Fleas, lice, mites

Fleas, lice, mites

Our dogs and kittens can be attacked by various small creatures and with their presence and blood-sucking, they can make our little animals anxious and cause itching.

Fleas, lice, mites

Our dogs and kittens can be attacked by various small creatures and with their presence and blood-sucking, they can make our little animals anxious and cause itching.


Something is moving on our pet, but what?

These tiny creatures are called external parasites, because they live on the external body surfaces, skin, and external ear canals of our pets. Some suck blood, others consume epithelial and epithelial remnants. However, these parasites hide quite well, they hide in areas covered with hair, and are difficult to notice, so often, if we see something larger and more insect-like moving around our pet, it has probably just accidentally gotten into it and is trying to leave. Among the insects, we must definitely protect our pets from flies, as some of their species like to lay their eggs on wounded skin areas and the larvae that hatch from the eggs form a rash. Mosquitoes are notorious for spreading heartworm larvae in addition to their bites, but other than that, larger bugs or insects are usually harmless and only temporary visitors.

In order to spot fleas, lice or mites, we have to be more attentive, the owners usually do not notice the external parasites themselves, but pay attention to the complaints that develop as a result of these parasites.


What do we need to know about fleas?

Fleas are dark brown, vertically flattened small creatures the size of a grain of rice, which can really make huge jumps, but if we look for them on our pet, we can usually only see them as a small brown spot that quickly runs through. If there are few fleas, it is easier to find their excrement, because it is scattered in the fur and can be collected more easily with the help of a flea comb. The flea excrement emits a characteristic red color due to the blood it has consumed under the influence of water. For fleas, only the mature individual is present on the body of our pet, the eggs and larvae develop in floor cracks, deep in carpets, and then at the end of their development they jump back onto our pets.

In addition to irritating our pets with their bites, fleas also play a role in the spread of the cucumber seed tapeworm. The worm develops in the fleas and while the dog tries to clean itself of the fleas and therefore eats one or two of them, it often becomes infected with the worm as well. Dogs and cats with fleas scratch a lot all over the body, but mainly in the groin area, individuals allergic to flea saliva can produce more severe symptoms, even to the presence of a flea. Flea-allergic dogs have characteristic sores in the lumbar region, a "hot spot", while cats are more characterized by the development of "miliary dermatitis" in lumps that appear all over the body.

Treating fleas is quite a complex task, in addition to flea extermination, thorough disinfection of the environment and deworming are also important.


What should we know about lice?

Lice is a relatively rare disease. Lice on our pets behave similarly to lice on children. Lice are black, flat parasites that are slightly smaller than fleas. Their characteristic is that their eggs do not develop scattered in the environment, but stuck to the hairs. These eggs are also called eggs. Scratching is also the leading symptom of lousy animals.


What should we know about mites?

Mites are even smaller than fleas and lice. There are several types of mites that can occur on our pets. Predatory mites, hair follicle mites or mange mites may appear.

Among these, we may still have a chance to identify predatory mites without a microscope. Predatory mites are also often referred to as migrating dandruff, because with their whitish translucent color and small size, they resemble a piece of dying epidermis, i.e. dandruff, but unlike dandruff that stays in one place, they are constantly on the move. They eat bits of dead skin, they don't suck blood.

True to their name, hair follicle mites parasitize along the hairs. These parasites no longer hide on the surface of your body, but deeper, and their size is also microscopic. Hair follicle mites rarely cause symptoms, usually only in very young or old individuals with a weakened immune system, suffering from other skin problems, hair follicle mites appear generalized. Local changes are more common, e.g. foot infections. They often do not cause itching, even in the case of visible changes.

Prominent representatives of mites are the ones that cause ear mites in cats, which fill the external ear canals of our cats with debris that resembles coffee grounds. Our veterinarian can detect them with the help of an otoscope as small white spots in the debris, or confirm their presence by microscopic examination of earwax. They cause very painful scratching of the ears and it is also possible that they crawl out of the ears and cause damage to the forehead and face.

The suspicion of "real" mange mainly arises in small animals that may have met a fox, because it is very common among foxes. The edges of the auricles and the elbow area are the most frequently affected areas. They can induce terribly intense itching similar to ear mites. Animals suffering from scabies often scratch themselves bloody. Finding bedbugs is a headache even for professionals. Due to their tiny size, their location deep in the skin and their presence often far from the lesions, they become almost undetectable. Thus, a skin scraping test is often not enough to diagnose scabies, but may only be possible with a blood test and the search for anti-mite antibodies produced by the immune system in the blood. The other method is that in the case of thorough suspicion, our veterinarian will start treating your pet and then the success of the treatment can prove that the symptoms were really caused by scabies.

Many things can cause skin symptoms and itching in our pets, and infections with external parasites make up only a part of them, and different external parasites often develop similar symptoms, so it is often difficult to isolate exactly which one is causing the complaints in our pet. Treating pruritus is a very complex veterinary task.

Strengthening the immune system is a good decision in all cases, and Immunovet can also contribute to the relief of itching complaints, so it can be a good supplement in these cases as well.