Mites: Client Communication

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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.
References Show
  1. The ACVD task force on canine atopic dermatitis (I):  incidence and prevalence. Hillier A, Griffin CE. Vet Immunol Immunopathol 81:147-151, 2001.
  2. Prevalence of canine otitis externa in Jammu. Kumar S, Hussain K, Sharma R, et al. J Anim Res 4:121-129, 2014.
  3. Prevalence of respiratory signs and identification of risk factors for respiratory morbibity in Swedish Yorkshire terriers. Madsen MF, Granström S, Toft N, Houe H, et al. Vet Rec 170:565, 2012.
  4. Mites (Acari). Mullen G, O’Connor B. In Mullen GR, Durden LA (eds): Medical and Veterinary Entomology, 2nd ed—Oxford: Elsevier, 2009, pp 433-492.  
  5. Arthropods. Bowman DD. In Bowman DD.  Georgi’s Parasitology for Veterinarians, 9th ed—St. Louis: WB Saunders, 2009, pp 4-82.  
  6. Life-threatening dermatosis in dogs. Lewis D. Comp Cont Educ Pract 20:271-283, 1998.
  7. Demodicosis-A frequent problem in dogs. Mueller RS. World Small Animal Veterinary Association World Congress Proceedings, 2008.  
  8. The efficacy of Selamectin in the treatment of naturally acquired aural infestations of Otodectes cynotis on dogs and cats. Shanks DJ, McTier TL, Rowan TG, et al. Vet Parasitol 91:283-290, 2000.
  9. Respiratory Parasites. Ballwebber L. Western Veterinary Conference Proceedings, 2004.
  10. Sneezing and Snorting-What should I do? McKiernan L. World Small Animal Veterinary Association World Congress, 2001.  
  11. Current trends in the treatment of SarcoptesCheyletiella and Otodectes mite infestations in dogs and cats. Curtis C. Vet Dermatol 15:108-114, 2004.  
  12. An update on therapeutic management of canine demodicosis. Singh SK, Kumar M, Jadhav RK, Saxena SK. Veterinary World 4:41-44, 2011.  
  13. Pharmacokinetic interactions of the antiparasitic agents ivermectin and spinosad in dogs. Dunn ST, Hedges L, Sampson KE, et al. Drug Metab Dispos 39:789-795, 2011.
  14. Efficacy of selamectin in the treatment of nasal mite (Pneumonyssoides caninum) infection in dogs. Gunnarsson L, Zakrisson G, Christensson D, Uggla A.  JAAHA 40:400-404, 2004.
  15. Treatment of canine nasal mite infection. Rehbinder C, Karlsson T. Svensk Veterinartidning 55:19-22, 2003.

Suggested Reading

AAHA’s Complete Guide for the Veterinary Client Service Representative. Renfrew J. AAHA Press, 2013.

AAHA Canine Life Stage Guidelines. Bartges J, Boynton B, et al. American Animal Hospital Association, 2012.

External Parasites. American Veterinary Medical Association;

The Art of Veterinary Practice Management. Opperman M—Lenexa, Kansas: Veterinary Medicine Publishing Group, 1999.

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Veterinary Team Brief delivers practical skills for team-based medicine—with clinical strategies for team training, peer-reviewed credibility, concise content, essential training modules, and easy-to-implement protocols. From the publisher of Clinician's Brief.