Mites: Client Communication
The client should be recognized as an important member of the healthcare team because he or she can provide valuable and important information about the patient’s behavior that may lead the veterinary team to assess the patient for mite infestation.
Examining the patient for signs of mite infestation and taking a thorough history from the client is an important component of routine healthcare. It is important to educate the client about mite-infestation signs, potential effects to the patient, the possibility of the patient passing the infestation to the client or other family members (ie, zoonosis), the importance of preventive care, and what to do if he or she suspects a pet has mites.
Be sure to communicate the following to the client:
- Patients should have regular health examinations, as their health may change in a short period of time.
- Mites can be extremely irritating to patients and can cause serious skin problems or carry disease.
- The client should look for coat or skin abnormalities (eg, hair loss, flaking skin, small pustules, crusting).
- The client should watch for behavior signs such as head shaking and excessive scratching, as scratching until the skin is raw or bleeding may signal mite or other parasitic infestation.
- The client should consult a veterinarian if any signs or behaviors indicate possible parasitic infestation.
Support the client by:
- Being prepared to answer questions about mite infestation and the effects on the patient’s health and quality of life (see the client handout Mite FAQs & Common Misconceptions)
- Being prepared to answer questions about possible zoonotic infestation; document this conversation in the patient’s medical record
- Providing information about necessary cleaning or fogging agents or products, along with instructions on how to clean the home and kennel
- Inviting the client to ask questions.