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View Full Version : Scratching Very small, brown, bugs on guinea pig. Lice? Fleas? Treatment? Help!



MarianaMoo
08-08-16, 11:50 am
Hello! I have recently joined Guinea Pig Cages because I have a problem with my piggy.

My guinea pig has been scratching himself very occasionally for about a month now. At first, I didn't think anything of it but recently it has become more severe. He mainly scratches his back and sides, although I see him scratch his ears sometimes. He is also loosing hair on his lower back/rump. The hair on his face and between his ears is very thick yet beyond this area it is thinning out and skin is starting to become exposed. (See Images Attached)

I have bathed him with standard PetSmart small animal shampoo but baths do not seem to help. In fact, the tiny brown dots are even more visible when he is wet. When he is dry, I am able to comb out very small, almost microscopic brown dots. I never see the dots actually moving within his fur, although when I comb them out some will jump back into him, right off the comb. Additionally, the parasites also seem to be attached to his fur, not on his skin. (See Images Attached)

From my online research I have concluded he could have either fleas or lice- I am just not sure which.

I would really appreciate it if some more experienced guinea pig owners would take a look at the pictures attached and help me figure out what nasty bug is living on him. I would also greatly appreciate any treatment advice for either of these parasites (I am able to take him to the vet if absolutely necessary, but I'd rather not if at-home treatment is an option-- all of the vets near me cost $50-60 just for seeing him, no medication included).

Iv'e included pictures of his hair loss, a picture of the comb with a larger brown dot on it, and a picture of all of the small brown things I have combed out of him.

Thank you!

Starrats
08-08-16, 12:04 pm
I can't really see anything on those pictures, but if they jump than they are probably fleas, you should go to the vet so he/she can check and give you the right medication. :)

LittleSqueakers
08-08-16, 01:22 pm
The picture you took looks like it might just be dandruff to me, but then it's kind of hard to tell since the parasites are so small. But if you say they are actively jumping then they are most likely fleas. My vet gave me a dosage for cat Revolution to put on Tribble once when he had mites, and it works well for fleas too. Just don't use any kind of flea bath or powder on him, those are often toxic to guinea pigs.

bpatters
08-08-16, 01:45 pm
Fleas are usually pretty dark. The "dirt" they leave behind is usually dried blood, so if you can find some small dark unmoving specks and put a little water on them, you may be able to tell. If it's flea dirt, the water will turn reddish.

Actually, it looks more like lice nits to me, particularly if they're stuck to the hair shaft. See https://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/threads/111160-How-to-treat-for-mites -- the treatment is the same for lice as for mites. It'll take at least three treatments, seven days apart, to hit all the life cycles of either lice or mites.

MarianaMoo
08-08-16, 04:55 pm
Fleas are usually pretty dark. The "dirt" they leave behind is usually dried blood, so if you can find some small dark unmoving specks and put a little water on them, you may be able to tell. If it's flea dirt, the water will turn reddish.

Actually, it looks more like lice nits to me, particularly if they're stuck to the hair shaft. See https://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/threads/111160-How-to-treat-for-mites -- the treatment is the same for lice as for mites. It'll take at least three treatments, seven days apart, to hit all the life cycles of either lice or mites.

I was unable to find any dark, unmoving specks of dirt on his skin. But I can confirm that they do jump around, at least when poked and prodded with a tooth pick. They don't walk though, only hop to new places. They do not seem to jump around while on his fur.

Does this mean he has lice? If so is Ivermectin the safest treatment option? Is imidacloprid safe also? (Read on http://www.guinealynx.info/lice.html)

Thanks so much for the help!

bpatters
08-08-16, 05:13 pm
Well, lice don't usually hop. And fleas hop so high they go all over the place, sometimes a foot or more away from the animal. So I don't know what you've got. Can you take a really close-up picture and post it?

We usually recommend ivermectin because it's safe, cheap, and can be done without a vet visit. You can't use imidacloprid (Advantage) unless you can find the original Advantage. Advantage II is not safe for guinea pigs.

MarianaMoo
08-08-16, 05:48 pm
These are the closest pictures that I think I can get. It might not be visible in the pictures, but they seem to have a triangle shape to them. My apoligies if the pictures are a little blurry, it's very hard to get pictures of things this small :)

Ok, so ivermectin it is. But fleas or lice, it should work to get rid of whatever is on my piggy, right? Unless it isn't fleas or lice at all.

bpatters
08-08-16, 07:17 pm
Do they crawl?

MarianaMoo
08-08-16, 07:54 pm
No, they do not.

bpatters
08-08-16, 08:05 pm
Do you have to pull them out of the hair, or do they just fall out?

MarianaMoo
08-08-16, 08:11 pm
I have to pull them out. I have not seen any just fall.

bpatters
08-08-16, 08:20 pm
Then they're nits -- louse eggs, and the crawling things are lice. You can treat them according to that link I gave you.

MarianaMoo
08-08-16, 08:32 pm
k, great! Thank you so much for your help! I never thought that this problem would be resolved in one day. You have been extremely helpful, thanks again!! :-):-)

MarianaMoo
08-08-16, 08:49 pm
One more thing: is this the correct medication?

https://www.amazon.com/Durvet-Ivermectin-Ermectin-Pour-Cattle/dp/B00JAL3AAW?ref_=nav_ya_signin&

I just want to make sure before I treat my guinea pig with it.

bpatters
08-08-16, 08:56 pm
Yep, that's it.