Educational Articles

Dogs + Parasites

  • Anaplasmosis is a disease that affects dogs, but can also affect people. It rarely affects cats. Multiple species of ticks can transmit the disease. Diagnosis is relatively simple and treatment is effective.

  • Histoplasmosis is a chronic, non-contagious fungal infection caused by the soil-dwelling fungus Histoplasma capsulatum. Histoplasma capsulatum is found globally and may infect both humans and animals. However, histoplasmosis is uncommon to rare in all but dogs and cats.

  • Cheyletiellosis is an uncommon but highly contagious skin parasite of dogs, cats and rabbits caused by Cheyletiella spp. mites. It is also referred to as walking dandruff due to the appearance of the large, whitish mites as they crawl across skin and fur, and the excessive scaling that accompanies the infection.

  • Coccidiosis is an intestinal tract infection caused by a single-celled organism (protozoa) called coccidia. Some infections in dogs are not associated with any detectable clinical signs; however, puppies and debilitated adult dogs may have severe watery diarrhea, dehydration, abdominal distress, and vomiting. The most common drug used to eliminate coccidia is a sulfa-type antibiotic, sulfadimethoxine. Reinfection of susceptible dogs is common, so environmental disinfection is important. Good hygiene and proper disposal of dog feces are important in minimizing the risk of transmission of all canine parasites to humans or other animals.

  • Cuterebra is the genus or scientific family name of the North American botfly. Twenty-six species of Cuterebra are known to occur in the U.S. and Canada. Botflies are also found in Mexico and the neotropical region. Cuterebra larvae develop within the tissues of certain animal hosts, and during this phase of their life cycle, they are commonly referred to as 'warbles'.

  • Mange is a parasitic skin disease caused by microscopic mites. Two different mange mites cause skin disease in dogs. Demodectic mange, sometimes just called 'demodex' or 'red mange', is the most common form of mange in dogs. Demodectic mange most often occurs when a dog has an immature immune system, allowing the number of skin mites to increase rapidly.

  • Dipping for demodectic mange may be done by the veterinary health team, or at the owner's home. These instructions will help the dog owner treat their pet for mange in their home.

  • The ear mite is a surface mite that lives on cats, dogs, rabbits, and ferrets. It is usually found in the ear canal but it can also live on the skin surface. Ear mites are a common cause of ear disease and infection. Infestations are a very common problem in puppies and kittens, although pets of any age can be affected.

  • Flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) is a leading cause of allergic reactions in dogs. It is the antigens or proteins in the flea saliva that cause an intensely itchy response to sensitive dogs. Itching and hair loss in the region from the middle of the back to the tail base and down the rear legs (the flea triangle) is often associated with FAD. Strict flea control is essential in the prevention and treatment of FAD. Occasionally corticosteroids are used to reduce the itching in patients with severe signs of FAD.

  • Successful flea control involves both eliminating fleas from your dog and controlling fleas in your environment. Dogs and cats share the same fleas, and fleas can travel from one animal to another. Therefore, it is important that all pets in your home are on a flea preventive program. Successful flea control includes treating both your pet(s) and the environment.