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Advice About Lice

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Drezella

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Hi,

I took my boys to vets the other day as they were twitching and jumping around, and scratching more than usual. The vet identified that they have lice. I took some Beaphar ivermectin (flea/parasite/lice) drops with me to ask whether they would be suitable to treat them with, or use in the future as a preventative measure. The vet said that they were suitable to treat the lice as she would have prescribed me a practically identical product to treat them. She said that there are stronger doses of ivermectin available and that my drops aren't as strong as the ones that the surgery provides, but that they should still do the job. She applied two pipettes of ivermectin drops to each guinea pig according to their weight on 25th Feb. Since then the boys have still been scratching.

Yesterday the 28th Feb I wiped each of my boys down with a pet grooming wipe to remove the loose hairs that they've been shedding, then I got some more ivermectin drops which I poured out onto a plate, and used a brush to brush the solution through their coats to try to help ease their itching. (I don't know whether I should have done that or not, but I just wanted to help them.) They've not had any adverse reactions and their coats are completely dry and scent free now. The vet said to apply more ivermectin drops a month from now as directed on the packet, so I'll be ordering another packet soon to re-apply a month from now.

I'm just wondering how long do the drops take to kill off the lice as my boys are still twitching occasionally and scratching? The boys have shown some signs of improvement for instance Rohan hasn't nipped at all today. He even jumped up on my knee yesterday after I'd brushed the ivermectin solution through his coat, and he let me pick him up, so he must be feeling a bit more comfortable. But both of them are definitely still itchy and sensitive. I change the puppy pads that they sleep on two to three times daily, and I change their fleece bedding every three to four days and replace all their hay etc. I just want to know whether there is anything else that I should be doing to try and get rid of the lice, or anything else that I can do to ease their itching, I hate seeing them suffering. :(

Thanks for any advice. :D
 
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Elwickcavies

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Ivermectin should kill off the lice pretty quickly, but it doesn't kill off any eggs they may have laid. When these hatch out, they take about a week to reach maturity, when they too can lay eggs. In order to get them all you need to repeat the treament on a weekly basis for at least two weeks, maybe even three. Another option is to bath them with an antiparasitic shampoo with the same weekly schedule for 2-3 weeks. Many people like Lice n Easy from Gorgeous Guineas, or Lyclear shampoo (which is a human head lice product) is also effective.

You should also give their living quarters a really good deep clean as the lice can hide out in there and re-infest after the treatment. I use a steam cleaner to do mine but you can use a antiparasitic spray (I think Johnsons do one for cages) or a vet disinfectant like F10, which kills bacteria and fungal spores too. Hopefully that will do the trick and they will be back to their old selves in no time.

Occasionally, piggies can have a fungal infection at the same time as a parasitic one so it may be worth getting that angle checked out by the vet, especially of the skin is flaky and you can pull hair out with a gentle tug. My recommendation for fungal infections is to use Imaverol which non-prescription and is available on the internet (cheaper than getting it from your vet). You dilute as stated on the bottle and then dip the pigs thoroughly, taking care around the eyes (you can dab it on those areas with some cotton wool or a soft brush) and then you don't wash it off, but let them dry naturally. It's very gentle and works extremely well. Again you have to repeat weekly for about 3 weeks for a full treatment.

I hope that's helped and that they are itch free very soon!
 

Drezella

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Thanks very much :) The boys are on fleece bedding, so I've been changing the fleece and their fabric beds about every three days. Will washing the fabrics kill the lice off or do I need to do anything else? They have puppy pads that they sleep on inside of their beds because they wee and poo everywhere, so those are changed 2 - 3 times per day. As for cage disinfectants I use Beaphar Deep Clean disinfectant, will that be effective against the lice? It says on the bottle that it kills bacteria, viruses and fungi. Also Can the lice live in the hay? I've been changing that every 2 - 3 days just in case, but I could change it more frequently if needed. (I heard that lice/mites etc rarely leave the host because they can't survive without a guinea pig host, is that true?)

I've just ordered some more Beaphar ivermectin anti-parasite drops and also some anti-mange spray that contains ivermectin, as that can be applied using cotton wool buds onto their skin alongside the drops or as a preventative spray for future use. Here's hoping we kill off the little devils soon. :gd:
 
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Elwickcavies

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As long as you wash the fleeces on a high temp that should be OK. It's likely that the lice came in on the hay, so it's worth getting a fresh bag if you can. Everything else you're doing looks good! x
 

Goth Mummy

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@Elwickcavies I thought that ivermectin killed mites, but that it was debateable as to whether it killed off lice? If it has now been proven that it kills lice, I would be absolutely thrilled as my new boys who arrived on Saturday have lice (I have tape-tested them and am pretty sure that's what I am seeing) and I have already treated them with ivermectin on Saturday, today is Lice Treatment Bath Day which I'm sure they are going to be thrilled about ;) and if that is not necessary then that is great news!
 

rosie and bramble

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I was going to say that too @Goth Mummy as ivermectin only kills blood sucking parasites. If you have running lice then you need lice and easy from Gorgeous Guineas as they will not be affected by the ivermectin.

If it is in fact mites then Beaphar is not correctly dosed and is not strong enough to kill parasites x
 

AuntyC

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I keep a strong magnifying glass for similar reasons! The leaflet that came in my box of Xeno 450 (spot-on Ivermectin) says " ivermectin is used in many species for the control of mites, roundworms and lice". I do routine monthly Xeno treatment anyway, but will back up with a Lice n Easy bath 48hrs before or after if I find running lice. Horrid things, make my skin crawl! It's amazing what will live on our piggies despite our best efforts to keep them clean and tidy.
 

Elwickcavies

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Static lice are the ones that are unaffected by ivermectin and you need a shampoo for (which also works for other lice). Running lice are bloodsucking so ivermectin works on them. Mites burrow under the skin, so a spot on treatment isn't as good and injections of ivermectin are recommended.
 

Drezella

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The vet said that the ivermectin will work on the lice, and will also treat mites and other parasites, it also says that on the treatment box as well. However, as lice aren't blood suckers the ivermectin must be applied topically to the skin and hair where the lice are, and not injected into the bloodstream like it would be to treat mites.

I've also heard that lice and mites cannot live in the hay as they need a living host at all times to live as they feed off the guinea pigs bodily fluids and blood. I don't know how acurate that is though, but I would imagine that they can't survive for very long if they leave the host as they'll have nothing to eat.

According to the vet, the lice that my boys have are the tiny ones, not the ones that you can see running around. I'm going to bathe them tonight, do another full deep cage clean and apply another round of ivermectin drops onto their skin. I'll keep doing this for the next couple of weeks until they die off. If there's no signs of improvement after a couple of weeks then I'll take them back to the vets.

I might look into getting some of that lice and easy shampoo too, is it expensive?

Thanks for the advice/information everyone. Let's hope my boys are lice free soon. :D
 
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