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Parasitic Problems

There are 3 main types of parasites that can cause skin problems for guinea:

  1. Mange mites
  2. Static Lice
  3. Running lice

Burrowing Mites / Mange Mites

Trixicarus Caviae is a tiny mite that can burrow under your guineas's skin and cause intense itching.  Look carefully, you may see small bumps just under the skin in the area of infestation. These are the mites that have burrowed into the skin and will cause your guinea to scratch himself.  Hair around the infested area is usually thinning, and may be broken off half way down the hair shaft.  Guineas bite and scratch themselves causing open sores that can become infected, so prompt treatment is required.

Treatment is with Ivermectin - usually two applications 10 days apart will sort the problem out. Sometimes a third dose is required if the infestation is bad.  Where there is intense scratching, Ivermectin usually starts working within 24 hours as the mites start to die off. Do get your guinea to the Vet for treatment ASAP as mites can kill if left untreated.  

Most Vets now recommend Xeno 50 or Xeno 450 which is a "spot-on" product rather than injections which can be very painful for guineas. Guineas often carry mites with no symptoms, but when they get stressed (moving to a new home, pregnancy, illness, old age etc) the mites can start breeding and causing problems.

Ivermectin will only work on parasites that are blood suckers (ie mange mites and not lice).  

Where mites are present, there is often a lot of skin debris and scabbing on the skin. To remove this, use the Manuka & Neem Shampoo but always leave at least 48 hours in between using Ivermectin and shampooing your guinea.

Do bear in mind that guineas often get fungal and parasitic problems at the same time, so if in doubt treat for both.

Static Lice

Static lice are actually tiny mites that feed off skin debris and adhere to the outer half of the hair shaft, often around the rump.  They often come in with hay - hence they are sometimes known as hay mites.  Eggs are also laid on the hair shaft and look like small dust particles on a light-coloured pig.  These are the least damaging of the parasites.

Lice 'n' Easy Shampoo can help guineas with external parasites to feel more comfortable as they may cause irritation if left untreated.

Running Lice

Like static lice, running lice, feed off skin debris and can be seen moving about in your guinea's hair, usually at the bottom of the hair on the skin surface.  They are about 1mm long and look like tiny worms wriggling around.  Their eggs are laid at the base of the hair, near the skin and look like small specks of dust.

Lice 'n' Easy Shampoo can help guineas with external parasites to feel more comfortable as they may cause irritation if left untreated.