Guinea pigs can be infected with ringworm just like us, cats, dogs and other animals. Ringworm is a fungal infection (not a worm, despite the name). This type of fungi is able to take nutrients from keratin; the substance that makes up hair, nails and skin. Therefore ringworm is literally feeding and thriving on the (usually top layer of dead) skin and fur of the animal (or human) it has infected.
Ringworm is considered common in guinea pigs. Some animals may carry the fungi without showing symptoms, they can still be carriers and transmit ringworm to other animals or people (when a human can catch a disease from an animal it is called a zoonosis).
It’s uncomfortable, irritating and highly contagious so if your guinea pig is showing signs of ringworm, you need to act fast to get rid of it.
Signs and Symptoms of Ringworm in Guinea Pigs
What does guinea pig ringworm look like and how can you tell if your piggie(s) might have it?
It’s a fungal infection of the skin, so it’s usually very noticeable in the form of missing patches of fur which may, but not always be in the rough shape of a ring or circle.
Whatever it might look like, it goes without saying that a trip to the vet should be the first port of call when any signs of skin irritation or infection are showing. When it comes to ringworm, acting quickly is important because you’ll want to get on top of this infection before it gets worse, and to stop it spreading to other pets and humans in the house.
Preventing Ringworm in Guinea Pigs
Once you’ve successfully treated a ringworm problem, what can you do to make sure it never comes back again?
Can guinea pigs get ringworm from stress?
Although exposure to the ringworm fungus is needed for a guinea pig to get ringworm, if a guinea pig is under stress then their immune system can suffer; and this can make them more susceptible to a variety of health problems. This includes infections and ringworm which they can be more likely to succumb to with a compromised immune system. For overall health and wellbeing, guinea pigs should lead a stress-free life. Guinea pigs who have been rescued from poor conditions or mistreatment, or bought from pet shops where they’ve been kept in substandard conditions, need extra TLC to get their immune system back into strong condition; and it’s during these times that we should be extra vigilent in looking out for the signs of ringworm, as well as any other health problems.