When we examine your pets’ skin, fur and ears, we are looking for signs of parasites, such as lice and mites. Lice and mites can cause a range of symptoms in varying degrees of severity, depending on the level of infestation - factors affecting this include the health status of the pet and the length of time the infection has progressed for. Mild symptoms can be quickly treated and dealt with whilst more established infections can take longer to resolve.
Never be tempted to self-diagnose your pets skin irritation and treat them with something purchased over the counter - this can be dangerous for your pet and its really important they have an examination by the vet, so we can properly identify the source of the problem and treat them accordingly.
Mites can be divided into two groups- the burrowing mites and surface mites that live and feed amongst skin debris on the surface of the skin - they are often not host specific and can be transferred between species. To diagnose skin mites the vet may take coat brushings, plucks, skin scrapings and sometimes blood samples from your pet. We will examine the samples microscopically and then decide on the best treatment options for your pet. Mites commonly identified include Sarcoptic and Demodectic mange mites - these mites live in the skin and hair follicle and can lead to horrendous, intensely irritating and painful skin infections if left untreated. Harvest mites can be picked up in rural areas - they can cause very itchy feet and legs. Cheyletiella mites are often describes as walking dandruff - we will often take a tape sample of your pets’ dandruff to identify them then prescribe some treatment.
Ear Mites are also a common problem in animals, and we will always examine the ears of our furry friends to check for evidence of these irritating infections. Regular flea treatments if appropriate for the species should help keep this problem at bay.
If your pet is scratching at themselves or their ears or if they have signs of a skin infection its so important they are examined before treatment so we can decide on the best course of action - also, although ear mites are quite common it can often be a different type of problem affecting ears such as an allergy, that requires further investigation and an appropriate treatment plan.
As mites may be at various stages of their life cycle on your pet, we may often recommend repeat treatments in order to fully eliminate them.
Lice are insects that can be either biting or sucking - they are host specific and prefer to spend their entire life on one animal but can be spread by close contact. We mainly see lice on young animals and large numbers can cause problems - if you suspect lice have infected your pet please do pop them in for examination and treatment.