17 July, 2013
animals - dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, turtles & rabbits
Fur mites in cats and guinea pigs
Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
2003 case recorded in 20 January, 2003
17 July, 2013
Be Kind To Pets
Mites (illustrated as seen under my microscope)
cause hair loss, itchiness, scabs and open wounds and
pain in the cat or any pet.
white cat (left) 6 months old just after anaesthetic and
spaying surgery. Goes out often. I saw lots of black
dots on the hair shafts. They are fur mites. Bathe the
cat with the anti-mite shampoo. May need to shave off
all hairs. Consult your vet for the ivomec treatment if
you can't shampoo the cat.
mites look like dirt
Consult your vet quickly before the whole body is
easier to see black fur mites on white-coated guinea
pigs. Another type of insect may appear as white long
wriggling insects on the hairs. It will be educational
to show the pet owner the mites under the microscope. I
have illustrated what I saw under the microscope.
The above cases were recorded in Jan 20, 2003. I got the
records out from my website, using Goggle Custom Search
on "guinea pig mites" as I review my guinea pig fur mite
10 years have passed so fast and yet the guinea pigs
still suffer from fur mites infestations!
On Monday July 15, 2013, I was getting ready to send my
rental Mitsubishi Lancer
to the accident assessment workshop for insurance
purpose. On Saturday, a driver with 3 children in
another similar model hit my left bumper as she did not
stop at the solid white line as I drove up from the
basement 2 to basement 1 car park to exit the HDB Hub
At 11 am, a lady brought in two guinea pigs with white
wriggling insects of up to 4 mm in length, on the coat. I showed my assistant,
Niang, how to pick out the fur insects from the guinea
pig and examine under the microscope. I said to the
young man: "You are a veterinary graduate from Myanmar.
You have to be observant and work hard so
become competent in diagnosis and treatment when you
practise in Yangon in later years." The owner did
not want to see the moving mites under the microscope.
There were brown and elongated and I have drawn one of
them for the owner to see.
I had the two guinea pigs clipped and bathed with an
anti-insecticide wash. "Isn't that risky?" Dr Daniel had
asked me. "Some vets apply ivomectin drops between the
ears to resolve he problem." Each doctor has his or her
own way to resolve the mite problem but in this case,
the owner couldn't stand seeing her guinea pigs
overwhelmed with crawling white insects in the coat.
Clipping away the hairs will reduce the contamination
and the insecticide bath will eliminate the mites. "The
guinea pigs are rinsed with water after the bath," I
said. "In my experience with other cases, the owners
were satisfied. The environment, bedding and brushes
have to be de-contaminated with hot water too, to
It will be much more convenient for the owners and their
domestic helpers if they do not need to bathe the guinea
pigs as most city-dwelling Singaporeans don't have the
farming background of agricultural countries to know how
to handle the squeaky guinea pigs. Asking them to come
for 3 weekly sessions of ivomec spot on the neck area
may not result in compliance as the majority of owners
seem to be time-pressed, a common situation for most
Singaporeans including myself.
This lady owner also brought in a plump female Miniature
Schnauzer which had been treated by "many vets" and had
blood tests done.
"When the Schnauzer is given medication, she does not
scratch," she said. I had the dog clipped bald. There
were several open wounds on the armpits and body due to
self-scratching. The prominent findings were red itchy
and painful ears filled with hairs, redness and hair
loss on the elbows and multiple pimples on the belly.
I told Niang: "generalised pustular dermatitis" is
present in the lower body. See the pimples in the
hundreds of red spots with yellow pus on the skin. This
is known as pustular dermatitis. 'Generalised' means
'widespread'. The cause may include demodectic mites."
It will take time for Nia to understand the English
language and see the varied conditions in Singapore's
pets. Many clients complain they can't understand his
"English". He seems afraid of handling cats, according
to Dr Daniel. I need to give him time to get used to the
English here and learn about the restraint of fierce
Myanmar's past decades of politics, student unrest and
elimination of the learning of the English language in
primary schools had resulted in a generation of
graduates not proficient in the English language and the
use of computers. But there is much progress in
veterinary medicine nowadays and it will be good if I
can help one graduate at a time to upgrade his
veterinary diagnosis and treatment.
As for the Miniature Schnauzer, I advised weight loss
and the lateral ear resection surgery to open up the ear
canal for ventilation and drainage. Usually this
operation results in no more ear scratching using the
hind legs. A plump dog is a high anaesthetic risk. The
owner was enlightened as I asked for past medical
records from the many vets she had consulted as she
said: "Take a blood test as the previous tests were
taken a long time ago."
Updates will be on this
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