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Does My Piggy Have Mites?

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Natasha Harmer

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Hi there
We have two indoor piggys, and one of them is all white. I've noticed on her a few times these little dark brown specks that look like dirt all stuck in her fur, mainly around her rear end. A few weeks ago I noticed she had very flaky skin around her rear end too.
I sought advice from a lady who runs a small animal rescue (we're adopting a third piggy from her soon) and she said to treat for mites with a spot-on treatment as well as bath them with a shampoo called Tropiclean Oxy Med which she uses on all her piggys; it soothes flaky/itchy skin. So we did both; we got a spot on treatment from pets at home (can't remember the brand but it's the only one they stock) and we got the shampoo and we bathed them and put the mite treatment on straight after once they'd dried off a bit. This was on Valentine's day (what a romantic valentine's date that was!) so just under a month ago.
I've just done the obligatory weekly cage clean out and thought I'd check the girls over before I put them back in and to my dismay I noticed that the little white one (Agnes) still has the flaky skin and brown specks. The other piggy (Margo) has a dark brown bum so it's difficult to see but it does look as though she's got the same problem still.
They both scratch from time to time like all animals but not excessively, their skin doesn't look sore and they both eat and drink plenty...any ideas?
I've added a couple of photos of Agnes's bum, it isn't the best picture but if you look closely you can see the brown specks and the flaky skin. The skin looks sort of creamy/yellowy white and is in quite thick flakes that are fairly well stuck to her. She made a fuss when I was inspecting her but I guess that's just because no one likes having their bum inspected!
I'd hate to think they've been in discomfort or poorly for all this time, and I don't get why the treatment we used a month ago hasn't cleared it up :(
Any advice would be much appreciated :) the vet we took them to previously (for an unrelated issue) didn't seem to have much of a clue about guinea pigs so I'd rather see if I can get answers from people in the know before we traumatise the girls taking them to the vets again!

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Chief Guinea Pig

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So you know now, we don't recommend treating at home, getting a pet shop product isn't strong enough and it could disguise true symptoms which need seeing a vet. Have you looked at the vet locator on the forum? Only a vet can properly diagnose an illness and provide the correct treatment :)
 

Chief Guinea Pig

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It is hard to see on the photos but one of my pigs has a white bottom and I saw black specs on her fur, and dandruff, so I'd be inclined to say it is lice/mites like my pigs had. Your vet should be able to diagnose this with a tape test :)
 

Critter

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Agree with the tape test. Mites however are not visible to the naked eye. They are the ones that cause itching and open sores, they really are horrible things for piggies to deal with. Most cases of lice however are harmless. It's good to know for sure what you are dealing with.
Guinea Lynx :: Fur Mites
Guinea Lynx :: Mange Mites

I am thinking this is more likely to be lice, but please do get it checked out. If it is mites it's best caught sooner rather than later and is easily resolved with ivermectin injections when caught early.
 

Wiebke

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It sounds rather like fur mites (what you see is rather the egg cases that are stuck to the hair) and not the tiny mites, but as we can only guess, but not diagnose, we would strongly recommend to see a vet and get the appropriate treatment.

Please do not treat on spec with broad spectrum low-dosed shop products that cause more harm than good.

If it is fur/hay mites, also called static lice (from their egg cases), then you are dealing with the most harmless of the guinea pig skin parasites. I would however strongly recommend to get rid of your current batch of hay, as that is what they usually come with.
 
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