Lice of Guinea Pigs

Etiology:Gliracola porcelli  (A.) and  Gyropus ovalis (B.) are chewing lice that commonly parasitize guinea pigs

Lice of Guinea Pigs

Incidence:  Incidence of infection is rare in research colonies (G. porcelli more common than G. ovalis). Lice are generally host-specific.

Transmission:  Transmission occurs by direct contact and mutual grooming.

Distribution:  Lice are found over the dorsum, especially the rump and the perineum.

Clinical Signs:  Clinical signs are not usually observed.  Rough hair coats, alopecia and pruritis may be seen in heavy infestations.

Diagnosis: Antemortem

  1. Pluck hairs and examine subgrossly (dissecting microscope) or microscopically for lice or eggs.
  2. Run cellophane tape against the grain of the fur, place on a slide and examine microscopically for lice or their eggs. This method is not very reliable for detection.


  1. Place pelage (fur) samples collected from the rump and perineum in a Petri dish. As the pelage cools, lice will migrate towards the tips of the hair shafts and be visible with a dissecting microscope.
  2. Place pelage samples on black construction paper. As the pelt cools, the lice will crawl away and be visible as white specks on the black background (C).
Lice of Guinea Pigs

Diagnostic Morphology: Gliracola porcelli: Long head, broader than the thorax; slender body; concealed antennae without tarsal claws.
Gyropus ovalis: Wide head (broader than the thorax), short antennae and one tarsal claw per leg.