Educational Articles

Dogs + Parasites

  • Amitraz is a topical solution in the form of a medicated dip, spot-on treatment, or collar used to treat demodectic mange or for the prevention of flea and tick infestations. Common side effects include sedation, incoordination while walking, slow heart rate, gastrointestinal effects, skin irritation, and a temporary high blood sugar. This medication is contraindicated in very young, and used with caution in old, debilitated, diabetic, or small-breeds. While animals may exhibit signs of sedation, contact your veterinary office if your pet cannot be aroused from sleep or if the sedation lasts for more than 72 hours. Amitraz is toxic if swallowed, especially in the form of a collar, so contact your veterinary office immediately if this occurs. If they are not available, follow their directions in contacting an emergency facility.

  • Anaplasmosis is a disease that affects dogs, but can also affect people. It rarely affects cats. Multiple species of ticks can transmit the disease. Diagnosis is relatively simple and treatment is effective.

  • Cheyletiellosis is an uncommon but highly contagious skin parasite of dogs, cats and rabbits caused by Cheyletiella spp. mites. It is also referred to as walking dandruff due to the appearance of the large, whitish mites as they crawl across skin and fur, and the excessive scaling that accompanies the infection.

  • Coccidiosis is an intestinal tract infection caused by a single-celled organism (protozoa) called coccidia. Some infections in dogs are not associated with any detectable clinical signs; however, puppies and debilitated adult dogs may have severe watery diarrhea, dehydration, abdominal distress, and vomiting. The most common drug used to eliminate coccidia is a sulfa-type antibiotic, sulfadimethoxine. Reinfection of susceptible dogs is common, so environmental disinfection is important. Good hygiene and proper disposal of dog feces are important in minimizing the risk of transmission of all canine parasites to humans or other animals.

  • Cuterebra is the genus or scientific family name of the North American botfly. Twenty-six species of Cuterebra are known to occur in the U.S. and Canada. Botflies are also found in Mexico and the neotropical region. Cuterebra larvae develop within the tissues of certain animal hosts, and during this phase of their life cycle, they are commonly referred to as 'warbles'.

  • Mange is a parasitic skin disease caused by microscopic mites. Two different mange mites cause skin disease in dogs. Demodectic mange, sometimes just called 'demodex' or 'red mange', is the most common form of mange in dogs. Demodectic mange most often occurs when a dog has an immature immune system, allowing the number of skin mites to increase rapidly.

  • Dipping for demodectic mange may be done by the veterinary health team, or at the owner's home. These instructions will help the dog owner treat their pet for mange in their home.

  • The ear mite is a surface mite that lives on cats, dogs, rabbits, and ferrets. It is usually found in the ear canal but it can also live on the skin surface. Ear mites are a common cause of ear disease and infection. Infestations are a very common problem in puppies and kittens, although pets of any age can be affected.

  • Echinococcus multilocularis is a tapeworm species that is found in the Northern Hemisphere. Dogs, cats, and humans are all susceptible to infection by E. multilocularis, along with additional species. While the parasite typically produces no clinical sign in cats, it can have life-threatening effects in humans. E. multilocularis is impossible to distinguish from other tapeworm species without specialized testing, but it responds to the same dewormers that are used to treat other tapeworm species. Therefore, pets suspected of having tapeworms should be treated promptly and care should be taken to avoid direct contact with animal feces.

  • Flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) is a leading cause of allergic reactions in dogs. It is the antigens or proteins in the flea saliva that cause an intensely itchy response to sensitive dogs. Itching and hair loss in the region from the middle of the back to the tail base and down the rear legs (the flea triangle) is often associated with FAD. Strict flea control is essential in the prevention and treatment of FAD. Occasionally corticosteroids are used to reduce the itching in patients with severe signs of FAD.

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