How to treat mites in guinea pigs?

Guinea Pig Mites - How to Detect them

One of the first serious problems we encountered with our piggies was scabies mites. The first warning sign was the fact that they would scratch themselves very often, but at the time we didn’t think much of it. Then one day, as I was petting Chubs I noticed that she had scabs. We took her to the vet right away. 
The vet couldn’t properly diagnose her. She even took a sample of Chubs’s skin to check for bacteria but everything came back clear. Nevertheless, she suggested an antibiotic. We hoped that would solve everything, but nothing happened. It actually got worse. More wounds appeared on her skin and hair started falling out around the affected area. Since the antibiotic obviously wasn’t working, we decided to take things into our own hands. We searched on the internet until we found a forum post that perfectly described  all the symptoms.

To heal our piggy we just needed a medicine called Ivermectine. However, acquiring it turned out to be another challenge as they wouldn’t sell it to us in the pet shop.

 Treating Guinea Pig Mites at Vet's

We went to a different vet (this time we checked if they had experience working with guinea pigs beforehand). He recognized that it, indeed, was guinea pig mites right away and gave her the medicine. We also gave the medicine to all our pigs(3 at the time). It’s important to know that pigs can be infected even if they don’t show any signs. If you have more than one, you have to treat all of them. We went to the vet 3 times. He put the Ivermectine drops behind their ears. For a while it seemed as though they healed.

However, two months later the mites came back. As it turned out that they didn’t receive enough medicine so we had to take them again. We took them to a new vet and explained the situation. She said that the right quantity of Ivermectine should be calculated based on the weight of each of piggy. So they had to measure each one to determine how much medicine each should receive. This time they got injections, and again we had to go repeat the treatment 3 times.

 Alternative to Ivermectine in Treating Guinea Pig Mites 

Our piggies finally healed. We were in the clear! Well…we were until we got our next two pigs a year later. It turns out they were also infected and it spread. This time we found another, even better solution. I was sending out messages to different pet shops asking if they would sell me Ivermectine, one of them replied that Bayer's Advocate is as effective. And unlike with Ivermectin, we had no problems buying it. So, this time we didn’t even have to go to the vet and we managed to save a lot of time and money.

 Are Guinea Pig Mites Dangerous for People 

It happens fairly often with guinea pigs. They can get scabies from mite infested bedding or other guinea pigs. From what we’ve seen most guinea pigs in pet shops are infected. Not all piggies show symptoms immediately. Some just carry the disease and then pass it out to other pigs. Pay attention to your pigs. Notice if they are scratching themselves more than usual. And when petting them gently check them for scabs or bald patches. They usually show up in the area around their neck and ears. And don’t worry about getting them yourself as they don’t infect humans.

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