Nasal Mites in Dogs

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When we think of mites, we often think of those small, annoying creepies that can found on skin. But have you heard about nasal mites? How about reverse sneezing?

Credit: Piotr Grzywocz: Wikimedia Commons/GNU

An often undiagnosed parasite, nasal mites, can be responsible for reverse sneezing in dogs. Nasal mites can be transmitted from one infected dog to another, but not to humans. Diagnosis can be made by taking a nasal swab and examining it for the presence of mites under a microscope. The mites may sometimes be seen as small specks around the nostrils, if the infected dog has nasal discharge.

Other symptoms of these mites can include reverse sneezing and nosebleeds.

The treatment of choice for nasal mites is the heartworm medication,  Ivermectin. Part of the reason that we do not see many cases of nasal mites may be a result of a relatively high percentage of dogs using heartworm medication. There is, however, another side to the treatment of nasal mites with the “off label” application of Ivermectin.

A small percentage of dogs have a particular gene, MDR1,  which can cause serious problems if Ivermectin or a few other drugs are administered. There is a test available for this gene, and it may advisable to consider this test prior to starting your dog on any of these specific drugs. The list of drugs which do not play well with the MDR1 gene also include a common antibiotic (Erythromycin), a pain medication (Butorphanol), Immodium and some chemotherapy drugs.

Many thanks to one of our clients for passing along an interesting link from SPDR with a bit more information an experience with nasal mites (thank you, Lydia!).

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