Mites help needed!

Laura823

Post   » Wed Apr 03, 2002 11:44 am


I think I posted about this before but I can´t find the original thread, sorry.

Mitzi has been sufferering from mites for about 2 1/2 months now. I mean suffering - I can´t touch her without causing a "fit". She had her 5th Ivermectin shot last week (at a dose of 0.3 mg/kg) and has shown no improvement. She is only supposed to have one more shot. I don´t know what to do! How long is if safe to continue with the Ivermectin? Is it possible that it could take longer than 6 shots? This is costing us a fortune and of course we also have to treat Piglet as long as we are treaing Mitzi.

Is there anything else that can cause symptoms like having "fits" when touched, excesseive scratching, etc? I don´t think my vet believes she has mites because Mitzi doesn´t scratch and have fits when she´s on the examining table. (I think its because she is too freaked out.)

I am really at my wit´s end. These pigs are going to have us bankrupt before long! Ever since I got Piglet she has practically been living at the vet and now Mitzi too! Poor things.

Any ideas?

pigpal

Post   » Wed Apr 03, 2002 12:26 pm


Is it possible that they are getting reinfested somehow?

I expect you are already cleaning out the cage thoroughly, with bleach, during the course of treatments. I know it´s widely believed that bedding, hay etc. cannot harbor mites, as they are unable to survive off the host for very long. However, is it possible the hay or bedding could be infested from another animal where it is being stored?

Have you handled any other animals that might have mites, inadvertently transferring them to your own?

I´m sure you´re very frustrated, I hope someone will think of an answer for you.

User avatar
Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Wed Apr 03, 2002 12:47 pm


Do you end up getting some relief by the end of the treatments? Has the vet found evidence of fleas or another parasite? While I don´t recommend treating guinea pigs yourself with ivermectin, if you completely understand what you are doing, they can be treated at home.

Read http://www.guinealynx.info/guinealynx/ivermectin.html I think that´s the link anyway. You might talk to your vet about doing oral or topical treatments at home. He might help you determine an accurate dose. You´d think by this time he would be sympathetic to your suffering from the costs involved.

What kind of hay are you using? What kind of bedding? Oh, and just in case it is a fungal infection which can be itchy too, you might try bathing them both in Nizoral shampoo (it is a human shampoo with a drug that is prescribed for fungal infections for humans and animals).

Is there dandruff? Are there any open lesions?

Laura823

Post   » Wed Apr 03, 2002 12:52 pm


There was no evidence of any parasites - mites, fleas, lice or otherwise. No open lesions, but Mitzi does have some dandruff. And no, I haven´t handled any other animals that could have mites. The hay and bedding is stored in a closet so I don´t think there´s any way that could be infested. I use Carefresh and towels for bedding, and Oxbow hay.

I used to clean out the cages with bleach, but I read that vinegar is safer so that is what I have been using since then (a solution of half vinegar half water). Is that not good enough? Oh dear. My vet said that it wasn´t necessary to use bleach because mites couldn´t survive off a host that long. I will start using bleach until the mites have cleared up. Does this mean they will have to go through a whole course of treatment again?!

I clean the cages once a week - is that okay while the mites are present or should I do it at a certain time (like right before or after thir shots)?

I will try bathing them with Nizoral. Hopefully my mom will help me, because I´m sure it will be a two-person job!

There´s no way my vet will discuss anything about treating at home. She did not even want to treat them in the first place. (This is the same vet from the "How to train a vet" post.) I might ask her to consult with another vet through e-mail, because she won´t discuss any ideas that come from me. I really wish there was a vet here who was knowledgeable about pigs or at least willing to learn, but it seems I pretty much have to figure everything out for myself.

Thanks for the help.
Last edited by Laura823 on Wed Apr 03, 2002 12:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Wed Apr 03, 2002 1:03 pm


It sounds like you aren´t doing anything wrong. Your vet is right that they shouldn´t survive off the host. Standard cleaning (changing things and washing, replacing with fresh things) ought to have been good enough.

So, is there any aleviation of symptoms following the completion of a course of ivermectin? If so, do read the ivermectin page I put a link to.

I do hope the Nizoral works for you. Avoid the eyes, of course. You might try washing a second time in a week. I am guessing you would see some relief pretty quickly if it is fungal.

Evangeline

Post   » Wed Apr 03, 2002 3:42 pm


Have you tried changing the kind of bedding you are using? Some pigs are allergic to pine, some to other things. It seems you´re doing everything right, so this is worth trying. Instead of shavings, try using large towels for a few weeks, so see if there is any change.

Laura823

Post   » Wed Apr 03, 2002 3:55 pm


Well, that´s a relief. I was afraid it might be my own fault after all this!

Mitzi was allergic to aspen bedding (so were we!) and would sneeze constantly when we used it...she seems to be fine with the Carefresh. We´ve also tried towels with her but had a unique problem. She spent all her time UNDER the towels, making burrows and tunnels and then she would go the bathroom under the towels on the bare plastic, and then sit in it (yuk)...and then when she did come out, the towel was such a crumpled mess she had no room to run around on top. How do you keep the towel in place? With Piglet it just stays. She doesn´t try to pull it up. Mitzi kept pulling it away from the sides and seemed to really hate having it there. When she moves into a bigger cage, I am going to try using a towel and weigh it down with small bricks at the corners so she can´t get under it. I´ll give her a cosy or fleece tunnel or something so she can still have something soft to "burrow" in.

I´ve read the Ivermectin page before a few times. It´s so hard to tell if she seems better after the shots. After the last one, I thought I noticed a slight improvement - I could pet her longer before she would start having a fit. It could have been a coincidence, though. Now it seems as bad as ever. There has certainly never been any dramatic improvement.

How are fungal things diagnosed? (Aside from treating to rule it out?) Would you be able to tell from looking at the skin?

pigpal

Post   » Wed Apr 03, 2002 4:36 pm


I think the vet would need to do a culture to determine exactly what kind of fungal infection it might be.

Laura, I didn´t mean to imply you were doing anything wrong, just trying to rule out the possibilty of re-infestation. I use bleach and rinse really well, other people use vinegar. I honestly don´t know if one is better than the other.
Last edited by pigpal on Wed Apr 03, 2002 4:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Dobby
I gave what I could!

Post   » Wed Apr 03, 2002 4:52 pm


Since we are on the topic of mites and fungal infections, Buddy has a small scab on his back, right in the middle, and the hair is coming out in tiny clumps (I don´t even like to call them clumps because it makes them sounds big). About 3 or 4 single hairs joined together at the root by what looks to be dead skin.

Any ideas as to what that could be?

Laura823

Post   » Wed Apr 03, 2002 5:35 pm


It could just be dry skin, but it really sounds like mites to me. Some pigs will have the pain on being touched, others will just get dry skin and excess scratching (which can cause the scabs to form) and/or hairloss. You did mention in an earlier post that he was scratching a lot.

Has Buddy seen a vet yet? You really need to bring him in for a check-up, even if you don´t suspect mites. Although I would be very surprised if he didn´t have mites, considering the conditions he came from. You might have a hard time trying to get him treated - just be insistant. And don´t bother with a tape test/skin scraping. Mange mites won´t even show up half the time, and parastites such as fur mites and lice should be able to be seen in the fur without a scraping. You´ll have to be insistant about that one, too. Just remember, you´re charged for everything they do, no matter how simple! (My vet charges something like $15 for a tape test - been there, done that!!!)

I haven´t heard from you in awhile...I assume you´ve been busy lately! Good luck with Buddy, give him a hug for me. :)

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CenterFielderNo5

Post   » Wed Apr 03, 2002 5:42 pm


sounds like mites Dobby....... lol, i´m sure you can´t be surprised.

Laura,
I just gave my pigs their 3rd round of ivermectin last night, and I completely change all the bedding and clean out the cage within one hour of giving them the medicine. I figure it´s better to do it that way than to clean out the cage before, because if I put down new bedding, put the pig down, and then give the medicine, that´s defeating the purpose of changing the bedding. It probably takes a little while for them to digest the ivermectin anyway, so by the time it takes full effect, they´re already in their new bedding.
Scott

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Dobby
I gave what I could!

Post   » Wed Apr 03, 2002 7:53 pm


I know, Laura. :) Sorry about the delay, but if you check your mailbox, you´ll find an apologetic email from me. :)

I was hoping everyone was going to say something OTHER than mites....:( Dammit.
I guess it´s off to the vet for me tomorrow or Friday...

User avatar
Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Wed Apr 03, 2002 7:56 pm


Mites or fungus. Treat for mites first. Fungus if it doesn´t improve.

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KarasKavies
For the love of my girls!

Post   » Wed Apr 03, 2002 9:12 pm


My vote... mites!

Evangeline

Post   » Wed Apr 03, 2002 9:13 pm


Dobby-
Yeah, it does sound like mites.

Laura-
I don´t think you understand. I don´t mean respiratory allergies to bedding. I mean skin allergies. On occasions, I´ve heard of pigs being allergic to all wood beddings (CareFresh is wood). Their entire skin became irritated to the point they would scream from the pain of simply being touched.

I think it´s worth trying towels or newspaper bedding, as well as looking into the fungus thing.

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KarasKavies
For the love of my girls!

Post   » Wed Apr 03, 2002 9:33 pm


Dobby, don´t feel bad. I think mites are at the root of all piggie woes!

K

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Dobby
I gave what I could!

Post   » Thu Apr 04, 2002 7:19 am


Well, at least he´s not in any pain from these alleged mites.The vet is booked up until Monday, so I´m bringing him in then as he isn´t an urgent case (no wounds, no screaming in agony, no loss of appetite or playfulness...just minor hair loss and numerous little flakey scabs).
Oh, the trials and tribulations of owning and loving a pig.
My brother (the realist) said, "Isn´t it cheaper to just get another pig than to take this one to the vet?" Needless to say, I was horrified, but I didn´t say anything to my younger sibling...I just smacked him. :)

Laura823

Post   » Thu Apr 04, 2002 11:32 am


I know what you meant, Evangeline. I guess I wasn´t very clear. We did try towels for awhile (although I had a lot of problems with it...Mitzi wasn´t too happy about that arrangement!), and there was no change in her symptoms. We were using a tiny bit of Carfresh in the litter box, though. How long would it take to notice an improvement? Also, if you can´t use bedding what do you put in the litter box?

Dobby, how old is your brother? My grandmother has said that to my family on numerous occasions about our cat and the pigs. Recently my cousin´s dog had to have kidney surgery that cost hundreds, and she said the same thing. I´d beat her face in if she wasn´t my 85 year old grandmother.

Don´t worry about the mites, they´re (usually) no big deal. Nearly all pet store pigs have them. Thank God for Ivermectin!

Evangeline

Post   » Thu Apr 04, 2002 11:37 am


Laura-
Hello? Didn´t I just suggest recycled newspaper pellets?

Laura823

Post   » Thu Apr 04, 2002 12:55 pm


Sorry, I must be dense today. I thought you meant sheets of newspaper.

I´m going to put in a towel now and see how it goes with no bedding at all. I don´t know how I´m going to keep it down, though. The cage she is in now is too small to put bricks in the corners. She should be in her new cage within a week or two, though.

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