Is it safe to stroke itchy guinea pigs?
Sunday People|December 06, 2020
Our vet works his magic on your furry friends
DAVID GRANT

Q We have two one-year-old guinea pigs that my young son handles a lot. I have been told that guinea pig skin diseases can be transmitted to people. Is this true and what should we be aware of?

A Guinea pigs suffer from two skin diseases that can be contagious to people – a mite infestation and ringworm. The mite is called trixacarus and can be present in low numbers in some guinea pigs without any issues.

However, if a guinea pig becomes stressed, has another disease or if for any reason is vitamin C deficient, mites can multiply and cause skin disease.

This is usually very obvious because affected guinea pigs become very itchy and in extreme cases may suffer seizures. They also lose hair and develop scaling, especially along the back.

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