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D2008-36

Dear Daisy Dog

Jake, our husky, scratched himself until he bled. His veterinarian diagnosed Sarcoptes mites. Do these mites bite humans?

Daisy Responds

Canine Sarcoptes (pronounced “Sar COP tees”) mites can bite you humans, but the problem is uncommon.

When these mites do bite people, they produce small red, itchy bumps, usually where clothes fit snugly, such as under waistbands.

To minimize the risk, wash all pet bedding, collars and harnesses in hot, soapy water.

Fortunately for you, canine Sarcoptes mites can’t reproduce in human skin, so any problems usually resolve on their own.

However, that’s not the case in us dogs, where the mites cause scabies, also known as sarcoptic mange.

The microscopic mites burrow into our skin, starting where hair is sparse: ear tips, elbows, hocks, belly and chest.

The infection soon spreads, making our skin red, scaley and intensely itchy.

To make matters worse, Sarcoptes mites migrate to other animals, so it’s important to treat all pets in your household.

Dogs remain contagious during the first two to four weeks of treatment, so keep Jake away from his other doggy pals for a while.

Several products – Revolution, ivermectin or various dips – can eliminate the mites.

The very thought of mites makes me scratch, so it’s time for me to go find something else to do.

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