General Info on Mites
Mites are ectoparasites we pet owners shouldn’t underestimate, because their varied habitats make these spider-like insects very resilient. Mites live in the ground, at your pet’s sleeping places, and on rugs and other textiles. The parasitic mites like to infest dogs and cats, other mammals, and of course, us humans, too! The mite burrows in fur, on or even in the skin of its host and feasts on dander, bodily fluids and other organic tissues. Contrary to ticks and sand mosquitoes, mites are active all year round.
The most frequent mite infestation in cats and dogs is presented by ear mites (otodectes cynotis), autumn grass mites (neotrombicula autumnalis), and we also often diagnose Cheyletiella. Demodex and Sarcoptes mites are found predominantly on dogs, whereas Notoedres cati are mainly found on cats.
How Do I Know My Pet Has Mites?
Mite infestation in dogs and cats causes increased itching, because the parasites cause little infections on the skin and are very unpleasant for our pets. However, the specific symptoms depend on what kind of mite is present. While ear mites cause rashes and ear itching, demodex mites often remain undetected.
Symptoms of a Mite Infestation
- Increased itching
- Burning of the skin
- Rash or little blisters on the skin
- Red spots
- Dandruf formation
- Hair loss
- Bald patches
If you recognise these symptoms in your pet, consult your veterenarian, who will conduct a lab test to determine the kind of mite, and then suggest the right therapy.
Health Consequences of Mite Infestation
Each kind of mite has a different impact on the health of our pets, but some resulting diseases can even be life-threatening. Here are the most common conditions caused by mites:
Demodicosis (Skin Condition)
Demodex mites can trigger Demodicosis in dogs and cats. The localised version of this illness is mostly harmless and vanishes over time. However, generlised demodicois is a serious disease in both felines and canines. It’s very therapy-intensive and often indicates other underlying conditions and added bacterial infections. Demodicosis manifests in bald patches, dandruff, scabs, pustules, redness, scaling or leathery skin. Your vet should make a definitive diagnosis. In cats, demodicosis is rather rare.
This highly contagious condition, sarcoptes scabiei, is caused by grass mites and transmitted by direct skin contact or infected surroundings. The adult mites are laying eggs in the skin’s upper layer, and the larvae hatch within a couple of weeks. Sarcoptes Scabiei causes intense itching in dogs and cats. In the early stages, the disease shows on ears, at joints, snout and underbelly. The scratching causes redness, lesions, and skin infections. Scabs, dandruff and hardening of the skin are signs of advanced sarcoptic mange. The disease can transmit to humans. It is important to consult with your veterinarian if you suspect an infestation. Your vet can then recommend effective therapies for this disease.
This condition is similar to the sarcoptic mange, but is mostly found in cats. The symptoms are very similar and can be extremely unpleasant for cats. Untreated, notoedric mange can lead to serious complications and may even be fatal.
Otitis externa is an infection of your dog’s or cat’s external ear canal. In most cases, the cause is infestation by otodectes cynotis mites. This mite feeds on epidermal debris and tissue fluids from the superficial epidermis and excretes brownish discharge, leading to itching. Excessive scratching then can lead to redness and infections, and sometimes bacterial infections.
What To Do if My Pet Has Mites
Some mite infestations will vanish on their own, but others need to be treated with antiparasitic medication. If you’re suspecting mites, have your pet checked by the veterinarian.
AniForte Products We Recommend
If your veterinarian has diagnosed ear mites, use AniForte Ear Mite Oil Drops as a quick and safe ear care product that removes ear mites in just a few days.
Clean your pet’s ear with a moist wipe (baby wipes with panthenol for example, no oil please!) Apply 1-2 drops of product into the ear and lightly massage the ear, so the animal associates positive feelings with the treatment.
On the next day check for any discharge from the ear. Again clean with a baby wipe. Repeat the treatment. Then wait four days to repeat the procedure, then wait one week. After that regimen the ear mites should be gone.
To prevent new mite infestation, AniForte Mite-STOP Spray contains a combination of oils that create an environment naturally repellent to mites and lice.
Important to know: if mites are present, it's important to boost your pet's immune system. A great product we can recommend for both dogs and cats is AniForte MultiVETAL (powder or tablets), as it contains a whole range of valuable vitamins and minerals.
Home Remedies To Help With Mites
Frequently, home remedies, specifically 100% natural essential oils, have proven to be effective with these pesky ectoparasites:
- Coconut oil
- Eucalyptus oil
- Paraffin oil
- Evening Primrose oil
The oil can contribute to wound healing, helps repel the parasites and prevents infection. If you suspect ear mites in your dog or cat, apply a few drops of oil to a cotton cloth and carefully clean the ear. Repeat the procedure a few times.
Other Important Points
- With any mite infestation, washing your pet regularly is key. The best product to use is castile soap, as it is 100% natural.
- It’s also important to boost the immune system of infested pets, as the mites prefer hosts with an already compromised immune system.
- To prevent repeated mite infestation, regularly treat your pet with repellents, spot-ons or sprays, which are available without chemicals.
- Also, you’ll need to clean and disinfect the pet’s surroundings. Blankets and sleep spots need to be vacuumed, washed and disinfected. Rugs and carpets as well as upholstered furniture need to be cleaned thoroughly as well.