The pigs started scratching excessively a few days ago. Since I can´t see anything buggy on them I thought it must be mites. I obtained some Ivermectin and propylene glycol to treat them. The skin on their bellies is a little flaky and there are a couple of raised red bumps with pin prick size open tops around their genitals.
The dog is also scratching and biting like crazy. No evidence of fleas or any other bugs on the dog, despite a very thorough search including Scotch tape impressions examined under a microscope. He too has raised red bumps on his abdomen and insides of his thighs. He is treated monthly with Frontline and has a known flea bite sensitivity.
This morning I examined his bed minutely and found some very tiny red brown creatures. They are about 0.5mm long and the bodies are round. I also found some jointed leg parts. Going back to the pigs, I found the same thing on the white haired pig´s abdomen.
Looking around on the net, the closest thing I could find is a seed tick (the nymph stage of a deer tick). We do have a lot of deer around but these things seem a lot smaller than the examples given. Can mites be brown?
Any ideas? Lynx, you´re the bug lady.!
I forgot - the kid has red itchy bumps on her too.
Anyway, something else I wanted to mention - the question of whether the mites found on guinea pigs are species specific. My research indicates that although such mites as Cheyletiella (Walking dandruff) are unable to live on a human, they quite commonly cause an itchy red rash when a human has been in contact with them.
Get a really good magnification on the insect. For some reason, I don´t think it is seed ticks. We have them around here and while they can be irritating, they are not horrible. They do look like miniature ticks. The Cheyletiella mites are a possibility -- and depending on what kind of bugs you have around, they could be something like chiggers, which are excruciatingly itchy and irritating. Chiggers are the nymph stage of a field mite.
I found out that the nymphal stages of deer ticks live on rodents, especially squirrels. Maybe they think my cavies are squirrels?
I thought the Cheyletiella were whitish, no?
If your vet doesn´t know, maybe you could take a sample to the county extension office. Sometimes they will even send them away to the state entomologist.
Let us know what you find out.
I took the kid in to see the pediatrician before school, as I didn´t want to send her with anything contagious. She couldn´t identify the bugs, but told me she has often seen rashes like this one on humans with itchy animals at home. She´s just treating the symptoms as she said the bugs will most likely not be able to live on a person and therefore if we take care of the problem with the animals, the rash shouldn´t recur.
Next stop is the dog vet!
The general consensus was they were either the larval form of Dermacentor occidentalis (Pacific Coast tick) or some form of fur mite they had never seen before, possibly Listrophorus gibbus (a rabbit fur mite). They offered to send the samples to UC Davis for definitive identification but I decided to wait and see if the treatment is effective. If I have no further problems I guess it doesn´t really matter what they are.
The guinea pig fur mites are actually not supposed to be very irritating. This seems to be something else.
I´ll find out if the UC Davis service is free. These are definitely not any form, stage or type of flea. The vets were agreed on that at least.
I wouldn´t even consider using Frontline on the cavies. I use Advantage on the cat and cavies as I´ve been warned by my own vets that Frontline is not safe for cavies. Thanks for the warning though, better safe than sorry.
I´ve discussed this in the past with other Tibetan Terrier people and they generally feel the benefits in eradicating potentially disease carrying ticks outweighs the remote risk of any kind of neurological damage. If I had a short coated breed I would probably just thoroughly search and remove the ticks by hand, but there´s no way I can find them under all that hair!
If anyone knows of any other problems linked to Frontline, I would definitely be interested to hear about it.