External Parasites- Most Common Puppy Parasites
External Parasites- Most Common Puppy Parasites
At some point in their lives, most dogs experience discomfort caused by external parasites.
There are many medications available to treat these parasites if your dog is affected by them. Your dog’s veterinarian is the best person to advise you which medication or medications are necessary.
Parasites such as fleas, ticks, and ear mites can be prevented before they ever affect your dog. Products such as Frontline Plus, Revolution, Advantage, and many others can be used as directed by their manufacturer (usually monthly, unless directed otherwise by your dog’s veterinarian) to keep your dog free of parasites like fleas and ticks. These products are simple to use and usually quite effective if used properly.
Important Points For Dealing With The Most Common Puppy Parasites
- Look for fleas, ticks, and coat abnormalities any time you groom your dog.
- Contact your dog’s veterinarian if your dog scratches excessively, chews, or licks his/her haircoat excessively, or if your dog persistently shakes his/her head. These clinical signs may indicate the presence of external parasites or other conditions requiring medical care.
- Prompt treatment of parasites will lessen your dog�s discomfort, decrease the chances of disease transmission from the parasite to your dog, and may reduce the degree of home infestation.
- Discuss the health of all family dogs with your veterinarian when one dog becomes infested. Some parasites cycle among dogs, making control of infestations difficult unless other dogs are considered. Consult your dog�s doctor before beginning treatment.
- Tell your dog�s doctor if you have attempted any parasite remedies, as this may impact medical recommendations.
- Be especially careful when applying insecticides to cats, as cats are particularly sensitive to these products. Never use a product on a cat that is not approved specifically for cats, as the results could be lethal.
- Follow label directions carefully.
- Leave treatment to the experts. Your veterinarian offers technical expertise and can assist you in identifying products that are most likely to effectively and safely control your dog�s parasite problem.
Below are some of the more common external parasites.
External Parasites- Most Common Puppy
Fleas thrive when the weather is warm and humid. Your dog can pick up fleas wherever an infestation exists, often in areas frequented by other cats and dogs.
Indoor dogs can acquire fleas as easily as outdoor dogs do through owners who carry fleas home on clothing or through fleas coming through openings in doors and screens.
Adult fleas are dark brown, no bigger than a sesame seed, and able to move rapidly over your dog’s skin. You might not even know that your dog has fleas until their number increases to the point that your dog is visibly uncomfortable.
Signs of flea problems range from mild irritation to severe itching that can lead to open sores and skin infection.
One of the first things you might notice on a dog with fleas is “flea dirt,” the black flea droppings left on your dog’s coat.
Dogs and, less commonly, cats can acquire ticks by investigating shrubbery, brush, or wild undergrowth.
Ticks have a four-stage life cycle, and immature ticks often feed on small, wild animals found in forests, prairies, and brush. Adult ticks seek larger hosts like dogs and cats who venture into these habitats.
Tick exposure is usually seasonal, during the warmer months.
Ticks are most often found around your dog’s neck, in the ears, in the folds between the legs and the body, and between the toes. Cats may have ticks on their neck or face.
Tick bites can cause skin irritation.
Ticks are also capable of spreading serious infectious diseases to the dogs and people on which they feed, including Lyme disease and ehrlichiosis.
Prompt removal of ticks is very important because it lessens the chance of disease transmission from the tick to your dog.
Remove ticks by carefully using tweezers to firmly grip the tick as close to your dog�s skin as possible and gently pulling the tick free. After removing the tick, crush it, avoiding contact with tick fluids that can carry disease, and clean the affected skin area with a disinfectant like alcohol.
Ear mites are common in young cats and dogs and generally confine themselves to the ears and surrounding area.
Mites are tiny and only seen with a microscope.
Your dog can pick up ear mites by close contact with an infected dog or its bedding.
Ear mites can cause intense irritation of the ear canal. Signs of ear mite infestation include excessive head shaking and scratching of the ears. Your dog may scratch to the point that he/she creates bleeding sores around the ears. A brown or black ear discharge is common.
Medications such as Revolution can effectively kill ear mites. Your dog�s veterinarian may also advise cleaning the ears to remove debris and even treating the ear canals with medication to decrease the inflammation in order to make your dog more comfortable.
Sarcoptic Mange Mites:
Sarcoptic mange, or scabies, is caused by the sarcoptic mange mite.
Sarcoptic mange mites affect dogs of all ages, during any time of the year.
Sarcoptic mange mites are highly contagious to other dogs and may be passed on by close contact with infected animals, bedding, or grooming tools.
Sarcoptic mange mites burrow through the top layer of your dog�s skin and cause intense itching. Clinical signs include generalized hair loss, a skin rash, and crusting.
Skin infections may develop secondary to the intense irritation.
People who come in close contact with an affected dog may develop a rash and should see their physician.
Dogs with sarcoptic mange require medication to kill the mites and additional treatment to soothe the skin and resolve related infections. Cleaning and treatment of the dog’s environment can be beneficial.
Demodectic Mange Mites:
Demodectic mange is caused by the demodectic mange mite and is mainly a problem in dogs.
Demodectic mange mites are microscopic, cigar-shaped, and not highly contagious. However, a mother dog may pass the mites to her puppies.
Localized demodectic mange tends to appear in young dogs as patches of scaliness and redness around the eyes and mouth and, perhaps, the legs and trunk.
Less commonly, affected dogs experience a generalized form of demodectic mange and can exhibit widespread patches of redness, hair loss, and scaliness.
Unlike other types of mange, demodectic mange may signal an underlying medical condition, and your dog�s overall health should be carefully evaluated.
Your veterinarian will discuss treatment options with you.
Treatment of dogs with localized demodectic mange generally results in a favorable outcome.
Generalized demodectic mange, however, may be difficult to treat, and treatment may only control the condition, rather than cure it.