Mites - Guinea Pigs

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Introduction

Both burrowing and fur mites are very common in the guinea pig.

Burrowing Mites

Trixacarus caviae infestation

Trixacarus caviae also known as – Guinea Pig Scabies — Mange is the most common mite in guinea pigs.

Signalment

Any guinea pig may be affected, however the mites may remain latent for several months, with stress or underlying disease precipitating the development of clinical signs. Transmission occurs via direct contact or transfer from fomites.

Clinical Signs

Intense pruritus, which can cause convulsions when handled is the main presenting sign. Alopecia, scaling, hyperkeratosis and severe dermatitis is seen, over the shoulders, neck and inner thighs in particular. Secondary infection may occur.

Diagnosis

Deep skin-scrapings (to the level of capillary ooze) and microscopic examination for identification of the mite.

Treatment

Weekly Ivermectin treatment for 3 for weeks. This may not be effective.

The environment should be thoroughly disinfected and bedding replaced. Any predisposing stresses or diseases should be identified and treated.

Fur Mites

Chirodiscoides caviae is the main species that affects guinea pigs. It is an elongated ovoid mite that lives in the fur.

Clinical Signs

Infection is normally asymptomatic unless there is a heavy infestation. The clinical signs associated with a heavy infestation include pruritus, alopecia and excoriation, particularly over the trunk. As the mite is a fur mite, the skin is generally unaffected unless damaged by self trauma.

Diagnosis

Mites are easily identified following examination of hair plucks.

Treatment

Weekly Ivermectin treatment for 3 for weeks.

References

Bond, Hendricks, Loeffler (2009) Veterinary Dermatology RVC Intergrated BVetMed Course, Royal Veterinary College

Merck & Co (2009) The Merck Veterinary Manual (Ninth Edition), Merial




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