Mites in dogs - How my dog stays healthy part 8/33 - Tips for dog's health
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Mites in dogs
Mites are, like ticks, so called ectoparasites that infest the dog (host) from the outside and can cause various symptoms. Learn how to recognize and combat mites and what different types of mites in dogs exist.
Mites belong to the arachnids and are dependent for their survival on a host. There are numerous species of mites that can cause different symptoms in dogs. Importantly is, to recognize these parasites and to eliminate these as quickly as possible because the dogs in most species of mites are scratching theirselves and this can lead to inflammation and bacterial infections. If you have multiple pets in the household, you should treat all other pets as well because the risk of contagion is very high.
Detect mites in dogs
Mites can multiply very quickly. Often the parasites are not noticed, because some dogs are not scratching so often at the affected sites. Therefore, it is advisable to scan the dog from time to time with a flea comb and after that tap it on a cloth.
If you see small larvae or orange dots, are these mites. Unfortunately, you can’t detect all species of mites at low infestation with the naked eye. The dog follicle mite for example lives in the hair follicles of the animal and is not visible.
Depending on the mite species symptoms such as itching, dandruff or wrinkles, hair loss, increased sebum production, scaling and skin irritations can occur. In addition, there may be so-called secondary bacterial infections which are caused by the increased scratching or even biting of the dog.
If the symptoms mentioned should occur in your dog or you should recognize mites in your dog, so it is highly advisable to go to a vet who can treat the dog as soon as possible.
Common species of mites in dogs
There are different types of mites that can infest a dog. These can cause various symptoms in dogs. Some can be seen with the naked eye, others can only be detected by the symptoms and with the help of a veterinarian. The most common mites that infest dogs are:
- Grass mites
- Dog follicle mites (demodex mites)
- Mange mites
- Ear mites
Grass mites usually appear in early to late summer and live in grass and plants from which they can infest out the dog. The affected areas will cause an intense itching in dogs. The increased scratching of the dog is often the first indication of a grass mite infestation.
Although mites, with 0.25 millimeters, are very small, you can see them very well with the naked eye because of the orange color.
For treatment of grass mites anti-parasitic shampoos or Fipronil spray can help. Against the intense itching it can be administered an itch-relieving agent. As prophylaxis dog collars can be used for example, that mostly protect additionally from fleas and ticks. Also important is to clean the environment of your dog (blankets, baskets, etc.).
Dog follicle mites (demodex mites)
The dog follicle mites, also called demodex mites, cause the disease demodicosis. This mite species lives in the hair follicles of the dog and can thus be only identified with a sampling of the dog's skin by a microscope by a veterinarian. These mites are usually transmitted directly after the birth from the mother dog.
The demodicosis can be divided into local and generalized. In the local only limited areas, such as the forehead, nose, ears, eyelids or front legs are affected, that can cause dry and flaky skin and in some cases also hair loss.
Such a local demodicosis usually heals without treatment after several weeks again. Treatment can be done by the veterinarian with benzoyl peroxide, if after a few weeks no healing has occurred or you wish immediate treatment for the dog.
To be on the safe side you should have it checked by the vet and observe whether a complete healing, by taken skin samples, occurs.
In generalized demodicosis, the mites spread to the whole body. With more than five altered skin areas the vets are speaking of the generalized form. On every square centimeter up to 80,000 mites can live.
This must be treated by a veterinarian as soon as possible with an agent against these mites (such as the active ingredient ivermectin), as this can lead to serious diseases caused by bacterial infections that can be life-threatening for the four-legged friend.
Furthermore, it may lead to thickening and increased keratinization of the skin and you can often observe redness, dandruff and pustules. In general short-haired breeds, such as Beagle, Boxer, Dalmatian, Dachshund, Bulldog, Doberman, Pug or Shar Pei, become more often diseased at demodicosis as long-haired breeds.
As a supportive measure you should strengthen the immune system of the dog. These include high-quality, vitamin-rich food, avoiding stress or combat infectious diseases. The addition of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids strengthens the immune system and promotes skin health.
Mange in dogs is caused by three different mites (sarcoptes mites, dog follicle mites and cheyletiella mites). An infested dog with mange has very severe itching accompanied with skin problems, hair loss, dandruff and scabs. You can usually find the first hairless spots on the legs and ears.
Mange can be treated by the veterinarian by various agents such as selamectin, amitraz or ivermectin. Cheyletiella-mites, for example, are fought with a lime sulphur bath, which is repeated several times.
Ear mites invade and live in the auricle and the external auditory canal and are mostly transferred from dog to dog. This leads to a severe itching in the ear. The dogs scratch themselves, hold their head to the side or shake that often. In the ear canal of the dog you can see a brownish, crumbly secretion.
Frequent scratching can lead to open wounds which may ignite. Skin irritation and bruising may also occur at the ear and the cheek. In severe cases, even the eardrum can become inflamed, which can lead to a middle ear infection or, in rare cases to numbness.
For these reasons, the dog should be rapidly treated by a veterinarian. Mostly ear drops are used for treatment.
Checklist Mites in dogs
Checklist Mites in Dogs
Now you have a good overview of mites in dogs and the various treatment and preventive measures.
In the next part of this article series I will address the issue of "giardia in dogs". Until then, keep it puggy!
---> Giardia in dogs - How my dog stays healthy part 9/33
---> Fleas in dogs - How my dog stays healthy part 7/33
---> Ticks in dogs - How my dog stays healthy part 6/33
---> Worms in dogs - How my dog stays healthy part 5/33
---> Fever and cough in dogs - How my dog stays healthy part 4/33
---> Diarrhea in dogs - How my dog stays healthy part 3/33
---> Vaccinations for the dog - How my dog stays healthy - Part 2/33
---> Overview - How my dog stays healthy - Part 1/33 - Tips for dog's health