View Full Version : Dogs scratching problem solved - Karlin gets a gold star!

9th April 2010, 02:20 AM
Well we have finally solved Lucy and Charlie Brown's scratching problem and Karlin had the answer from the very beginning....RABBIT MITES! I just wish it hadn't taken changing food, giving the dogs steroids and me getting bitten from head to toe before it was finally diagnosed. Initially, the vet thought no mites because no obvious dandruff on their bodies and the dogs are on Advantage which supposedly (key word here "supposedly") kills the mites. I will spare you the long drawn out version of how it finally unfolded except to say we have tried everything under the sun to figure out what was going on for the past 2-3 months, including calling out an exterminator to look for fleas and/or bed bugs! I have been sleeping in my son's room on an air mattress because I was covered in itchy red welts that would leave dark bruises as they healed and was convinced some type of critters must be living in my bed. I was totally miserable and so were my poor dogs!

And then today I discovered TONS of white dandruff on the outsides (hair sides) of Lucy's ears (I had been inspecting the skin all over her body daily in search of critters but I never actually completely parted the hair on the outsides of her ear flaps...I had looked in her ears and behind her ears and dragged a comb over her body to look at her skin and found absolutely nothing! Anyway, I brought her into the vet and demanded that they do a skin scraping to look for rabbit mites. They were positive it wasn't rabbit mites but agreed to humor me. HAH!! Were they surprised to find that she is totally infested! I am a little annoyed that they didn't do the skin scraping in the first place and I wish I had listened to Karlin in the first place and demanded it anyway. But at least the mystery is finally solved. The bummer is that I have to wash every single piece of bedding in my house because the dogs sleep everywhere, treat the carpets, dog beds and the dogs themselves as well as the cat and I had to send my mom's dog in for treatment too because she spends so much time at our house. A totally mess but it will be over soon.

Karlin, from now on anything you suspect will be the FIRST thing I demand the vet test for!


9th April 2010, 02:09 PM
Thanks! -- but I think a lot of us would have suggested this might be the issue with two dogs scratching... :lol: andothers also noted this could well be the issue. Often these things are only really clear after a skin scrape -- I know of quite a few cases where this was the case. I am delighted you got the the problem at last though and you should have the problem gone very quickly. :mexwav:

10th April 2010, 05:41 AM
Believe me when I say my lesson was learned! The hard way at that.
Any suggestions for treatment. Dogs/cat are getting injections of ivermectin..
Don't remember how many but it is more than once
have used flea powder for carpets containing pyritherin (sp?) on carpets
washed all bedding in hot water and dried on hot. Bathed dogs in
flea shampoo. Will bathe cat too but have to find cat safe shampoo.
Until then poor kitty is living in the garage and dogs are not
allowed in with her. I am assuming it will require multiple treatments
of the house and animals. Anything I am missing? Oh threw away all brushes and combs
used on the animals.

10th April 2010, 07:00 PM
Normally here you just use spray on Frontline or similar -- and wash bedding at high temp and vaccuum thoroughly. They don't tend to get everywhere, but the cat needs to be treated too. They are not fleas, so flea shampoo may or may not be any help but I wouldn't double up on treatments without a vet's OK as remember, these are toxins being applied internally or externally! As far as I know Ivermectin would be fine. Your vet is the one to ask for details on the actual treatment -- I don't think they need lots of repeat treatments, just within a lifecycle.

With those spray treatments, it is very important to use the exact amount needed and no more. That may be why your vet opted for ivermectin. Dogs and cats should never be treated with the same medications etc UNLESS okayed by a vet as what one species tolerates, another can find deadly.

I have never found these mites any great challenge to treat -- pretty easy and straightforward and much easier than fleas. They don't really tend to transfer to people. I've never had that happen.

This pretty much sums up treatment approaches:


10th April 2010, 08:14 PM
These things I am doing were what vet recommended but I wanted to ask you because I am starting to think people on this board know more than the vet.

As for the mites infesting people from what I have read they don't prefer people as a host but can temporarily infest people causing itchy red bumps with a necrotic center which is exactly what I have. The reason I got them and not rest of my family is that the dogs are almost always on my lap, sleep curled up against me and basically spend the majority of time with me. I also like to sort of pull/pet the dogs ears when I am cuddling them and given that the majority of mites were on their ears, I was literally pulling the mites onto me over and over again every single day without realizing it. Totally gross really!

Anyway, I do agree about not overtreating w pesticides. I hate using chemicals at all on the dogs, plus I have young children. I plan to use the minimum necessary to get rid of the problem. I am glad to hear that they generally go away with one round of treatment.

Yes, kitty will get treated too, she goes in on Monday for shot of ivermectin. She is an old cat though (16) and I am a little worried about using ivermectin on her as I have heard can be quite toxic. Do you think
frontline might be a better choice for her? I will ask
vet too but really at this point I trust your opinion more.