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Ear Mites in Guinea Pigs (At Home Treatment, Causes & FAQs)

Tim Rhodes
Written by Tim Rhodes Last Updated: October 8, 2022

If you have a guinea pig, then you might be wondering what those tiny black spots are on their skin.

These are called ear mites, and they’re tiny parasitic creatures that live off the wax and oils in an animal’s ear. While they’re not dangerous to humans, they can cause a lot of irritation and discomfort for your guinea pig.

If you think your pet has ear mites, then it’s important to take them to the vet for treatment. In the meantime, here are some things you should know about ear mites in guinea pigs.

What are ear mites in guinea pigs?

Guinea pigs are susceptible to ear mites, which are tiny parasites that live in the warm, dark environment of the ear canal.

Ear mites feed on the wax and oil that naturally accumulate in the ear, and they can also cause irritation and inflammation.

affected skin

In severe cases, ear mites can lead to a bacterial infection.

If you suspect that your guinea pig has ear mites, it is important to take them to the vet for treatment. Left untreated, ear mites can cause serious health problems for your guinea pig.

What are the different kinds of ear mites in guinea pigs?

There are three types of ear mites that commonly affect guinea pigs: Psoroptes cuniculi, Otodectes cynotis, and Cnemidocoptes mutans.

Psoroptes cuniculi are the most common type of ear mite in guinea pigs, and it is characterized by small, round bumps on the skin. These bumps are usually found on the head and neck, but they can also occur on the legs and body.

Otodectes cynotis is another common type of ear mite, and it is characterized by reddish-brown bumps on the skin. These bumps are usually found on the face, ears, and neck.

Cnemidocoptes mutans is the least common type of ear mite, but it can still be found in guinea pigs. This type of ear mite is characterized by small, white bumps on the skin. These bumps are usually found on the belly, buttocks, and legs.

While all three types of ear mites can be uncomfortable for guinea pigs, Psoroptes cuniculi and Otodectes cynotis are considered to be the most dangerous because they can cause severe irritation and inflammation.

How did my guinea pig get ear mites?

veterinarian diagnose mites

Ear mites are most commonly passed on from other animals, such as cats and dogs, or other infested guinea pigs.

Guinea pig mites can also be passed on through contact with contaminated bedding or cage materials.

If you’ve recently adopted a new guinea pig from a shelter or rescue, there’s a chance they may have come into contact with ear mites at some point.

How can I identify guinea pig mites?

mite bites

Guinea pig ear mites can be identified by their small, black bodies. They are most often found in the guinea pig’s ears, but they can also be found on the skin around the ears.

One of the most obvious signs of mite infestation is intense itchiness. If your guinea pig is scratching their ears frequently, this may be a sign that they have ear mites.

Other signs of ear mites include:

  • Restlessness
  • Shaking their head
  • Rubbing their ears on cage bars or other surfaces
  • Excessive wax buildup in the guinea pigs’ ears
  • Dark brown or black discharge from the guinea pigs ears

If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to take the mite-infected guinea pig to the vet for treatment.

How to treat a mite-infected guinea pig at home?

Thankfully, ear mites are easy to treat with over-the-counter products from your veterinarian.

The first step is to remove any dirt or debris from your guinea pig’s ears with a cotton ball soaked in mineral oil.

Next, apply the recommended ear mite treatment according to the package directions.

Be sure to follow up with regular cleaning and check-ups to ensure the mites are gone for good.

How to prevent ear mites in guinea pigs?

One of the best ways to prevent ear mites in guinea pigs is to keep your guinea pigs healthy and free of stress. A healthy immune system will help fight off ear mites and other infections.

Another way to prevent ear mites is to keep their cage clean. Mites love to hide in dirty bedding and will quickly spread from one animal to another.

Be sure to clean the cage weekly and spot-clean it as needed. In addition, consider using dust-free bedding such as Carefresh.

small insect parasites

Mites thrive in dirty, crowded conditions. By providing your guinea pigs with a clean cage and plenty of space to exercise, you can help reduce their stress levels and make them less susceptible to mite infestations.

Be sure to quarantine any new guinea pigs before introducing them to your existing colony. Mites can quickly spread from one animal to another, so it’s important to take precautions when adding new pets to your home.

Finally, don’t forget to get your guinea pig regularly checked by a vet. A simple ear swab can help identify mites early on before they have a chance to cause serious problems.

Can you get ear mites from an infected guinea pig?

Humans can contract ear mites from guinea pigs if they come into contact with the parasite.

Ear mites are most commonly transmitted through close contact with an infected animal, such as petting or holding a guinea pig.

mite egg

It is also possible to contract ear mites from contaminated bedding or cages.

The best way to prevent the spread of ear mites is to practice good hygiene and avoid sharing personal items with an infected animal.

What are other types of guinea pig mites?

Besides ear mites, there are several other types of mites that can infest guinea pigs:

Sarcoptic mange mites: These mites burrow into the guinea pig’s skin, causing intense itching and hair loss. If left untreated, sarcoptic mange mites can cause a secondary bacterial skin infection, and even be fatal.

Demodectic mange mites: These mites live in the hair follicles and are not contagious to other animals. Demodectic mange usually only affects guinea pigs with a weakened immune system.

Chiggers: These mites are found in tall grass and bushes. They can attach to humans or animals that brush against them. Chiggers cause intense itching and can be difficult to remove.

Scabies: Scabies is a type of mite that infests humans. It is highly contagious and can be passed to guinea pigs through close contact. Scabies causes intense itching, red bumps, and blisters.

The most common fur mites in guinea pigs are Cheyletiella and Listrophorus. These fur mites cause irritation, dandruff, and itching. They are not dangerous but can be contagious to other animals.

These are some of the most common types of guinea pig mites. If you think your guinea pig has mites, it’s important to take them to the vet for treatment.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Ear mites can be a serious problem for guinea pigs, but with proper treatment, they can be quickly eliminated. Here are some frequently asked questions about ear mites in guinea pigs:

How do I know if my guinea pig has ear mites?

The best way to tell if your guinea pig has ear mites is to take them to the vet for a check-up. A simple ear swab can confirm the presence of mites.

Can I treat my guinea pig’s ear mites at home?

You can try to treat your guinea pig ear mites at home, but it’s always best to consult a vet first.

How to check my guinea pig’s hair for mites?

Check your guinea pig’s hair for mites by looking for small, white bugs crawling on their fur. You may also see redness, irritation, or bald spots. If you think your guinea pig has mites, take them to the vet for treatment.

guinea pigs ears

Can ear mites cause my guinea pig to go deaf?

Ear mites can cause hearing loss in guinea pigs if they are not treated. If you think your guinea pig has ear mites, take them to the vet for treatment.

What is the life cycle of an ear mite?

Ear mites go through three stages in their life cycle: egg, larva, and adult. The adult mites live on the host animal, where they feed on blood and skin debris. The female mites lay eggs in the ear canal, which hatch into larvae. The larvae mature into adults and the cycle begins again.

Are ear mites contagious to other animals?

Ear mites are highly contagious and can be passed from one animal to another very easily.

How can I prevent my guinea pig from getting ear mites?

The best way to prevent your guinea pig from getting ear mites is to practice good hygiene and avoid sharing personal items with an infected animal. You should also clean your guinea pig’s cage regularly.

These are some frequently asked questions about guinea pig ear mites. If you have any other questions, or if you think your guinea pig has ear mites, please consult a vet.

Final thoughts

Guinea pigs are susceptible to several types of mites, including ear mites, sarcoptic mange mites, demodectic mange mites, chiggers, and scabies.

Ear mites are the most common type of mite in guinea pigs, and they can cause irritation, itching, and even hearing loss if they are not treated.

mites treated

Mites can be difficult to remove, so it’s always best to consult a vet if you think your guinea pig has mites.

You can also prevent your guinea pig from getting mites by practicing good hygiene and cleaning their cage regularly.

References:

Author

Tim Rhodes
Tim Rhodes

Hi there! My name is Tim Rhodes and I'm a guinea pig enthusiast through thick and thin. My mission is to teach others useful tips and tricks about these cute creatures. When I'm not writing, I enjoy kickboxing and work as an animal trainer.

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Last update on 2022-11-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API