Health Flea & Tick Mites On Dogs: How to Identify And Treat Infestations

Mites On Dogs: How to Identify And Treat Infestations

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These tiny creatures are a common concern affecting dogs. Less than a millimeter long, they burrow into Fluffy’s skin causing inflammation and irritation. They cannot survive for long without a host, which makes them readily latch onto dogs and cats that cross their paths, hopping around from pet to pet. Mites are highly contagious. If you have multiple pets and notice mites in one, chances are the rest will shortly follow suit. Fluffy’s fur becomes their habitat, and he may even be affected by ear mites. This results in him becoming really uncomfortable.

Health Conditions Caused By Dog Mites

As the parasite infestation hits your dogs, they get issues like mange. There are different types of mange like demodectic and sarcoptic variations. For demodectic mange, there will be signs like hair loss, scaling, lesions, and the sore areas will redden. This usually affects younger dogs. Sarcoptic mange causes constant scratching that will lead to reddening of the skin, and occasionally cause scabs. This condition can also affect humans.

Dog Mites On Skin

The condition will depend on the type of mite affecting the dog. For instance, Cheyletiella yasguri mites lead to cheyletiellosis, also known as walking dandruff. The dandruff appears like it’s “walking” because of the mites moving around on the dog’s skin. Trombiculosis—what’s usually called a “harvest mite” infestation, is caused by mites from the family Trombiculidae that are in the larval stage. The larvae can be confirmed when skin scraping of the affected area is examined under a microscope.

Demodex canis mites, on the other hand, make their home in the hair follicles and sebaceous glands of the affected dogs. Usually, there will be no signs of infestation. However, when the dog has a large number of demodex mites, there will be inflammation and hair loss. This is especially for pets with underlying diseases which have suppressed the immune system, such as cancer, hypothyroidism or endocrine disorders like Cushing’s disease. As long as your pooch has a properly functioning immune system, then these particular mites will not cause any harm. This is why demodectic mange tends to affect older dogs since the strength of the immune system declines with age. It also affects dogs below 12—18 months, since at this stage the dog’s immune system is yet to fully mature.

Dog Mites In Ears

Ear mites, on the other hand, turn your dogs ear canal into their home, and she will have an intense itch. You will notice her trying to scratch the ear, shaking her head, and even rubbing her ear against the carpet. There may be a dark discharge from the affected ear, or skin lesions may develop. Note that these symptoms are also common for other parasitic infections, thus the need to book an appointment with your vet before starting any kind of treatment. An otoscope will be used to check both the dog’s ear canals for mites. In some cases, the itching and scratching will be so severe that the ear gets very sore, making it difficult for your pooch to stay still while the examination is being carried out. Here, sedation may be required.

Treating Dogs Affected By Mites

An anti-parasitic wash will usually suffice. These shampoos are widely available, and are effective against different mites. However, it’s recommended that you first speak to the vet to ensure that you’re bathing your pooch in the right anti-parasitic shampoo.

The vet may also give you spot-on treatments to deal with the infestation. In other cases, it will need to be administered regularly. Simply be patient and you’ll soon put the whole mite issue being you and your pet.

Environmental Care And Protecting Your Dog

While the dogs usually get mites from other dogs—from pets in the household, to that pooch they were playing with at the dog park—they can also get them from the environment. The mites will hide out in the bedding and carpets, from where the dog can easily pick them up. As such, you should ensure that these areas have been thoroughly cleaned, especially if you have already faced a mite infestation. You don’t want it recurring. Certainly, if your furry friend has mites, you should also keep them away from other pets until they have been treated.


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