Does my Guinea Pig Have Mites?

There are many conditions that can afflict a guinea pig. Mites and ticks can have a dramatic effect of the quality of your guinea pig's life - but how do you know if your poor piggie actually has mites of some description? This article gives you everything you need to know about guinea pig mites and ticks.

Cervical Lymphadenitis

This is an infection in the lymph nodes around the head and neck. The condition is most common is younger pigs. The infection is caused by streptococcal bacteria. This type of bacteria is found everywhere in the environment and is impossible to eliminate. This is not an infection brought about by mites.

If infected, your guinea pig may get numerous swellings on the head and neck. These swellings can develop to be big and it is often surprising that the pig seems unaware of the growths. If untreated this condition, in some cases, could lead to death. This condition is often treated without issue by your vet who will drain the abscess. If the wound starts to 'leak' you should segregate your animal, as the puss is contagious to other cage mates.

Cheyletiella

This is a condition brought about by the presence of mites on your guinea pig and is characterised by hair loss, dandruff and itching. The affected area will often be around the back end. This type of mite can be caught from and passed onto cats and rabbits, so if you believe your animal is infected, try to keep them confined away from your other pets.

These mites can make your animal very uncomfortable, but can often be treated by a repeated dose of animal-friendly antiparasitic treatment. However if you are in doubt, it is best to consult your vet.

Demodicosis

This is another condition that mites are responsible for. Demodicosis in your guinea pig undoubtedly means that your pig is suffering from a weakened immune system. The mites that cause this condition are present in small numbers on most animals in the hair follicles, however with a weakened immune system, these mites have the opportunity to become dominant.

If your animal is taken ill, you will likely see boils or lesions and an excessive amount of hair loss. If you think that you animal has demodicosis, then you should consult your vet immediately.

Hay Mites

Despite the name of these little critters, it is not 100% believed that these mites actually come from the hay that you give your guinea pig. These mites are tiny and generally you won't be able to see them. However if your piggie is particularly affected you may be able to see a number of mites around the back end of your pet. You may not always be aware that your pig has hay mites as the majority of pigs are not affected by their presence. However if your guinea pig becomes sensitised to these mites then they will need to be cleaned and tended to more regularly.

Mange

This is a particularly unpleasant type of mite that buries its' way into the guinea pigs skin and lays its eggs. These eggs hatch and rise to the surface where the mites mate with each other and the process of tunnelling into the skin starts all over again in greater numbers.

The guinea pig will be in great discomfort and you will see a loss of coat. The animal will be intensely itchy and will constantly scratch itself. If untreated, this will lead to open sores on the pig. The pig will probably lose weight and may even have fits. The animal may also bite as it is being tortured by the mites. If left to run their course, the mites will win and the animal will die.

However, being the caring and considerate owners that we are, this condition is easily treated by medication from a vet. Within 2 weeks you should see rapid signs of improvement in you pig and in no time at all, you have your healthy old guinea pig back!

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