Fungal Infections and Treatment

Fungal infections like Ringworm often start on the face as areas of patchy, itchy often sore with some hair loss. There may be multiple patches, on the back and limbs, especially in warm weather or when the air is damp in winter. In guinea pigs, the tufts of hair may be stuck together by a crust. When this dries up the lesions become dry and scaly. These tufts will fall out and hair regrow in about 4 weeks. Active infection is quite common, many animals can be carriers. Stress, diet, environment, heat and humidity, infection by external parasites, age (the old, young and pregnant). genetics, and crowding all may predispose animals to an infection.


Prevention there isn't much you can do to prevent fungal infections in guinea pigs, that said prompt treatment of external parasites, good husbandry, and lowering humidity levels will all help keep your pets as healthy as possible. Humid climates may be especially problematic for guinea pigs. The incubation period is 7 to 14 days for ringworm. The fungus releases a great number of spores into the environment which can be inactive for years so disinfecting the area is important, even with excellent disinfection procedures the spores can survive in the tiniest of cracks.


Diaognosis should always be made by a vet, legally no on other then a vet can diagnose an animal.


Treatment


Remember that ringworm is contagious.

  • Isolate infected animals immediately, unless this would cause them more stress, as stress will exacerbate the condition.

  • Wash hands as necessary or wear rubber gloves.

  • Soak all equipment and wash cages in a fungicide like Anigene disinfectant or a dilute solution of bleach (let sit for 15 minutes then rinse).

  • Remove bedding, discard wood in cages (the spores can be very difficult to remove from wood). This is why it is almost impossible to eradicate in enclosures and hutches made of wood!


Shampoos:

  • Nizoral is a human antifungal, dandruff shampoo. Active ingredient Ketoconazole 1%

  • Malaseb Active ingredients: Chlorhexidine Gluconate 2%, Miconazole Nitrate 2%

Topical Creams:

  • Miconazole cream (Daktarin athletes foot cream), active ingredient: miconazole nitrate 2%

  • Clotrimazole (Canesten athletes foot or thrush cream), active ingredient clotrimazole 1%

Topical Spray:

  • Beaphar Aniti Ringworm Spray, active ingredient miconazole 10mg/ml


Apply treatment cream or spray to the infected areas twice a day. If the infection is also on the trunk, bathe the animal once a week with one of the listed shampoos for 3 or 4 weeks (avoid the eyes and ears). Dry thoroughly before returning your pet to its cage. Continue treatment until the skin heals and fur regrows, this can take several weeks. Keep treatment on hand in your pet first aid kit as fungal infections can pop up again in the future.


This gallery show ringworm at various stage of treatment. All of these are pigs we have rescued.




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