Guinea pigs are prone to a number of parasites, including fleas, lice, mites and ringworm. If your guinea pig is showing signs of itchiness, he might be victim to a flea infestation. Once you have confirmed that this is the case, you can begin treatment with a simple bath or spot treatment medication.
Your guinea pig is susceptible to fleas much like any other furry household pet. If you have other pets -- especially ones who go outside -- it is possible for your guinea pig to obtain fleas through exposure to those pets. If you allow your guinea pig to go outside, the likelihood is higher that your little friend will fall victim to flea infestation. Even if you do not have other pets, wild animals may roam your yard and transmit fleas to your guinea pig.
Symptoms of a flea infestation include increased itchiness, hair loss, crust formation on irritated skin and, in severe cases, anemia. When fleas feed on your pet, they produce flea dirt -- small, dark bits of flea feces -- that builds up in your guinea pig’s fur. Examine the lightest part of your cavy’s fur for fleas or flea dirt. Grab the clumps with a wet paper towel; if the dirt takes on a reddish color when wet, then it is most likely flea dirt.
Give your guinea pig a bath to provide instant relief. Use a shallow bowl with warm water, and a specialized small animal shampoo that kills fleas and their eggs. Massage the shampoo gently and thoroughly into your guinea pig’s skin, and rinse until the fleas and their dirt have been removed. Never use a human shampoo, since it could irritate your guinea pig’s skin.
Ask your pet's vet if he recommends a spot-on treatment for flea removal in small animals. Follow your vet's recommendation and the product’s instructions precisely. Spot-on treatments typically serve as both treatment and prevention.
Besides giving a preventive product at a regular interval, you must conduct a thorough cleaning of your guinea pig’s cage and the surrounding area to prevent another infestation. In severe cases, you may have to treat your entire home and yard for fleas.
If you allow your guinea pig to go outside, keep your lawn cut short so heat from the sun can penetrate the ground and kill flea eggs before they hatch. Avoid placing your guinea pig in cold, damp areas – flea eggs thrive in such conditions.