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Ringworm infection is a common infection in guinea pigs. Contrary to its name, this infection is not due to a parasitic worm, but to a microsporum species of fungus, typically the Trichophyton mentagrophytes fungus, also clinically referred to as ringworm. The ringworm infection is characterized by bald patches that commonly start at the head. Patches may first appear on the face around the eyes, nose and ears, and from there the infection can spread to the back. A guinea pig can acquire ringworm infection from another guinea pig or from contaminated objects such as bedding.
Ringworm infection will usually resolve on its own if you are taking good care of your guinea pig and keeping its cage or tank clean and sanitary. However, ringworm is highly contagious to humans and other animals. Therefore, caution is essential while handling an infected guinea pig.
The primary sign of ringworm infection is bald patches, usually starting at the head. Irritation and itching may also be seen in infected guinea pigs. The bald patches will generally have crusty, flaky, red patches within them; when these patches appear on the face, it is usually around the eyes, nose, and ears.
Ringworm infection is a fungal disease caused mostly by the fungus Trichophyton mentagrophytes, and to a lesser extent by the fungi belonging to the microsporum species. It is highly communicable and can be acquired through contact with an infected guinea pig. Contaminated objects, such as bedding, are another source of ringworm infection
Your veterinarian can make an initial diagnosis of ringworm infection by visually examining the red patches on the guinea pig's skin. The diagnostic tools used for diagnosis include ultraviolet light, which will show details of the skin infection, and sample skin scrapings taken for laboratory analysis.