Dermatophytosis in the guinea pig - Veterinary Practice
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Dermatophytosis in the guinea pig

David Grant begins a series of dermatology briefs

pigs is:
n Almost invariably due to Trichophyton
. Rarely Microsporum spp
and Trichophyton verrucosum.

  • More common in young guinea pigs
    and those sourced from inferior outlets
    where stressors such as poor
    husbandry, inadequate nutrition, high
    environmental temperature and
    humidity favour infection.

Clinical signs

  • Non-pruritic scaling and alopecia on
    the nose and face, which may spread
    elsewhere in severe cases. In those cases
    secondary infection frequently occurs
    associated with pruritus, erythema,
    crusts, pustules and papules.
  • Guinea pigs may be presented with
    no signs but with a diagnosis of
    ringworm in a family member,
    frequently a child.


  • Trichophyton mentagrophytes does not
    fluoresce under the Wood’s lamp.
    n Epilation of hair from the periphery
    of the lesion and mounting in liquid
    paraffin. Check for arthoconidia on the
    exterior of the hair shaft
  • Fungal culture is advisable to
    confirm as the condition is a zoonosis.
  • Hairs on the periphery of lesions,
    with crusts and scale from the centre,
    can be inoculated on to dermatophyte
    test medium or sent to a specialised
    mycological laboratory.
  • McKenzie brush technique should be
    used to identify carriers, especially if
    human contagion is suspected. Use a
    sterilised toothbrush (a new one is
    satisfactory) and brush the entire
    animal, including the facial area in
    particular, and then inoculate on to the
  • Carrier status is thought to be
    common. There are a few publications
    that substantiate this statement. Vangeel
    et al 2000 (3.4% carrier status in healthy guinea
    pigs) and
    et al 2013 (8.5% carrier status).


  • No products are licensed for the
    guinea pig. Informed consent is
  • Affected animals plus all in-contacts
    should be treated.
  • Topical. The following have been
    recommended: 2% miconazole
    (Daktarin) cream applied daily, 0.2%
    enilconazole (Imaverol) dip, 2%
    chlorhexidine + 2% miconazole
    shampoo (Malaseb), 2% lime sulphur
    dips (Lime plus) all applied weekly.
  • Systemic. Itraconazole (Itrafungol)
  • Treatment should be continued until
    the guinea pig is clinically normal
    followed by a negative fungal culture
    using the McKenzie brush technique.
  • Environmental decontamination –
    0.2% enilconazole, bleach for hard

Further reading

  1. Kraemer et al (2013) Clinical signs, therapy and
    zoonotic risk of pet guinea pigs with
    dermatophytosis. Mycoses 56 (2): 168-172.
  2. Kraemer et al (2012) Dermatophytes of pet
    guinea pigs. Veterinary Microbiology 157 (1-2):
    208-213 – 8.5% of healthy guinea pigs carriers.
  3. Vangeel et al (2000) Prevalence of
    Dermatophytes in asymptomatic rabbits and
    guinea pigs. Vet Rec 146 (15): 440-441 – four
    from 115 sampled were carriers, 3.4%.

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