General information on Pediculosis
Pediculosis, or lice, are wingless, flat, pale insects that are a couple of millimeters long. There are two types of lice. The first is biting lice of the Anoplura group. Biting lice chew on and feed on the skin. The second is sucking lice of the Mallophaga group. Sucking lice feed on the blood of the dog. Lice are uncommon in dogs and are usually only found on unkempt dogs. These lice will also lay their eggs, called nits, on the dog as well. The nits look similar to dandruff. Lice and their nits are typically found beneath matted hair. The most common areas that lice are found are around the head down to the shoulder and on the dog’s underbelly. Due to the fact that lice cause severe itchiness, it is not uncommon to find bald spots on an affected dog due to scratching. The lice that affect dogs do not affect people.
Symptoms of Pediculosis
Some of the symptoms of lice may be: severe itchiness, bald spots, matted unkempt hair, anemia, protein deficiency, and a visual spotting of the lice and/or nits.
Treatments for Pediculosis
The treatment for lice is insecticides. An insecticide shampoo or dip can be used. Although it is not essential, a pyrethrin spray or powder can be applied after the bath. This treatment will need to be repeated ten to fourteen days later for four weeks due to the fact that these treatments do not eliminate nits. The dog’s bedding should be thoroughly cleaned or thrown out as well as the area around where the dog sleeps. If the affected dog is frequently indoors, then a flea fogger can be used, but is not necessary due to the fact that lice do not live long off of their host. It is also important that the grooming tools used are thoroughly disinfected. Frontline plus is also approved for the treatment of lice on dogs. If the affected dog presents with symptoms of anemia and protein deficiency, iron supplements and vitamins may be required or, in severe cases, blood transfusions.
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