Dealing with Mites in Boston Terriers

Many Boston Terriers have sensitive skin which can increase their risk for infection and topical allergies. Another problem that sometimes affects this breed is demodectic mange, or mites. As small as they are, mites can cause big problems for a dog – especially in a breed with sensitive skin. Keep reading to learn more about demodectic mange including its causes, symptoms, and treatment options.

Types of Mites in Dogs

Mites are very small parasites that feed on the skin of their hosts. There are many different types of mites, but four of them are known to affect dogs in particular – here is an overview:

  • Demodex canis– These mites are responsible for demodectic mange and they reproduce very quickly, causing serious irritation and inflammation in the skin. This type of mange is also known as “red mange” for this reason and it may be localized to one or two areas on the body or it can spread throughout.
  • Cheletiella– This mite is responsible for a condition known as cheyletiellosis, or walking dandruff. These mites cause a skin condition that presents in a similar way to a flea infestation, causing excessive scratching, visible scaling, and skin irritation.
  • Sarcoptes scabiei– These mites cause sarcoptic mange and thy actually burrow into the dog’s skin, causing serious itching and irritation. The itching causes many dogs to scratch excessively, so much that they may lose their hair. Many dogs also develop a crust over the affected area.
  • Otodectes cynotis– This type of mite is known to affect the ears in particular. Technically considered a type of mange, ear mites typically affect the outer part of a dog’s ear and they are very contagious.

Mites are present in small numbers in most dogs, though you wouldn’t even know it. It is unclear why some dogs seem to be more susceptible to mite problems than others, though stress may play a role in increasing your Boston Terrier’s susceptibility. There may also be a genetic component – an inherited defect of the dog’s immune system.

How to Deal with Mites in Dogs

The first step in dealing with mites in your Boston Terrier is to take him to the vet for an examination. The veterinarian will be able to evaluate the severity of your dog’s condition and may also be able to determine what type of mites he has. From there, the two of you will determine which treatment plan is best for your dog. In many cases, bathing the dog with a medicated shampoo helps to kill the mites and to relieve itching and pain. Depending what type of mite your dog has, a topical flea and tick preventive might help to kill the parasites. Your dog may need additional bathing over the next week or two to remove skin scales and to keep the skin clean so it heals properly.

In addition to treating your dog for mites, you’ll also need to do a thorough cleaning of your home to keep them from coming back. Don’t forget to clean your dog’s bedding as well as the carpets, rubs, and upholstered furniture in your home.

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