Parasite Prevention – Mites

Cat Schratching Its HeadIf you see your pet scratching or digging at their ears, your pet could have ear mites. This microscopic parasite easily passes from one pet to another and can cause irritation and discomfort. Ear mites usually leave a brown or black crust in the pinna, or outer ear. By taking a sample, preparing it and looking at it under high magnification, your pet’s doctor can diagnose an ear mite problem and prescribe the proper medication.

ear miteMites can live on your pet’s skin and cause an allergic reaction that result in itching, irritation and can lead to hair loss and skin infections. Most commonly we see infestations of Sarcoptic or Demodectic Mange mites. Mange is highly contagious: dogs can easily catch it from other dogs they come in contact with in shelters, in kennels, at the groomer, or in other situations. If one dog in a multi-dog household is diagnosed for mites, the other dogs will generally have to be treated as well. The best solution to mange is to catch the condition early, while it’s still easy to treat. Sarcoptic mange, also known as scabies, is transmittable to humans. By performing a test called a skin scrape you pet’s doctor can confirm the presence of any mites. A skin scrape is a diagnostic test in which one or several small areas of your pet’s skin is scraped with a scalpel blade to remove the top layer of skin. This sample is then prepared on a slide and viewed under high powered microscope. Once a diagnosis is made your pet’s doctor will prescribe medication. Our doctors recommend Revolution (selamectin), a topical product on the market approved by the FDA that is labeled for use in the prevention and treatment of sarcoptic mites, other medications are prescribed for other types of mange.

Please visit the Companion Animal Parasite Council for a map of what parasites your pet may be in contact with. The Companion Animal Parasite Council is a non-profit, independent group of experts that includes veterinarians and veterinary parasitologists.

Click on the categories below for more information about parasite prevention:

Intestinal & Heartworm Parasites
External Parasites