Protect your Pets from Ectoparasites – Dr. R.K. Jadhav, MVSc, PhD (Veterinary Medicine)

Ectoparasites are the organisms staying on outside (skin and hairs) of the animals. These ectoparasites include fleas, lice, mosquitoes, flies, ticks and mites. Ectoparasites are responsible for producing harmful effects to pet animals in the form of biting, blood sucking, transmission of various parasitic, bacterial, viral and haemoprotozoan diseases. Apart from that ectoparasites are responsible for causing various types of dermatological disorders in pet animals leading to alopecia, chronic localized or generalized dermatitis marring the external presentation or look of pets. Among various harms caused by these ectoparasites, transmission of deadly Haemoprotozoan infections is important one. Various haemoprotozoa like Babesia, Hepatozoan and other blood pathogens like Ehrlichia, Anaplasma, Mycoplasma etc. are mainly transmitted by ticks. All these blood pathogens are responsible for causing diseases characterized by fever and anaemia due to blood loss which may if ignored becomes deadly to the pet animal. Strike of flies on even small wound/ scratch during humid season may produce maggot wounds on the skin and even transmit some bacterial infections. Mosquitoes are biting insects which feed on blood and may cause discomfort to animals, dermatitis and secondary bacterial infections of skin. Moreover, they are vectors for transmission of dog heartworm Dirofileria immitis.

Guidelines

  1. Observe your pet for any ectoparasite
  2. Do regular bathing, combing/ brushing to hairs of your pet
  3. Use soaps, shampoos exclusively formulated for pets
  4. Never use human skincare products for your pets
  5. Keep proper hygiene in pet homes to avoid breeding of some ectoparasites