This is an article I wrote over a year ago. The info is still good,
and very accurte, although there are now
other methods of treatment
such as Revolution, or Advantage. But for all the folks still interested
here's some good info....
Cheers and Bruxes ~
Deb and the
Blue Steel Rats
Treating For Mites (or Mites Are Such A Pain!)
By Debora Wind
The solution to getting rid of these nasty little critters is to
BREAK THEIR LIFE CYCLE.
This can be done with relative safety using
Ivermectin. Typically treatment is once a week for three consecutive
weeks, but this short article will explain why may be best to treat for four, if not six, consecutive weeks. The
life cycle of the mite consists of four stages: 1) the egg, 2) larval, 3) nymph, and 4) adult. Each stage of the cycle
lasts between seven (7) and ten (10) days, depending on the surrounding temperature and humidity. That's a span
of between twenty-eight (28) to forty (40) days. The Ivermectin only kills the offending critter during a specific
stage of its development: the *larval stage* when they must have a blood meal in order to continue the cycle to nymph,
then to adult and reproduction. The ivermectin has no affect on the mites during the other stages of its life (egg,
nymph, or adult capable of reproduction). This is why it is necessary to treat for three, four, five, or in a
worst case scenario, six consecutive weeks (for a
total span of 42 days if conditions are right and the time span between
stages is ten days).
However, there's more to getting rid of these little beasts than just
ratties once a week for three to six weeks. To truly
win the battle against mites, ideally, you must also thoroughly
the rats' cages *and the surrounding area* within 12 to 24 hours of
administering the oral dose of Ivermectin.
A solution of 1 part Clorox to 10 parts water works very well on cages, however the Clorox can be difficult to rinse off.
So, after having sprayed every conceivable
surface, nook, and cranny of the cage, let it sit for five to ten minutes,
and then do a first rinse, followed with a spraying of plain distilled White Vinegar. Everywhere that was sprayed with
the water/Clorox solution, now spray with the vinegar. Let sit a minute or two, then RINSE. After rinsing, get
"up close and personal" with the cage and take a BIG SNIFF. If *any* hint of Clorox is detected, spray with vinegar
a second time and rinse. That'll usually do it. This will need to be done after EVERY ivomec treatment for the
duration. If there are any wooden toys in the cage, either throw them away, OR if one has a pressure cooker that the
toy(s) will fit into, pressure cook the wooden toys for a half hour to forty five minutes. The heat/pressure will kill any
stage of mites in/on the wood and make the toys safe to give back to one's ratties without re-infecting them. ALSO VACUUM
around the rattie's cages, the floor, baseboard, etc., *and then get the bag OUT OF THE HOUSE!* Mites and their larvae
are *mobile*. They can, and do, walk about (and crawl out of the bag) in search of a blood meal!
all this, you ask? Because of the way Ivermectin works when
given orally. Ivermectin (Ivomec) is rapidly taken
up by the body and
reaches it's peak levels in the bloodstream within 12 to 24 hours.
However, it is also eliminated
by the body just as rapidly. So that's only looking at a widow of opportunity of between 12 and 36 hours. Remember
it only kills the mites while they're in the *larval* stage. It doesn't do anything for eggs, nymphs, or adults.
Thus the necessity to treat for three, four, five, or even six weeks. One has to wait for eggs to hatch, the nymphs to turn
into adults, and adults to reproduce and die.
The goal is to hit the larvae, and that's why it's so important to treat
for the duration. The speed at which the mites' life cycle continues,
again, is based on the surrounding temperature
and humidity. Remember: it's best to do the cage cleaning within a day of giving the Ivomec, better still within twelve (12)
hours of giving the Ivomec.
When giving the liquid version of Ivermectin (labeled for injection,
injected - always given orally) use a 1 cc Tuberculin syring
with at least a 20 gauge (18 is better, but 20 will do) needle
withdraw the Ivomec. Then take off the 20 gauge needle and replace it with a 22 or 24 gauge needle to aid in
measuring out the proper amount. In twenty years this author has never had a problem with it. Dosage is 0.01 cc
(read: zero POINT zero one, or one-onehundredth of one cc) for every 1.1 pounds of body weight (or 1cc per every 110 pounds
of body weight) which is the equivalent of 200 micrograms per kilogram of body weight. In particulatly difficult cases which,
over a three week span, show no improvemnet on the 200 mcg/kg of body weight dosage, the dosage of Ivomec can be increased
to 400 mcg/kg of body weight (which would be 0.02 cc for every 1.1 pound of body weight) with relative safety. HOWEVER, as
with all medications, there is always a risk involved. It is advised to seek the advice or guidance of a qualified vet
*before* increasing dosage from 200 mcg/kg of body weight to 400 mcg/kg of body weight. I have had to use this
dosage before when dealing with Tropical Rat Mites (Omithonyssus bacoti), and had no problems. My rats tolerated
the dosage quite well with no ill effects, and the Tropical Rat Mites became history.
I have never used the paste
version, so really can't say about the
dosage other than it's advised to use an amount equivalent to the size of between
1/2 a grain of uncooked rice and 1 grain of uncooked rice. However, because the Ivermectin in a tube was designed to
be given in a single dose to a HORSE, the paste is not uniform throughout, thus, one must empty the entire tube, mix thoroughly,
then give either 1/2 a grain of rice worth, or 1 grain of rice worth. The dosage cannot be given as accurately using this
method but it works well for some people. I prefer to use the liquid (injectable) type labeled for cattle. Treat each
rat ORALLY (put the proper dosage on a small piece of bread or other "treat" and they'll typically eat it with no problems),
at the same time, once a week. Clean the cage and surrounding area as soon after treatment as possible. Continue
treatment for the duration. Taa-daa! Mite problem solved.
Treating occasionally for preventative
purposes is an option, too. I
usually dose everyone once a month. The dogs get Ivomec once a month as a heartworm
preventative, and the rats get a dose of Ivomec on the same day as the dogs to keep the mite larvae at bay. Works good!
This may have been just a little more information than you wanted,
but, what-the-hey! <!--[if !vml]-->
thorough!<!--[if !vml]--> <!--[endif]-->
If you have any questions,
or need clarification on anything, just
Hope this helps ~
Deb and the
Blue Steel Rats ~~((((8:>
P.S. You can get Ivermectin at any farm supply
store, at places like
Atwoods, Tractor Supply Company, Horse n' Hound, local Feed Stores,
some quality pet stores,
or on the web here: http://www.jefferslivestock.com/ssc/product.asp?CID=2&pf_id=17181
Be sure to get the kind that is labeled as 1% sterile solution with
ONLY Ivermectin in it as there are now
a few different types available
(pour on, Ivomec Plus, Ivomec sheep dips, etc). It comes in a 50 ml
packaged in a small brown box with a white line drawing of the
head-on face of a cow on it.
This is very well written and to a tee as far as mite care. Did it, done it, been there. If you do have questions
don't hesitate to email me: