One of the common afflictions that can affect your guinea pig are parasites. Guinea pig parasites are a bane to both cavies and their owners. Parasites can do a lot of harm to your guinea pigs. It causes intense itch, and scratching leads to wounds. Parasites can also carry infectious diseases with them, and may even cause anemia in severe cases.
Parasites are usually brought in when you have a pet that’s allowed to go outdoors. Or there may be cases when you unwittingly let parasites in when you introduce a new guinea pig into your home. This is why we should never skip putting a new guinea pig in quarantine for 2 to 3 weeks to make sure we stop the spread of parasites and other diseases.
Common guinea pig parasites include lice, mites and fleas.
There are several types of lice that can affect guinea pigs. All of them do not pose any risk to humans. Lice can cause intense itching, scratching, and scabbing. You will find red papules one back of the head and behind the ears. Lice infestation are usually together with fleas.
When treating guinea pigs for lice, all guinea pigs and not just the one suspected of having lice will be inspected. All beddings and housing should be thoroughly cleaned as well.
Fleas can also affect guinea pigs. This usually happens when you have other animals in the house, such as dog and cats, who get infected outside the home. When they return, the fleas catch a free ride and spread to other animals in the house.
The most common flea that affects guinea pigs are what’s commonly called as cat flea. Fleas can cause intense itching, hair loss, and crusty lesions on the skin. If left untreated, it can lead to anemia and even death.
In guinea pigs that are afflicted with fleas, you will be able to observe small brown granules on their fur when you brush it. These brown granules are the fleas feces, which serves as the food of newly hatched flea larvae.
If you suspect fleas in your guinea pigs, bring them to the vet to find out what the recommended treatment is. Other pets in the house should also be observed for fleas. Together with treatment, prepare to do a general cleaning and disinfecting of the spaces occupied by your pets.
When it comes to mites, there are 2 types of mites that are commonly seen to afflict guinea pigs. These are the T. caviae and the C. caviae
This type of mite is transmitted by direct contact and can afflict humans as well. T. caviae is known to burrow itself into the skin of the host. It is not always active. In some guinea pigs, the mite can remain dormant and may surface when the animal is weaker such as at times of sickness or poor nutrition.
When active, it causes an itch that is so intense at times that you may observe your pets throwing fits as if they’re having seizures. You may also see guinea pigs scratching their bodies to the point of creating open wounds, which then opens them up to risks of secondary infections. These mites cause redness and papules, commonly found around the head, shoulders, on the back and around the flanks of your pets’ body.
In a way c.caviae are easier to detect because the mite lives on the hair of the host animal. In guinea pigs, it is often found on the hairs in the rump area. This mite is also transmitted by direct contact. Just like the t.caviae, it causes itching, scratching, hair loss, and redness.