Dust mites are well-known to allergy sufferers, who can also tell you many tales of breathing difficulties and problems caused by mites. However, dust mites alone are not responsible for inducing significant harm to humans – there are many such freeloaders who make life difficult not only for us but also for our pets.

Basics

The first thing to do is – get rid of the mites. Then begin treating skin problems caused by mites, such as an irritated skin or a rash, eczema, hair loss, or allergic reactions to the parasites and their bites and stings.

Mites are ectoparasites, defined as parasites living on the outside of the host. Like ticks, they belong to the family of arachnids. Like fleas, mites cause severe skin irritations for their hosts – humans, dogs, cats, etc. Itchiness of the skin is often accompanied by scaling.

The parasites are usually invisible to the eye, but a vet can identify them with a microscopic examination. When dogs scratch incessantly, they easily get skin infections that generally require long-term intensive treatment.

Dogs frequently get ear mites (Otodectes cynotis), which form a thick black crust on the outer auditory canal. Consequently, the dog tends to shake its head hard all the time, and tries to scratch the ear with its claws. A vet prescribes effective treatment against the infestation of mites, like applying an ointment or drops into the ear canal and carefully cleaning it out daily..

Sarcoptids: this genus of mites causes cutaneous mange in dogs, cats, and humans. A highly infectious disease, this can also be transmitted from dogs and cats to humans. This itch mite is barely 0.25 mm in size and causes intense itching and emaciates the animal. Such an infestation forms skin papules (superficial solid elevations of the skin), which the animal tends to scratch open. These develop into highly suppurate (pus-filled) wounds. If this happens, don’t waste any time to take your dog to the vet for an examination and effective treatment.

Demodex: this genus of mites causes demodectic mange that weakens the immune system. The disease spreads rapidly and results in scaling, redness of the skin (red mange), and the outer skin layer becomes corneous or horny. If a vet diagnoses demodex in a dam or among the litter, the dam may no longer breed. This is because the lack of resistance to demodex is hereditary and can be passed on. The treatment can be very lengthy.

The larvae of autumn grass mites (Trombicula autumnalis) affect both dogs and humans. The larvae are orange colored, visible with the naked eye, and attack mostly between the toes, above the eyes, on and in ears, and around the groin. They cause very severe itching and redness of the skin. Once a vet diagnoses this, the treatment could involve effective washes, sprays, ointments, or other such compounds.

Hanspeter Kobold

Ibiza: 2002

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