Just like humans, pets get sick from time to time. Unfortunately, they cannot tell us what is wrong or how to help them. When I notice my guinea pig is not feeling well, I keep a close eye on his behavior.
If he does not improve, I reach out to our veterinarian as soon as possible. One common problem among cavies is parasites, and your vet can provide a prescription for ivermectin.
What is ivermectin?
Ivermectin is a drug prescribed by vets to treat a variety of infections for animals. It is the generic version of Stromectol and costs significantly less than the name-brand version.
Most infections ivermectin treats are due to parasites. These infections could affect the eyes, skin, or intestines of an animal.
Once it is ingested, ivermectin binds to the parasite. Eventually, it will kill the parasite and treat the infection. The dosage of ivermectin is different for different animals. It can be taken as an oral tablet, cream, or lotion based on what the veterinarian prescribes.
Is ivermectin safe for guinea pigs?
With the right dosage and form, ivermectin is safe for guinea pigs. You should only give the medication to your pet if it is prescribed by a licensed veterinarian. Vets typically prescribe the medicine when a guinea pig is suffering from mange mites, open sores, or infections.
Mange mites are extremely painful for cavies because they cause severe skin irritation. Your piggy may be in terrible pain if anything touches or scratches their skin.
They may also be losing hair and scratching themselves more than normal. If the pain is bad enough, they could appear to be having a fit.
If you notice any of the symptoms associated with mange mites, you should take your piggy to a vet as soon as possible.
They will need proper medication to remove the parasite and get their skin back to a good condition. Failure to treat them can result in more serious health complications and even death in extreme cases.
When a vet prescribes ivermectin for your cavy, they will provide dosage instructions. These instructions should be followed carefully to remove the parasites and prevent a recurrence later on. You should also thoroughly clean their crate, replace their bedding, and sanitize their toys.
Other uses for ivermectin include nematode worms, ear mites, and some types of lice. This medication is not effective for treating tapeworms, ticks, or fleas. If there are multiple guinea pigs sharing a habitat, have them both checked for the presence of mange mites and treated accordingly.
How long does ivermectin take to work on guinea pigs?
The amount of time it takes ivermectin to work will differ by animal and condition. I have found that some vets prescribe medication for multiple weeks or up to one month.
Typical dosages include injection or oral tablet once a week for three weeks, or injection once every ten days for forty days. Your vet will evaluate the needs of your piggy and provide the proper dosage.
The important thing to note with ivermectin is that overdoses can be lethal. Ivermectin toxicity occurs when a guinea pig receives too much of the medication at once or too much over a period of time. This medicine will affect your pet’s nervous system, so it can cause problems for their motor skills or brain function if given in the wrong quantity.
I do not recommend ivermectin for guinea pigs that are very young. Their nervous systems cannot handle the drug, and it could lead to negative side effects.
The medicine is relatively safe for pregnant cavies, but I still recommend keeping a close eye on your pet while they take the medication. If you notice any bad side effects, you should alert your vet immediately.
I also advise that you let your vet know if your piggy is taking other medications. This information is important for the health of your pet. Certain medications can interact with one another and lead to side effects like dizziness and confusion.
What is the proper guinea pig ivermectin topical dose?
The standard dosage for ivermectin topical treatment on guinea pigs is about 0.5mg per 1000 grams of weight. You will need to weigh your piggy and convert that number from pounds to grams. For example, a one-pound cavy weighs 454 grams and a 2.2-pound pet weighs 1000 grams. If your cavy weighs 1000 grams, they will need 0.05cc of ivermectin.
If this seems confusing, I caution you to not do the calculations yourself. Your vet will know exactly how much ivermectin your pet needs. They will likely need to repeat doses every seven or ten days. These later doses are effective in killing any new parasites because ivermectin does not remove larvae.
Is there ivermectin shampoo for guinea pigs?
Yes, there are shampoos for guinea pigs that contain ivermectin. You can help prevent mange mites and other parasites from irritating your pet’s skin by using a specially formulated shampoo every couple of months.
Cavies do not require frequent baths but using these shampoos at bath time will help keep mites at bay. The amount of ivermectin in shampoo is such a limited amount that it is unlikely to have side effects for your piggy.
I want to remind you that anti-lice or anti-flea shampoos and treatments are not effective when it comes to mites and other parasites.
If you are concerned about your pet potentially having lice or fleas, you will need to find the proper treatment for those conditions. Ivermectin, as a topical dose of shampoo, will not get rid of lice or fleas.
As pet owners, we never want to see our pets in pain. It breaks my heart to know my piggy is hurting, but I do everything I can to help them. If you are worried that your cavy is suffering from mange mites or another form of parasites, you should consult your vet at once. They can provide the proper dosage of ivermectin to get your piggy feeling better in no time!