Lice on your pet

Lice Dangers and Your Pets

Lice on your pet will make life restless, with losing hair and constantly scratching or biting itself with its paws and teeth. Consider a lice infection treatment.

Lice infections or Pediculosis in pets can be very disturbing and often leads to excessive itching, scratching and self-biting. While lice can infect both humans and animals, it is more common found in animals. Lice are also species-specific and cannot spread to animals to human beings.

What is lice?

Pet Lice

Lice are very small and sometimes transparent. Know what to look for.

Lice are parasitic insects that spend their entire life cycle on the skin surface of animals. Unlike fleas that jump, lice are stationary, reproducing and clinging to the host’s hair shafts with the claws at the end of their six long legs. They feed on the blood of their hosts causing skin irritation, severe itching, and anemia in serious cases.

Generally, there are two kinds of lice

1. Chewing Lice: This kind of lice feed on skin surface secretions and dead skin cells of the host animals. They feed on the surface of their host.

2. Sucking Lice: They feed on the blood of the host by piercing the host’s skin surface using narrow mouth parts.

Get Rid of Lice Now!

Pets are a household norm in many parts of the world. Over time, human beings have come to rely on them for companionship or security. Lice infections in pets can be a source of discomfort, misery and disease as they are known to spread tapeworms in dogs.

Luckily, infections are generally not harmful, do not last long and are easy to treat.

If you suspect your pet is infected with lice, below are 7 steps you can take to handle the situation and give your pooch some relief.

Fur Shaving:

In cases where infection has spread considerably, the fastest and most effective treatment is to shave your pet’s fur. You might say shaving is a drastic step, but it is also the most effective as it exposes the skin surface of your pet removing all hair shafts. It also kills any reproductive ability as all the unhatched eggs that are clinging to the hair shafts are taken off in one clean shave.

We know that this might make your pet look strange or ugly, but no one wants their pet scratching madly and suffering from a parasitic infection. It may be comforting to know that your pet will grow back its fur in no time and become the cuddly cute pooch you know.

Flea shampoo:

Regular shampooing with specially formulated flea shampoo can provide your pet some relief. For shampoo treatments to work, an application of flea shampoo containing parathyroids or organophosphates is recommended. This should be done for 6 weeks.

Applying shampoo for any duration lesser than 6 weeks will only provide temporary relief as no shampoo can penetrate eggs that may already have been laid prior to its application. You can expect a whole new generation of lice in as little as 2 weeks even if you use the entire shampoo in one bath.

Flea combs:

While this is a chemical free treatment alternative, it may be tiring and time consuming. Flea or nit combs are designed with narrow teeth and may not be applicable to large pets e.g. Horses.

To rid your pet of all lice and their eggs, full body coverage is required including the nooks and crannies (armpits and groin area).

Daily repeated combing for up to 6 weeks is required for a complete treatment. This is as a result of yet-to-hatch eggs that may be missed and will usually hatch within 2-4 weeks.

Insecticides:

Popular insecticides such as Revolution and Advantage are generally known to be effective in treating lice infection. As with shampoo treatment, insecticides can only kill adults and nymphs and cannot penetrate the tough eggs. A complete treatment requires consistent application.

While most insecticides are not approved or labelled specifically for lice infection treatment, a bi-weekly treatment plan for 6 weeks is known to be effective in killing adult lice, nymph and eggs. However, not all insecticides are suitable for all pets. Permethrins though effective are usually too toxic for dogs and in some cases, cats.

Quarantine:

To prevent the spread especially if you own multiple pets, we advise that you separate the affected animal from the others. Ensure you place them in well aired environments, separate the affected pet’s bedding, food dishes and prevent all contacts with other pets. Treating lice infection in one animal can be demanding.

If you have just one pet, you should be cautious when taking walks if it’s a dog. Avoid situations where your pet will be in close contact with other pets. You do not want to breed a new generation of lice on your neighbor’s dog.

Environmental sterilization:

While treating your pets it is important to decontaminate all materials and spaces where your pet usually is. Carpets, cages, bedding, leashes and toys should all be washed thoroughly or replaced to avoid the risk of re-infection. To avoid taking any chances, outright replacement is recommended. Materials such as flea combs should be burnt or disposed of in hot water.

In conclusion, the listed ways of treating infection in your pet all require consistency for complete treatment. The use of flea combs though effective, is often times used to support other treatment measures such as shampooing and insecticide treatment.

While adult lice and nymph may die immediately, there is risk of re-infection as a result of tough louse eggs. This makes a minimum treatment period of 6 weeks very important.

Learning about Pet Health is important to keep your mascot healthy and strong.

Pet Health

 

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