Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Parasites Part 8: Lice

Lice are uncommon parasites that occur in many species of animals.  Lice are very species specific-dog lice only affect dogs, cat lice affect cats, human lice affect humans, etc.  Although it is possible for occasional crossover they don't survive long off their intended host.

Pets get lice by direct contact with other inected animals or by contact with egg infested grooming equipment, bedding, etc.  Lice are most common in unsanitry and crowded conditions.  Lice live their entire 21 day life cycle on the pet and can cause itching, hair loss, scruffy and flaky coat.  There are two kinds of lice that affect dogs-one that chews skin and one that sucks blood.  Although anemia is possible from the blood suckers this is usually on an issue in very small puppies.

Lice can be diagnosed with the naked eye.  They are also easy to treat as they are susceptible to many of the available flea products such as Frontline or Revolution.  Treatments are often performed at 2 week intervals for 3-4 treatments.  Washing or disposing of bedding is also a good idea.

Zoonotic Potential
As mentioned above you don't need to worry about getting lice from your pet.  Just your child.

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