Below are some of the more common mites that may affect your dog:
Cheyletiellosis or 'walking dandruff'
Infestation may be common in multiple dog households, kennels and in young puppies. These mites may spread directly between dogs, cats and rabbits, and will also transiently infest humans where they cause an itchy red rash. Infestation in dogs causes skin irritation and scaly skin or 'dandruff', especially along the back.
The mites can also survive for a few weeks in the environment. All in-contact animals should be checked and treated, and the environment should be treated as for a flea infestation. Adult dogs often become carriers showing few signs of infestation. For treatment seek your veterinarian's advice.
Ear mites or otodectic mange
Ear mites live in the ear canals of dogs and cats, and only survive for a short time in the environment. They are spread by direct contact between animals, and particularly to puppies from their mother. Inflammation of the ear canal causes irritation, head-shaking and ear-scratching, and a brown discharge may accumulate in the ears. If you suspect your puppy has ear mites consult the veterinarian for appropriate treatment.
Sarcoptic mites burrow into the skin of dogs. The mites spend most of their time in the skin tunnel, coming to the surface only to mate and to spread by direct contact. They survive very short periods off the host and may cause short-lived human infestation with an associated rash.
The presence of mites causes severe inflammation. Dogs will scratch, causing marked skin damage, particularly affecting the elbows and hindlegs. Infestations may become generalised with hair loss, crusting, skin thickening and ulceration. In some cases, infestation is associated with deterioration in body condition and generalised disease. For treatment seek your veterinarian's advice.
Demodex canis resides and feeds in the hair follicles and oil glands of the dog's skin. These mites are tiny and can be diagnosed by your veterinarian using a number of different diagnostic techniques. Many cases of demodectic mites will resolve quickly with treatment from your veterinarian, especially if the dog is young and therapy is started promptly. Occasionally, some animals may require ongoing or alternative treatment, especially if adult-onset demodicosis is diagnosed. Speak to your veterinarian regarding information, diagnosis and treatment.