The most common external parasites we see here at Pet Kare are chewing lice and sucking lice. These forms of lice are not zoonotic, which means they cannot live on a human host. However, they are highly contagious to other dogs. If your dog is diagnosed with lice, they must be kept away from other dogs for at least 2 months while they are being treated. The symptoms of lice in dogs is usually itching andmay include hair loss but some some dogs do not show symptoms. Both forms of lice are very small but they can be seen by the naked eye. Fortunately, the treatment and prevention is simple. It comes in the form of a monthly chewable tablet, called Simparica which also prevents flea and tick infestation. Unlike fleas and ticks, lice is more common in the winter months which is why we recommend keeping dogs on Simparica year-round.
Other common external parasites include:
- Ticks – Ticks are relatively common in our area, especially when we’ve had a wet spring. The 2 types of
ticks we have in our area are the Rocky Mountain wood tick and American dog tick. The tick-borne diseases that can originate in Colorado are erlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and anaplasmosis. The treatment/prevention for fleas is the monthly medication Simparica. Tick-borne diseases are much more common in dogs than in cats.
- Fleas – Fleas are not extremely common in the cold environment of the Yampa Valley but they do exist in certain areas in the summer where your pet can contract them. The treatment/prevention for fleas is the monthly medication Simparica.
- Ear mites – Ear mites are not common in our area but we sometimes find them in pets that were adopted elsewhere and brought here. They are more common in cats than in dogs and are relatively easily treated. Symptoms include itchy ears and excessive head shaking.
- Mange mites – We do diagnose a fair amount of mange in our area. The 2 most common types we see are demodectic mange and sarcoptic mange.
- Demodectic mange is caused by the genus Demodex, which is a mite that lives in the hair follicles of mammals. The condition of mange occurs when the Demodex population overwhelms the pet’s immune system. The most common symptom of mange is hair loss. A diagnosis can be made by obtaining a sample of the skin by a skin scraping and microscopic examination of the sample. This condition is much more common in dogs than in cats. The treatment for demodectic mange is Simparica.
- Sarcoptic mange is caused by the organism Sarcoptes scabiei, and is also referred to as scabies. This mite
burrows into the skin and causes a rash and hair loss. A diagnosis can be made by obtaining a sample of the skin by a skin scraping and microscopic examination of the sample. The treatment for sarcoptic mange is Simparica. Sarcoptic mange is not found in cats.
For more information on parasites in dogs, please visit:
For more information on parasites in cats, please visit: