There are a number of different types of mites that can affect guinea pigs ( internal and external). These mites are in our outdoor environment and can also come with hay that we feed to guinea pigs. They are not going to get on people – so have no fear that you will be infected.
Mites cause the guinea pig to be itchy and wanting to scratch and this in turn leads to hair loss as well as possible scratch marks which can lacerate the skin.
Often we see one guinea pig that has a case of mites and not another. A lower immune system which could result from any number of scenarios such as injury, age, sickness can make a guinea pig more susceptible to mites taking hold. Mite are contagious and if left with other guinea pigs they will also eventually be effected. However once, they are identified, treat all of the guinea pigs at the same time, with the same medication, and this will then eradicate the problem and also keep the guinea pigs happy as they would like to remain together.
Signs of mites:
– hair that is coming away with little peices of skin attached at the ends
– lots of dandruff loose on the coat of the guinea pig
– Excessive scratching
– hairloss and balded areas
– high pitched wheeking ( short and sharp) indicating pain and usually associated with scratching.
Fungal is caused by guinea pigs living in damp wet or humid conditions. Cages that are not clean and cages that have water come into them are perfect for fungal spores to develop.
Guinea pigs need to be kept in an environment with good air-flow and ventilation but at the same time, dry, clean and warm.
Some guinea pig coats are also more dense and this can make them more susceptible to fungal conditions if the weather is humid however keeping a close eye on your guinea pigs and regular interaction will ensure that you pick up on anything quickly.
Fungal appears as a flaky white colouring. In an area where you see it, you can’t simply brush it off. If left, fungal will develop and spread causing extreme discomfort to the guinea pig.
In order to treat fungal, the area that is affected needs to be treated with a fungal shampoo or cream. If the area is small you can treat localised areas, but I would recommend a bath – as there may be spores that you are not aware of on the coat.
At the same time as treatment – you need to comletely clean the guinea pig hutch/cage. Using vinegar and water is completely fine or a cleaning agent, but the important issue is that you sun dry the cage, which will kill any remaining fungal spores. In addition if there has been serious fungal issues as the spores can remain in wood, you may need to consider a new cage or look at why this occured.
Look at caging information here on this site to see how you can ensure you avoid fungal conditions.
Lice infestation, also called pediculosis are extremely tiny and are white/brown in colour. You may see something very small moving at the base of hair folicles as the first sign. Lice lay eggs and as they hatch can become an enormous problem very quickly. They are also high contagious to other piggies, but they are species specific which means they will not affect you.
Lice feed off the skin ( blood) of the guinea pig and this makes them feel very itchy. They are easily treated with medication such as Ivemectin.
Watch the following videos to see how to identify fungal and also how to treat it as well as specifically on the face: