours.
If you are concerned that your guinea pig has been a victim of fly strike you should immediately seek the help of a qualified vet. The vet should be able to treat the animal by way of an injection, which should not cost an excessive amount.
If your pig is taken ill by fly strike, take all measures available to stop it happening again in the future, as whilst the animal can make a full recovery, it will not have been a pleasant experience.
Fly Strike is most common during the summer months, when flies are at their most active. You can reduce the chance of infection by checking your guinea pig twice daily during the hot season. You should also maintain a clean cage and remove any soiled bedding. Furthermore, check the rear end of your pig for any matted hair and cut it away carefully.
You can buy pet friendly preventative measures, such as the plant-based Xentex which will kill flies, ticks and mites. Other options include covering the front of your pig's cage with a thin mesh, or consulting your vet about a preventative vaccine. Never use a household fly spray as this could be fatal to your guinea pig.