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Mites on Guinea Pigs (Causes, Prevention, Signs & At Home Treatment)

Tim Rhodes
Written by Tim Rhodes Last Updated: September 4, 2022

Guinea pigs are susceptible to several different types of mites, the most common being the Cheyletiella mite.

Mites are tiny parasitic insects that burrow into the skin of their host, causing irritation, inflammation, and sometimes even secondary infections.

They can be difficult to treat and eliminate, so you have to be vigilant in preventing them from getting a foothold in the first place.

In this article, we’ll discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatment of mites in guinea pigs, as well as how to prevent them from happening in the first place.

What are mites?

Mites are tiny spider-like creatures that typically measure less than 1/50 of an inch (0.5 millimeters) in length. There are thousands of different species of mites, and they can be found in a variety of environments worldwide.

Mites are important members of the ecosystem, and they play a role in decomposing organic matter. Some species of mites also help to pollinate plants.

fur mites

Nevertheless, mites can also be pests, and they are known to infest homes and cause problems for humans and animals.

Mites can also carry disease-causing organisms, such as viruses and bacteria. In order to control mites, it is best to practice good hygiene and keep your home clean.

Vacuuming regularly and using dust mite covers on mattresses and pillows can help to reduce the number of mites in your home.

The most common type of mite in guinea pigs: Cheyletiella mites

Cheyletiella mites are the most common type of mite in guinea pigs. They are tiny, spider-like creatures that feed on the skin and hair of their host.

While they are not known to cause any serious health problems, they can be a nuisance, causing intense itchiness and irritation.

Cheyletiella mites are most commonly spread through direct contact with an infected animal. However, they can also be spread indirectly, through contaminated bedding or grooming supplies.

If you think your guinea pig has cheyletiella mites, it is important to seek treatment from a veterinarian as soon as possible.

The good news is that these mites are relatively easy to treat and eliminate. With prompt and appropriate treatment, your guinea pig will soon be back to his or her usual self.

What are other common types of fur mites in guinea pigs?

guinea pig suffering

There are several other types of fur mites that can infest guinea pigs, including:

  • Sarcoptes scabiei mites: These mites cause a condition known as mange, which is characterized by intense itchiness, hair loss, and skin lesions.
  • Demodex mites: These mites usually live in the hair follicles of their host and generally do not cause any problems. However, in some cases, they can cause hair loss and skin irritation.
  • Ear mites: These mites live in the ear canal and can cause ear infections, inflammation, and intense itchiness.

If you think your guinea pig has any of these types of mites, it is important to seek treatment from a veterinarian

What are the symptoms of mites in guinea pigs?

The most common symptom of mites in guinea pigs is intense itchiness.

Mites cause a lot of irritation, and your guinea pig will likely scratch and bite at his or her skin in an attempt to relieve the itching.

This can lead to raw, irritated patches of skin, which can become infected if they are not treated properly.

Also, take a close look at your guinea pig’s fur. If you see any tiny black dots, these could be mites.

Severe infestations

Other symptoms of mites in guinea pigs include:

  • Loss of fur and bald patches across the guinea pig’s body
  • Red, inflamed skin
  • Scabs and crusts on the guinea pig’s skin
  • Excessive grooming
  • Restlessness
  • Loss of appetite

If you notice any of these symptoms in your guinea pig, it is crucial to take him or her to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

Your vet will be able to confirm whether or not your guinea pig has mites and will recommend the best course of treatment for the mite-infected guinea pig.

Besides examining their fur, the vet can also take skin scrapings from guinea pigs for laboratory analysis.

How are guinea pigs treated for mites?

One of the most commonly used treatments is ivermectin, a medication that is applied to the skin. Ivermectin kills the mites and helps to relieve itching.

Another treatment option is selamectin, which is applied directly to the animal’s fur. Selamectin works by paralyzing the mites, making them unable to feed or reproduce.

veterinarian diagnose mites

There are also plenty of topical treatments that can be used, such as lime sulfur dip and Pyrethrin shampoo.

With proper treatment, a mite-infected guinea pig can quickly recover and return to his or her normal self.

How to treat guinea pig mites at home?

Mite infestations are uncomfortable for guinea pigs and can even lead to death if left untreated. The good news is that there are a few things you can do to treat guinea pig mites at home.

First, it’s necessary to quarantine any affected guinea pigs. This will help to prevent the spread of the mites to healthy animals.

new guinea pig

Next, you’ll need to clean their cage and any bedding materials thoroughly. You can do this by washing everything in hot water or by disinfecting it with bleach.

Once the cage and bedding are clean, you’ll need to treat your guinea pigs with an anti-parasitic medication. This can be done using spot-on treatments, oral medications, or injections.

How did your guinea pig get mites?

mite bites

There are a few ways mites can get on your guinea pig. Sometimes, they can come from other animals, like dogs or cats, or other infested guinea pigs.

Mites can also be brought in on clothing or other objects that have been in contact with an infected animal.

That is why it’s necessary to keep your guinea pig’s habitat clean and sterile. This means regular cleaning and avoiding contact with other animals that could carry mites.

How to prevent guinea pig mites?

The first step is to keep your guinea pig’s cage clean. Mites thrive in dirty environments, so it’s crucial to clean the cage regularly.

Once a week, remove all of the bedding and toys from the cage and wash them in hot water. You should also wipe down the inside of the cage with a vinegar solution.

mite eggs

Another way to prevent mites is to avoid contact with other animals. If you have another pet, such as a cat or dog, make sure they don’t have access to your guinea pig’s cage.

You can treat your guinea pig with an anti-parasitic spot-on treatment. This treatment will kill any mites that are currently on your guinea pig, and will also help to prevent new infestations.

Finally, a veterinarian should check your guinea pig regularly, especially if they are showing any signs of mites.

Can your guinea pig die from mites?

While they are not usually deadly, mites can cause a number of serious health problems if left untreated, and even death in severe cases.

Mites can cause your guinea pig to lose weight, as they feed on their blood. This can lead to anemia, which can be deadly if left untreated.

sarcoptic mites

In some cases, mites will infest the eyes of your guinea pig. If this happens, it can lead to blindness.

Guinea pigs can also develop scabs and bald spots from excessive scratching. In severe cases, this can lead to a bacterial infection that can be fatal.

That is why you need to treat guinea pig mites as soon as you notice them. With early treatment, most guinea pigs will make a full recovery, but if the infestation is left untreated, it can quickly turn deadly.

Can you get mites from your guinea pig?

You can get mites from your guinea pig if you have close contact with an infected animal. Mites can also be transferred from one person to another, so you need to wash your hands after handling an infected guinea pig.

The most common way people contract mites from guinea pigs is by direct contact with an infected animal. The mites can also be transmitted indirectly, for example by coming into contact with contaminated bedding or cage material.

guinea pigs live

If you have a mite infestation in your home, you must take steps to control the spread of the mites. This means thoroughly cleaning all areas where the mites may be present, including bedding, cages, and other surfaces.

You should also wash any clothing or bedding that may have come into contact with an infected guinea pig.

If you have more than one guinea pig, you have to isolate other guinea pigs to prevent the mites from spreading.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

If your guinea pig has mites, it’s necessary to take action to prevent the infestation from spreading. Here are some frequently asked questions about guinea pig mites:

What are Sarcoptic mange mites?

Sarcoptic mange mites are a type of mite that can infest guinea pigs. These mites feed on the skin of their host, usually causing a secondary bacterial skin infection. Sarcoptic mange mites can also be passed to other animals, so it’s important to treat these mange mites as soon as possible.

What is the difference between guinea pig lice and mites?

Guinea pig lice are a type of parasitic insect that feeds on the skin and hair of their host. Lice can cause irritation and itching, but they are not as dangerous as mites.

Will my guinea pig’s hair return to normal after getting mites?

In most cases, once the mites are gone, your guinea pig’s hair will start to grow back. However, in some cases, hair loss may be permanent.

What is the best way to prevent mites?

The best way to prevent mites is to keep your guinea pig’s cage clean and avoid contact with other animals. You can also treat your guinea pig with an anti-parasitic spot-on treatment to help prevent new infestations.

These are just a few of the questions that people often have about guinea pig mites. If you have any other questions, be sure to consult your veterinarian.

Final thoughts

Mites are miniature parasitic creatures that can cause a great deal of discomfort for guinea pigs.

If left untreated, mites can lead to serious health problems, including anemia and weight loss. In severe cases, mites can even be fatal. However, with early treatment, most guinea pigs will make a full recovery.

If you think your guinea pig has mites, take them to the vet as soon as possible. Your vet will be able to diagnose the problem and prescribe the appropriate treatment.




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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