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Contributed by: Elizabethtown Veterinary Hospital

External parasites (living on the outside of the body) are not just a nuisance for your pet and your family. These pests carry disease, stimulate allergies and contribute to skin and ear infections. Pets with external parasites tend to be itchy. Some external parasites can be seen with the naked eye (e.g.: fleas, ticks), however, others require a microscope to find. Some common external parasites that infect dogs and cats include:

Fleas: When a single flea is found, this represents a mere 1% of the entire problem: the other 99% includes their eggs and larvae that are developing in your carpets and bedding.
Ticks: Ticks represent an important cause of disease transmission.
Cheyletiellia: A mite infection also known as walking dandruff.
Lice: Appearance similar to dandruff. Lice on your pets are not contagious to people and vice versa.
Ear mites: These microscopic mites inhabit the surface of the ear canal and surrounding facial skin.
Scabies (or sarcoptic mange): Highly contagious infection caused by a microscopic mite.
Scabies causes intense itching and can be transmitted to people.
Fortunately, there are many topical medications available to remove and treat these parasites. Some animals require oral medications to clear the infection.
Many external parasites can be spread among pets and infest your home. It is important to treat all of the pets in the household and the environment as well. Please follow our detailed instructions for successful therapy.

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