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Date:   17 July, 2013  
Focus: Small 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
Date:   17 July, 2013 
Be Kind To Pets
Veterinary Education
Project 2010-0129
Singapore cat - hair mites itchiness Cat, Male, Neutered, Singapore - hair loss and red scabs Cat hair loss and red wounds for few months
Drawing of a hair mite from cat hair scrapping

Mites (illustrated as seen under my microscope) cause hair loss, itchiness, scabs and open wounds and pain in the cat or any pet.

Thousands of hair mites on this 6-month-old straying cat, Singapore Another 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.
6-month guinea pig with hair loss, Singapore Guinea Pig with hair loss in patches Drawing of mite on guinea pig hair scraping

Hair mites look like dirt
Consult your vet quickly before the whole body is infested

It 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 cases.
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 EX 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 car park.  

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 that you 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 prevent recurrences."

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 clawing cats..

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 webpage:

More info at: Dogs or Cats
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