Mites

Image of veterinarian cleaning a cat's ears.

There are many types of mites that infect dogs, cats, and other animals. Mites are microscopic arthropod parasites that, for the most part, infect the skin or mucous membranes. Mites can even be present on birds and reptiles. The most common mites that infect dogs and cats are ear mites, Demodex, scabies, and Cheyletiella.

Ear mites are very common on cats and are occasionally seen on dogs. They live primarily in the ear canals and can cause severe irritation. They are easily transmitted between pets, so if they are found in one pet, all pets in contact should be treated. A different species of ear mite can infect rabbits.

Demodex is a mite that all dogs are exposed to, but only a small percentage of dogs develop skin problems. In young puppies, it usually causes small areas of hair loss especially on the head and front legs. Adult dogs tend to show more generalized symptoms, and usually have more red, itchy skin lesions. Adult dogs that develop Demodex usually have another disease such as hypothyroidism, Cushings, or cancer that suppresses the immune system and allows the Demodex to increase in numbers and cause lesions. It is now recognized that cats have their own species of Demodex, but the disease is much more rare in cats.

Scabies is a skin disease in dogs or people caused by the mite Sarcoptes. Most dogs with this disease are intensely itchy. Scabies is highly contagious, but not all dogs in contact are as itchy. People also have their own species of Sarcoptes; most of their cases are due to the human scabies mite, but it is possible for people to develop lesions from the dog scabies mite.

Cheyletiella species of mites can be seen in rabbits and dogs. It is especially seen in puppies as large flakes of scale and is sometimes called "walking dandruff." There is no one treatment that will kill all the types of mites discussed here. Your veterinarian can advise you on the various treatments for each problem.

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Park City Office

Monday:

8:00 am-5:30 pm

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  • "I want to thank Dr Carl for being the most compassionate vet I know. You took care our dog in an emergency, making room in your schedule, that very moment when she needed the most, when no other Vet in PC would. We are also very happy to have you taking the same good care of our Dexter, a strong 4 years old American Bulldog in such friendly way. Thank you for you being so great in what you do!"
  • "Dr. Prior's energy, skill and compassion have given each of our dogs a greater quality of life."
  • "I just wanted to say thank you for all your help today, not only for the help you provided Dozer but also for the help that you didn't have to provide for us. You are amazing people. I wish there were more people like you in the world. If not for you and the help you gave Dozer this would have turned out to be a totaly diffrent and very sad day for me and my family. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. YOU ARE TRUELY AMAZING PEOPLE!"