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Lice infestation, also called pediculosis, is a common ectoparasitic health issue in guinea pigs. Guinea pigs infested with lice infestation often only show symptoms of illness when they are under stress. When the guinea pig is stressed, the infestation can flare up, causing distress and discomfort to the guinea pig.
Lice are commonly seen around the neck and ears in guinea pigs. Apart from causing uneasiness and irritation to the guinea pig, lice infestation can also lead to loss of blood and subsequent anemia. Hence, lice infestation should be avoided and if it is present then proper steps should be taken to control and prevent reinfestation.
Lice and their eggs (nits) may be seen on the skin and hair of the infested guinea pigs with a magnifying glass. Other signs and symptoms include:
Guinea pigs catch lice from other guinea pigs or from objects that are contaminated, such as bedding.
The physical symptoms of itching, inflammation of the skin, and restlessness are enough to suspect lice infestation. You may be able to make an initial diagnosis using a common magnifying glass that is made for the purpose of lice detection. These magnifiers can be bought from most pharmacies. If it appears that your guinea pig has a parasitic infection, you will still need to see your veterinarian to have a diagnosis confirmed.
The treatment may depend on the actual type of skin parasite that is affecting your guinea pig, so it is important that your veterinarian is able to take a skin scraping from your pet in order to identify whether it is actually adult lice or lice eggs on your guinea pig’s skin and hair.
Small, wingless insects that live as parasites on humans and some animals
A condition of the blood in which normal red blood cell counts or hemoglobin are lacking.