Lice and Your Guinea Pig

Guinea Pigs

Before you start itching and scratching, there are specific lice for each species. So even if your guinea pig has lice, they won’t affect you. You cannot catch lice from your guinea pig.

If you observe your guinea pig scratching excessively, a lice infestation (pediculosis) may be the cause.

Do not purchase over the counter lice medication, whether at the pet shop or the pharmacy as the medications may be toxic to your pet. The best treatment is an immediate visit to your veterinarian, preferably one is familiar with guinea pigs. The vet will first determine the cause of the itching. If it is due to lice, the vet will treat your pig with medications that will get rid of them without harming your pet.

Before returning your guinea pig to his/her enclosure, the environment must be attended to. Discard any food, bedding or items that can’t be cleaned. Thoroughly wash the cage, dishes and toys using a mild dish detergent. Be sure to rinse all items well and dry them completely before putting them back in the cage.

Guinea pigs can become lice-infested from any new items you purchase. Placing any items you’re not sure about in the freezer, including new bedding and food, for 24 hours will kill any lice or mites that may have been inadvertently brought into the house.

The eggs of lice (nits) like to hide behind your pig’s ears. Check back there regularly to make sure there is no repeat infestation.

Keeping the cage clean, freezing bedding, food and toys before giving them to your guinea pig, will help keep lice away.

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