Hay Mites on Guinea Pigs – Detecting and Treating a Mite Infection

Guinea pigs are prone to a range of parasitic infections. One such infection is caused by mites, which are tiny arachnids that live on the skin and find it very easy to set up home there. Mites aren’t usually harmful to guinea pigs, but they can cause redness and irritation on their skin, sometimes with secondary bacterial infections as a result. Here’s more about mites in guinea pigs, their treatment, and prevention measures you can take.

hay mites guinea pigs

#1: What Are Hay Mites in Guinea Pigs?

Hay Mites are microscopic arthropods that reside on the host’s skin and are linked to ticks and spiders. They feed on their host’s skin cells and blood, causing extreme itching and redness in some cases. 

Mite infestations in guinea pigs are typically caused by Cheyletiella or Hoplopsyllus mites. Mites are external parasites that rarely cause serious harm. While many guinea pig diseases are caused by bacteria, mites are an arthropod-induced infection.

#2: Signs of Mites in Guinea Pigs

Mites in guinea pigs are usually easy to detect since they cause irritation and itching, as well as visible mites on the skin. Mites tend to congregate around the pig’s feet and lower abdomen, and their existence can be identified by the pig scratching or rubbing the affected areas of skin. 

There may also be small discolored areas near the area as a result of the pig scratching their skin open. By placing a UV light on the pig, mites can be discovered in the places where they live. Mites can be seen under UV light due to the substance they produce.

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#3: Detecting and Diagnosing Mite Infection

If your guinea pig has skin irritation, redness, or itching, you should have the mites examined. A vet will take a scraping of the skin and test it for mites. The number of mites in the sample determines the species, and a genetic test determines the species. 

hay mites

A significant number of mites in the scraping indicates a mite infestation, and a genetic test can identify the species. Treatment for mites is the same regardless of species, though dosage and duration may vary.

#4: Treating Mites in Guinea Pigs

If your pig’s skin sample reveals mites, the vet will prescribe ivermectin. Ivermectin is a pesticide that kills mites, ticks, and some worms. Ivermectin is administered orally, and because of their smaller body weight, guinea pigs receive a larger dose than other mammals. Ivermectin is normally administered once a week for 3 to 4 weeks, or until there is no itching or irritation for 2 weeks. There are also a number of different shampoos which are avaliable

#5: Mite Prevention for Guinea Pigs

Keeping your guinea pig’s habitat clean is the greatest approach to keep mites at bay. Mites prefer dark and unclean environments, so clean and disinfect your cavy’s cage, bedding, and toys. Weekly clean and change your pig’s bedding and cage, and every few weeks sanitize everything with a specialist cleaning product. 

Clean the space where your pig resides as often as possible to limit the number of mites in the surroundings. Once a week, use a comb or brush to clean your pig’s hair and look for mites if you see any redness or inflammation on your pig’s skin.

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Mites are easily treated, and their presence can be reduced by maintaining a clean atmosphere. Because guinea pigs are social animals, keeping them in pairs reduces stress, which can make them more prone to mites.