Worm Advice


page14-15What do they look like and where do they live?

  • The mite Demodex canis, which affects dogs, lives on the skin
  • Cats can be infected by Demodex mites called Demodex cati, but skin disease caused by these mites is rare in cats
  • The adult mite, Demodex canis is a slender mite with eight short stubby legs and a long body, often described as “cigar shaped”

How can my pet contract Demodex?

  • There is only one instance in which Demodex mites can be transferred between dogs; and this is when the mites are transmitted from the bitch to her pups, via direct contact
  • Other than during this brief period, the mite is not contagious
  • The affected puppies will carry the mite on their skin for the rest of their lives. Many of these animals never go on to develop skin disease; it is only in certain individuals where the mites multiply in numbers and cause disease

How will this parasite affect my pet?

  • In certain individuals, the dog becomes unable to keep the mite numbers under control; the mite numbers increase drastically, and start to cause clinical signs of skin disease
  • Disease caused by Demodex mites is called demodicosis, and symptoms include hair loss and inflamed patches of skin
  • The skin disease caused by this mite ranges from mild disease through to a severe condition

Can this parasite affect my health?

  • This mite is not considered to be a significant risk to humans

Behaviour Secrets Revealed...
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The Human Risk

Parasites are unpleasant and can, in some cases, transmit fatal diseases to dogs and cats. However, one of the most worrying human risks comes from the roundworm 'Toxocara' . In rare cases, if ingested by a human this parasite can move to the back of the eye and cause blindness!

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Lungworm in Dogs

Due to the serious nature of this parasite a regular preventative treatment should be considered if you frequently see slugs or snails in your locality. Slugs and snails are on the increase and dogs can swallow these accidentally. Standard wormers do not prevent this parasite; so speak to your vet for more advice.

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