What are Fur Mites?
Fur mites, otherwise known as Cheyletiella mites are larger than most other mites affecting dogs, and can actually be seen by the naked eye if you look closely enough. These mites can cause Cheyletiella mange which is characterized by skin irritation, hair loss, itching, and dandruff. In fact, the condition is often referred to as "walking dandruff" as the mites move around under the scales and skin flakes on your pet giving the impression of moving dandruff.
Fur mites can live in the environment without a host for up to 10 days and so it is fairly common for bedding and carpeting to become contaminated if your canine has fur mites. In addition, fur mites can also temporarily affect humans causing itchiness and skin irritation, and even painful skin lesions in severe cases.
What Causes Fur Mites?
Fur mites on dogs and cats are very contagious and are easily transmitted from pet to pet through direct contact or through contact with contaminated environments. The entire life-cycle of the fur mite is approximately 3 weeks and during this time the female will lay a number of eggs. These eggs can also contaminate the environment causing re-infestation if not treated in addition to the affected pets.
Diagnosing Fur Mites
For mites can often be detected by the naked eye if you look closely enough, however, they are still quite small and a magnifying glass is often necessary. Your vet will probably examine your pet’s skin and fur with a magnifying glass; do skin scrapings, or combings to detect the fur mites and their eggs.
Help for Fur Mites
In the past, most conventional flea programs could be used to control both fleas and fur mites in dogs and cats. However, newer, safer flea products tend to be less effective that the older pyrethrin-based flea treatments. Today, conventional treatment of a fur mite infestation usually includes chemical based lotions, shampoos or dips. These products often contain chemicals such as pyrethrin, lime sulfur, fipronil, or selamectin.
An injection or oral dose of ivermectin is also a possible treatment; however, this is not an option for herding dogs such as collies as normal dosages of this drug could be fatal for these breeds.
Conventional treatments of fur mites often include harsh chemicals which may cause a number of unwanted side effects. Luckily, there are natural alternative that have been used with great success to treat pets with mites and mange. Garlic is one example of such herb and it is one that has become renowned for its natural repellent and antibacterial properties.
In addition, Wormwood acts as a natural pesticide has been used for centuries as a natural parasite repellant. Neem and Lemongrass also act as natural insecticides and their natural skin healing properties help to soothe irritated skin and promote healing after a nasty mite infestation.
Lastly, the herbal ingredients Niaoli works as an antiseptic, and helps to cleansing and heal the skin. It also works as an excellent tissue stimulant and can be given to pets to help the skin heal and re-build after a mange infestation.