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Mite Infestations in Guinea Pigs

Mites exist naturally on a guinea pig’s skin, without bothering the animal in the least. However, certain conditions can cause the number of mites to increase drastically, causing symptoms. Below, a Southeast Denver veterinarian tells you more.

What Causes Mite Infestations?

Guinea pigs that are under stress or that have compromised immune systems are at risk for having their mite numbers increase. Unsanitary living conditions can also contribute. In addition, contact with another guinea pig that has a mite infestation or contact with contaminated bedding, toys, food and water dishes, or other objects can cause mite numbers to increase.

What are the Symptoms?

Most pigs will exhibit itching and scratching that leads to hair loss or bald patches. Red, inflamed skin or dry, crusty patches are other common signs. In severe infestation cases, a pig might lose weight and become weak. Plus, inflamed areas of the skin can become infected more easily, leading to further complications. If you notice any of these symptoms in your pig, don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian. Quick treatment is of the utmost importance!

How are Mites Treated in Guinea Pigs?

Your vet will use a physical exam and skin scrape tests to confirm the mite diagnosis. In most cases, powders or sprays will be prescribed to treat the mites. These are applied directly to your pig’s skin, so make sure you’re aware of the proper administration procedure. For more serious cases, injections can be given to return the mites to normal numbers and treat your pig’s skin inflammation.

Can I Prevent Mite Infestations in My Pig?

While you can’t always prevent a compromised immune system or contact with other infected materials, you can take steps to reduce the risk of a mite infestation greatly. First, keep your guinea pig’s cage and living environment clean and sanitary at all times, keeping a regular schedule to ensure maximum cleanliness. Also do your part to keep your pig’s stress levels at a minimum. Loud noises, high traffic, other pets, and environmental disturbances can all induce stress, so take steps to eliminate these.

Your Southeast Denver veterinarian can tell you more about mite infestations in guinea pigs and how to keep your pet in great health. Contact the clinic today!

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