Vets in East Molesey talk mites, lice, and other parasites on small furry pets

March 21, 2023

Parasites are a common concern for small pets like hamsters, gerbils, and guinea pigs; they are susceptible to a variety of parasites that can cause serious health problems if left untreated. In this article, one of our East Molesey vets is looking at some of the most common parasites that affect these popular pets and what you can do to protect them.

Notice the signs below? Contact us


According to our vet Darren, one of the most common parasites that affect small pets is the mite. Mites are tiny, eight-legged creatures that can cause severe itching and irritation. They are most commonly found on the skin, in the ears, and in the eyes. Mites can be difficult to detect because they are so small, but they can cause severe itching and scratching, hair loss, and even secondary infections. Have you spotted any of these signs of mites on your hamster, fancy rat, or gerbil? It’s important to keep your pet’s cage clean to try and prevent mites. We recommend that you book an appointment at our Park Road surgery if you have any concerns.


Another common parasite that affects small pets is the lice. Lice are tiny insects that live on the skin and fur of small pets. They can cause itching and scratching, and they can also lead to secondary infections. Lice can be difficult to detect, but they can be treated with topical medications that can be prescribed by Darren or another of our vets.


When compared to mice and rats, tapeworm infection in hamsters is more common. Typically, hamsters contract tapeworms from contaminated water and/or feed. It is wise to be aware that some tapeworms that infect hamsters can also infect people. Worms can cause diarrhoea, weight loss, and other health issues. Treatment for internal parasites typically involves a medication prescribed by one of our vets.

Coccidia in Guinea pigs

Guinea pigs, in particular, are also at risk of getting a specific parasite, Coccidia which is a protozoan that can cause diarrhoea and weight loss.

To protect your small pet from parasites, it’s essential to maintain good hygiene in their living area and to schedule regular vet check-ups with our team here at Molesey Vets. Keeping the cage clean and disinfected (look for pet-safe products), providing fresh food and water, and preventing your pet from coming into contact with wild animals or their faeces, can also reduce the risk of parasite infestation.

In conclusion, Darren advises that although parasites are a common concern for small pets, by keeping a close eye on your pet’s health, providing proper care and hygiene, and consulting with our vets, you can protect your beloved small pet from the harmful effects of these parasites.

Contact us if you notice the signs above

Strictly Necessary

These cookies are required for our website to operate and include items such as whether or not to display this pop-up box or your session when logging in to the website. These cookies cannot be disabled.


We use 3rd party services such as Google Analytics to measure the performance of our website. This helps us tailor the site content to our visitors needs.


From time to time, we may use cookies to store key pieces of information to make our site easier for you to use. Examples of this are remembering selected form options to speed up future uses of them. These cookies are not necessary for the site to work, but may enhance the browsing experience.


We may use advertising services that include tracking beacons to allow us to target our visitors with specific adverts on other platforms such as search or social media. These cookies are not required but may improve the services we offer and promote.

Change Settings

Welcome. You can control how we use cookies and 3rd party services below

Change Settings Accept
Learn how we use cookies