MITES AND PIGGIES
Parasites can be a serious issue for piggies and one that can be challenging to detect. How familiar are you with the different types of parasites, signs to look for if they are present on your piggie, how to treat, and what issues they can cause in your furry potatoes? In today’s post, we are going to take a deeper dive into mites and how they impact piggies specifically.
Photo Credit: guineapiggles
TYPES of MITES:
• Static Fur Mites (are on the hair follicles)
o These mites are relatively harmless.
o You can see them with the naked eye.
o These mites can come in the hay we feed our piggies or be passed along from an infected piggie when in a herd setting and living in close quarters.
o These mites can be transferred from infected bedding also. So if you use fleece, it’s important to properly clean, so as to not risk infection to your other piggies.
o They lay their eggs on the hair shaft and look like dust/dandruff and are light in color, thus sometimes referred to as “walking dandruff”.
• Sarcoptic Mites (burrow under the skin) – these are the kind of mites that cause sarcoptic mange, which can be incredibly painful to a piggie
o These mites are microscopic and bury under the skin, so you will not be able to “see” them.
o They are usually passed from one infected pig to another.
o This is the more dangerous type of mite for your piggie to get.
SIGNS of MITES:
• Static Fur Mites –
o There will appear to be “dust” on your piggie.
▪ Sometimes you may notice a “V” shape on your piggies rump, this is from them biting themselves to scratch the area where the mites are. If you see a “V” on your piggies lower back/rump, it would be best to have them seen by an exotic vet.
Photo Credit: Squidgypigs
• Sarcoptic Mites –
o Bald patches/hair loss/yellow and crusty looking skin
o SCRATCHING/BITING/SORES (remember – these mites are incredibly painful and your piggie will bite, scratch, anything to make the pain of the burrowing mites stop)
o Weight loss can occur, which leads to lethargy.
o In extreme cases, this type of mite can cause seizures and death in piggies.
Photo Credit: Guinea Pig Connection
ADVICE on PREVENTION/TREATMENT:
First off, it’s always a good idea to have your piggie seen by an exotic vet on an annual basis, the same way we see a doctor yearly! At this annual check-in, you should have your vet evaluate your piggie for signs of parasites, so you can treat them, as soon as you find them.
The below advice on treatments is based on my own experience with my exotic vet. These have been the most effective and beneficial in the case of my piggies. There may be others who have different suggestions and that is ok! Most importantly, is identifying when your piggie may have mites and seeking assistance and treatment and preventing the spread to other piggies.
• Static Fur Mites:
o Do not buy cheap hay.
o Revolution (as prescribed by an exotic vet) is best in getting rid of static fur mites.
o Some people will also treat mites with Ivermectin, but it requires more doses than using Revolution does.
• Sarcoptic Mites:
o Revolution and Advantix Multi (as prescribed by an exotic vet) are best in getting rid of sarcoptic mites
o Some people will also treat these mites with Ivermectin, but it requires more doses than using Advantix Multi.
***of note – Advantix and Advantage are not good for pregnant or nursing piggies, discuss using Revolution as an alternative when this may be the case.
Good News! The parasites your piggie can get will not transfer to you or to other pets you have in the home! So! What are the key take-away’s from this post?
1. Make sure your piggie is being seen by an exotic vet for an annual check-up.
2. Keep an eye out for signs of mites, early prevention is always best.
3. If you suspect your piggie may have mites, get them in to an exotic vet ASAP and start properly cleaning your piggie’s area to try and stop the spread of parasites.
Photo Credit: photon_de