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Parasites Lice


Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Jun 6, 2012
Hi all,
As some of you may remember I had to re-home 2 of my baby guinea pigs because my 2 girls came to me pregnant and I only kept one of the babies. I keep in touch with the people who adopted my babies and I got an e-mail tonight that they think they've found lice on her. Well this freaked me out and I went and very carefully checked through all three of my piggies and I think they all have lice as well - though I haven't been noticing too much scratching or anything unusual going on. I called the vet tonight and she said to come in tomorrow and she would check them out and treat them. My question is how did my piggies get the lice? We have no other pets and I'm pretty sure that they didn't come to me this way back in April when I got them.
Just curious if any of you have any answers for me. Thanks!

PS - Just thinking about the lice makes me itch something terrible - even though I know that they aren't transmitted to humans!
When I rescued my Sheldon he had lice. It wasn't a bad infestation, though. I used Revolution, 2 treatments took care of it just fine. I have no idea how he got it. Lice don't last long without a host. Unless your girls have come into contact with other pigs lately then they probably did have it when you got them. I know what you mean about feeling itchy. I felt all crawly when Sheldon had it and I felt so bad for him. Good luck with everything!
I should also add that I use fleece bedding and that they haven't been around any other guinea pigs since the beginning of April.
A lice infestation can "lie low" for a while before the population gets large enough to be noticeable, but I don't know why that's so. My guess is that they've had them all along, and they're just now bad enough to be seen.
That's terrible! I feel like such a terrible piggy-mom for not having noticed them sooner! At least there hasn't been any hair loss or anything that I can tell. And they still wheek happily for their food :) I had to look super hard to find the lice too. I can't tell whether or not my Prim has them though, because she is mostly white except for a patch of orange on her head.
Just an update on my girls. I took all three of them in today to the vet. She had to give Lucy and Rue a little shave, but then treated them with Revolution. I have to do three more treatments at home, every other week. Here's hoping that it works!
Do you have any wooden items in the cage? If you do, make sure you repeatedly dip them in boiling water (careful not to burn yourself!), because apparently the lice can make a home in fresh open spots, like where the piggies chew on them. Then, if they brush up against the wood: BAM, re-infested!

Also, Revolution is a godsend. When my piggies brought their lice home from the shelter, and we noticed it the next day, two days after the first application you couldn't see the lice on them! I bet it will work great on your piggies!

Oh, also, it's possible that the hay they were eating had the lice in it. Which is a pain, but it's still possible.

Edited by bpatters: @KittyKrochet , what you're describing is the cleaning routine for fungus, not lice. There's no need to throw things away because of a lice infestation. Lice can't live off of a mammal host, so they don't come from hay.
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Thanks KittyKrochet! I actually ended up completely cleaning their pigloos, throwing out their wooden tunnel (I'll just make another one out of cardboard for them), washed everything, upended the cage, scrubbed the shower curtain liner I keep under the fleece, vacuumed the whole room and then put everything back together again. Whoo! I was tired after all that!

You say hay could have had the lice in it? I didn't know that! That would be a pain. I wonder if I should just throw out the rest of that bag then and get a new bag? What do you think would be best?
Unless your bag of hay came into direct contact with your pigs I think you're fine!
I dealt with lice a little while ago. We did one dose of revolution, washed all fleece on hot and used a light bleach solution on the coroplast (followed by a natural wash to get the bleach off). Then we gave them a couple baths and still no lice back...yay!! I'm not sure where ours got them either since they haven't been around other pigs and I got one of them in November and the other in January, and I can't imagine that I missed seeing them until May. I didn't throw out my hay and I haven't noticed more, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed they don't come back. They are yucky! And my skin is crawling now too :) Good luck!!
@mjlesy, it's not at all necessary to do such a thorough cage cleaning for lice. Just a regular cage cleaning will do fine, and you don't need to throw any hideys away. All of that is done for a fungus infection, not for lice.

And lice can't live long off of a warm-blooded host, so they don't come from hay, which has been stored for months, even up to a year or so, before you even get it.
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