Sarcoptic Mange Or Scabies
This is the dog's most intensely irritating parasite-induced skin disease. It is less common on cats. The mite, microscopic in size and highly contagious, provokes chewing, licking and scratching that further damages the skin. Affected dogs scratch intensely. Cats lick obsessively.
Diagnosis and treatment
Skin scrapings of affected areas reveal mites that have burrowed a few millimetres under the skin to lay their eggs. It is often difficult to find mites on skin scrapings so e often use a blood test for scabies. A presumptive diagnosis is made if an affected pet has a history of contact with other pets or foxes or regions where carrier animals have been, has classically intensive itchiness and responds to treatment with Stronghold or Advantage. In some instances weekly shampoo treatment with Amitraz is necessary.
These large, transparent, highly contagious mites are most common in commercial kennels, catteries and breeding establishments with poor hygiene. Affected puppies and kittens develop moderate to thick dandruff from the neck down the back to the tail. The ears are sometimes affected. Some puppies or kittens are itchy but many if not most are not. Mites are seen under microscopic examination of coat brushings, sticky tape application or skin scapings. A variety of insecticides including Frontline and Advantage are effective.
Demodex mites are natural cigar-shaped inhabitants of hair follicles in most animals (including us). Unlike other external parasites they are not contagious. Mothers pass these mites to their puppies within a few days of birth. These mites cause clinical problems when the skin's normal immune protection fails. In a juvenile form of disease, affected puppies suffer from relatively mild and local hair loss. In the more severe and uncommon adult form, disease expands from local to generalised and may be life-threatening. We use a variety of spot-on treatments.
Ear mites, Otodectes cynotis, are common in dogs and cats and fortunately respond to a variety of spot-on treatments.
Lice are now rare in London but when diagnosed respond to a variety of spot-on treatments