External Parasites In Dogs: Mites, Mange and Maggots

Mites, Mange, and Maggots are all skin-related external parasites in dogs that can cause a series of problems for both dogs and their owners. If you learn to recognize the signs of these parasites and their treatment, you can ensure that your pet stays healthy.

Mites are insects that burrow into hair follicles and outer layers of the skin, feeding and reproducing there. The two most common types of mite, Sarcopties and Demodex, are the most responsible for mange-related diseases and skin conditions in pets. They can cause a number of symptoms, ranging from small patches of hair loss to larger patches, scabbing, redness, and sores all over the body.  Some external parasites in dogs, such as mites, make pets very itchy, so dogs may be seen scratching, biting, or chewing on the affected areas frequently, which could lead to more damage.

Maggots are the larvae of flies. Botfly larvae are the most common. These insect larvae are laid as eggs in areas of open wounds or other breaks in the skin on a pet’s body, including infected folds, infected wounds, or other orifices. The larvae then hatch and begin to feed on the infected and dying tissue, leading to bad smell, more infection, and an infestation of itchy, bothersome insects.

How Can I Prevent External Parasites in Dogs

Mites and Mange can be difficult to prevent, especially if there is an underlying skin condition or immune system problem that could make pets sick. However, examining your dog often for signs of any skin issues, such as hair loss, redness, or itch, can alert you to the early signs of illness, so you can ensure timely treatment.

Maggots may be prevented by keeping any open wound or infection clean and covered. Pets that are elderly or kept indoors should not be allowed to go out if there is an open wound or infection to help prevent flies from sucking on the wound and laying eggs. You should clean wounds with minor disinfectants and monitor for any signs of movement or larvae to keep owners alert to problems.

What Should I Do If I Suspect Mites, Mange, and Maggots

If you suspect that your dog has a case of Mites, Mange, or Maggots, there are several things you can do. The first step is to bring your dog to the vet for a complete examination. Your vet can take a look at any skin lesions to try and determine their cause. While allergies and bacterial infections are most common and may be treated first, your vet may perform a skin scrape test to look for mange and mites at the same time. Skin scraping can be looked at under a microscope or may be sent off to a lab for monitoring for 7-14 days to look for any signs of growth or activity.

Most pets who get mange suffer from compromised immunity as low immunity or breaks in the skin allow for mites to take hold. Mange is usually treated with an ivermectin treatment over a period of a few months, and any other underlying issues, such as immune system problems, bacterial infections, or allergies, are treated at the same time. Skin lesions will usually clear quickly with treatment; however, hair may take longer to grow back, depending on the amount of damage done to the skin and follicle.

If you suspect maggots, your vet can take a look at any wounds or infections for signs of larvae. Areas infected with maggots are usually cleaned and the larvae removed manually. In some larger infections, the dead tissue may also be trimmed and removed to prevent reinfestation. Large wounds may also need suturing or a drain placed to prevent the infection from growing back. Most vets will also provide antibiotics or other treatments to clear up the infection that attracted the flies in the first place. Mange, mites, and maggots will also benefit from an Elizabethan collar on your dog’s head to prevent any licking, chewing, or bothering of affected sites.

Natural Remedies for Treating External Parasites In Dogs

You should take steps to boost the immune system to treat mange in pets. Additives, such as Garlic, Rue, Wormwood, and Neem, may help. Topical salves with lemon juice, lavender, and apple cider vinegar may also be applied on the affected areas to kill mites and clear infection. There are several homeopathic treatments for mange, including Sulphur 30C Sepia 30C, and Arsenic Alb 30C. These should all be administered 2-3x daily for up to two weeks to provide relief.

Natural disinfectants and immune boosters may help treat maggots; however, if you spot maggots, it is important to immediately see your vet and get your furry friend medically examined. To prevent maggots in open wounds and boost the immune system, Garlic and Echinacea can be beneficial. Topical disinfectants, such as the one used for mange or applications of diluted ammonia, may help keep the wound clean. Calendula and St. John’s Wort can also be applied to the wound to accelerate healing. Hypericum 6 to 30C may also be used in treating wounds.

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