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A parasite is any bug that inhabits our rodents and has the potential to make them unwell including worms, microscopic bugs, fungi, or insects. Grooming, a healthy diet, and reduction of stress are the keys that rodent parents can use to keep their furries free of bugs. Rodents groom frequently but a daily check-over and use of the right products is the best way to detect unwanted guests early. Whether you are concerned about which wormer is safe or whether f10 wound spray is suitable for your rodent, you should contact your veterinarian or book an appointment here for advice before you start any medication. It is extremely important that your rodent's parasite preparations are specifically designed for rodents as many products can be harmful, even fatal.
These are not common but can be caught from other pets or wild mice. Signs are subtle do use a flea comb to check the coat thoroughly or book a veterinary appointment. Symptoms may be itching, scabs, or sore skin. Fleas can be eliminated using a rodent-friendly product from your veterinarian.
Ticks are very rarely found on rodents. Your veterinarian will help you decide on treatment and can help remove ticks. Alternatively, you can use a tick twister.
Ringworm is a skin parasite that often has no symptoms in a healthy animal but can show up as bald, flakey areas of skin that become crusty, irritated, and red. This is easily passed to humans so it’s important to get it diagnosed and start treatment as soon as possible. Your vet may need to grow samples or shine a special light on the areas. Treatment can include oral medication and shampoos.
Rodents commonly carry mites or lice which live in the fur and in or on the skin. They are usually symptomless but if your rodent becomes stressed or unwell these parasites can begin to multiply causing itchiness, hair loss, sore red skin, swelling, and discomfort. The affected skin can become infected with bacteria and this can be fatal. For this reason, it is important to focus on a good diet and stress-free life for your rodent, as healthy rodents are less likely to be affected. Lice and mites can be detected under the microscope by your veterinarian and then treated. It is a good idea to throw away any bedding and toys and do a deep clean of the cage to prevent reinfection.
Rodents can commonly pick up pinworms and tapeworms as babies or in a rescue centre. Pinworms usually have no symptoms but young or rescue rodents can experience weight loss, messy coat, sleepiness, and diarrhoea. Tapeworms rarely cause issues but if there is a significant infection they can cause blockages. If you have any concerns, take a poo sample to your veterinarian who can advise you on rodent-safe worming treatment. To avoid and minimise worm issues, clear up droppings daily and test and/or treat all your pets if one is affected. Tapeworms can be passed to humans so wear gloves or disinfect your hands after handling any infected animals.
Rodents are prone to carrying protozoa, which are microscopic bugs that can cause lung or gut infections. Giving your rodents a healthy diet, and ensuring they have minimal stress and are not overcrowded is important to help prevent these bugs from establishing or spreading. If your rodent has recurring gut or breathing issues then your veterinarian may want to investigate and treat for protozoa but they are very difficult to eliminate completely.