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uncommon dog conditions
mites on dogs nose

📷 by freestocks

What are canine nasal mites?

Canine nasal mites are microscopic parasites that inhabit dogs’ nasal passages and sinus cavities. Nasal mite infestation in dogs causes painful symptoms or infection when unaddressed. So it’s important to recognize warning signs as soon as possible to rid your pup of pesky nasal mites.

Signs & symptoms of nasal mites in dogs

As the name suggests, nasal mites often affect the nose and nasal cavity. However, they can also affect other areas and bodily systems. Some general behavioral signs of a problem include increased restlessness, head shaking, and noisy breathing, but some signals are more specific. Here are some common warning signs of a nasal mite infestation.

  • Sneezing. The occasional sneeze is common, but frequent sneezing in dogs often signals underlying issues. If you can rule out allergies or infections, nasal mites may be the cause of your pup’s sneezing. Mites can also lead to reverse sneezing, where irritation in the nose causes dogs to rapidly sniff air inward.
  • Nasal discharge. Excessive discharge of mucus or pus from your pup’s nose is a cause for concern. Chronic nasal discharge can be caused by irritation from nasal mites. However, it also may signal a bacterial or viral infection, so a vet visit is recommended in these cases.
  • Facial itching. Dogs scratch, rub, or paw at their faces for a variety of reasons. If the itching is focused on the nose or snout (as opposed to the eyes) canine nasal mites may be the cause.
  • Nose bleeds. Nose bleeds, a.k.a epistaxis, are not normal in dogs and usually signal trouble. While you may not be able to detect them, microscopic mites could be responsible for your dog’s bloody nose.
  • Loss of appetite. Irritants like nasal mites can have compounding effects on other parts of your dog’s body. Nasal mites are among the many canine ailments for which loss of appetite can be a symptom.
  • Tearing of the eyes. Excessive tearing most often signifies an eye condition or irritation. But, it can also manifest as a symptom of a canal nasal mite infestation.
  • Bronchial cough. The lungs and nose work together in a dog’s respiratory system. Therefore, issues like excessive coughing, wheezing, or difficulty breathing, can occur due to nasal mites.

Diagnosing & treating nasal mites in dogs

Symptoms of mites can often mirror signs of more serious issues, like a nasal tumor. Therefore, a veterinarian visit is recommended right away if you’re unsure of the cause of the problem. Since they’re large enough to be seen with the naked eye, a diagnosis can be made by observing mites on the nose or within the discharge of the nostrils.

There are also several tests which a vet may perform to diagnose a nasal mite infestation. First, blood and urine tests, X-rays, and CT scans can help to rule out more serious internal conditions like a respiratory disease. A more targeted approach often follows those broader bodily exams.

Nasal scoping, also called rhinoscopy, allows doctors to use a flexible tube (endoscope) to observe inside the nasal cavity for the presence of mites. Following rhinoscopy, doctors will often perform nasal flushing with a saline solution. This can help to flush out existing mites and allow vets to test fluid for the presence of the parasites.

Canine nasal mite treatment

Once mites are detected, a doctor will decide on the best plan of action. There’s no single approach to treat nasal mites, but antiparasitic medications have been found to be effective in many cases. Among two commonly prescribed antiparasitic medicine options used to treat nasal mites are ivermectin (often given orally in tablet form), and topical application of selamectin.

Unfortunately, treatment may not always eliminate symptoms associated with nasal mites. In these instances, an infection may be present, and further examination should be done to find what’s causing your dog’s symptoms.

How to prevent canine nasal mites

Since they’re difficult to detect, nasal mites can be tough to defend against. However, certain preventative measures can help you keep your pup free from these parasites.

First, it’s important to note that mites can be transmitted through direct or indirect exposure to an affected dog. Therefore, steer your pets well clear of any dogs you know or suspect to be infested with mites. This includes unknown dogs like strays, who may well be infested with mites without you even knowing it.

When applied monthly, topical antiparasitic preventatives containing selamectin or imidacloprid/moxidectin, such as Revolution or Advantage Multi, can also help prevent nasal mites.

👉These medications need a prescription from your vet, so always check with them first! They’ll prescribe the best preventative based on your pup’s age and health.

Frequently asked questions about nasal mites in dogs

Why is my dog reverse sneezing all of a sudden?

Reverse sneezing can be a sign of a number of respiratory issues, including nasal mites. If the issue is frequent or recurring, you should take your pup to the vet for a diagnosis.

How do I know if my dog has nasal mites?

Nasal mites are among the common causes of symptoms like sneezing, nasal discharge, nose bleeds, and other nasal cavity-related conditions.

How do I get rid of my dog’s nasal mites?

Vet testing is required to pinpoint the presence of nasal mites. Nasal scoping can help to flush the mites, while antiparasitic medications can aid in getting rid of them.

Are nasal mites contagious to people?

There’s no evidence that canine nasal mites can be transmitted to people. However, it can be passed from dog to dog through direct or indirect contact.