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Advice from Dr. Lindsey: How to Deal With Skin Parasites

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Authored by: Dr. Lindsey, DVM

Yes, seasonal allergies are a big cause of itchy skin in dogs, but they are not the only cause of itching. Some other causes of itching could be flea bite dermatitis, contact dermatitis, or skin parasites. Skin parasites can also be called external parasites because they live on the outside of the body. Today I will talk more about those pesky skin bugs.

Skin parasites may be highly contagious like in the case of sarcoptic mange or not contagious like demodectic mange. The highly contagious parasites can sometimes be passed to humans. Dogs can get infected with the highly contagious parasites from being in close contact with an infected dog, bedding, or grooming items. It’s normal to have a few of the non- contagious parasites on the skin and if the immune system is working properly, the parasite doesn’t cause harm. Potential clinical signs of skin parasites include itching, hair loss, redness, or crusting on the skin. The degree of itchiness depends on the parasite. Some skin parasites like to localize to certain areas on the body such as around the eyes and mouth or areas with less fur like the elbows and abdomen. Skin parasites are diagnosed by your veterinarian by performing a skin scrape and looking at it under the microscope. The veterinarian will prescribe medication for the treatment of these parasites. Sometimes the home environment and bedding also need to be treated.

Pet Honesty’s Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil can help promote healthy skin and maintain a healthy and glossy coat. The salmon oil also supports heart and joint health. It’s not diluted with any other oils and contains EPA and DHA. Ask your veterinarian if the Pet Honesty supplements may be right for your pet.



Dr. Lindsey graduated from Colorado State University in 2009 and works in general practice, shelter medicine, and more recently as a civilian contractor veterinarian for the Army. She is also certified in acupuncture and resides in Palm Springs, CA.