Identify the Vector or Parasite in My Dog's Hair
by Tina W.
(Santa Clarita, CA USA)
Three years ago after a hike my dog and I started itching all over and felt like we had been getting bites. I could see the bite marks and had a severe reaction in my skin but its hard to see my dog Kiki’s skin as his hair is so short.
It's important to note the friend I was hiking with took his dog who died a week later and she was in good health up until this point. He was circling the backyard every minute of every day. My friend has had no symptoms whatsoever.
The itching is awful. Kiki itches all over but more so around his ears. Behind them and on his face. He loves me to scratch him there.
- His fur coat looks dull and greasy to some extent with dark spots in it that were not there before
- His fur has white specs in it
- His fur has sticky white residue that is dried or crusty and painful to him if I touch it
- 6 months ago I noticed a little tiny tumor behind his ear that is white looking. The Vet didn’t really have any ideas and just sent us away with no answers. I’ve paid a fortune just trying to resolve this and I get no where.
- The Vet mentioned he had bumps all over his body and I said I KNOW this is what I am trying to get to the bottom of. They looked at sample under microscope and found nothing.
- He is now losing a significant amount of hair and has patches of almost bald spots over his body. I notice it most though when I look at this face.
- He sleeps constantly
- He is depressed
- He makes painful type noises when he sleeps like he is hurting.
I have taken Kiki to numerous Vets and for the first year, they found nothing.
One finally found a mite (which I found first) and the vet prescribed Ivermectin which did nothing.
When that didn't work we started him on Revolution and continued that for almost a year but it did nothing to help him.
Another vet (not his normal doctor) said she found a Stick-tight flea and wondered if we lived in a rural area. We don’t but we are at the base of the mountains and several neighbors have dirt yards. They gave no further instructions.
6 months after the hike, frustrated and feeling nuts, I purchased a camera microscope and still can’t determine what this is. Fleas? Mites? My photos are getting better and from the ones I am submitting I think you will most likely be able to tell what they are.
I recently (1 month ago) sent some samples in to a Entomologist who said he saw Demodex in one of the samples.
By the way, I have over 15,000 photos and research this every day. My home had a moisture problem and
when 5 Exterminators couldn’t find the problem, I bought the microscope and identified the following:
- Casemaking clothes moths
- Powderpost Beetle
- Carpet Beetle
I thought I would try one last exterminator “Orkin” whom I should have tried first….but without telling them of my findings and they came back with the exact identification I did.
So its not like I haven’t learned a LOT about bugs and parasites. Because I have learned more than many professionals in the business. I had the house fumigated, and it was better for about a day or so, but they came back after that.
When the Entomologist came back with Demodex, I thought well…
At least THAT made sense because we are both suffering.
My MD thought it was scabies, sent me to a dermatologist who without examining me declared I was delusional. I went to another dermatologist who again, without examining me, entered the room yelling at me telling me he read the other Dr’s notes and totally agreed with his diagnosis. He was awful, I left in tears.
They put me on some psycho drugs that made me sleep for three days straight and it was at that point I declared them delusional or just simply not educated enough or up on classes on vectors and parasites. My psychiatrist who was out of town at this time told me upon his return when I asked “Do you think I am delusional?” He said, "Tina, In my 40 years of practice, I've yet to see a delusional who carries around a laptop with photos of bugs. No, I don’t think you are delusional."
There is so much more to this story but in the interest of brevity, I will let you ask the questions.
General Background Information on Kiki:
- An 8 year old male mini or small size apple head Chihuahua
- Weighs about 6-7 lbs
- Hydrocephalus since birth.
- Doctors wanted me to put him down, I refused.
- They didn’t expect him to live much longer.
- He has lived 8 years since then.
Symptoms from Hydrocephalus
- Occasional headaches
- Occasional circling (which he hasn’t displayed in years)
- Vomiting from time to time yellow foam or the food he ate.
- He vomits at least one to four times per month.
- Only more if he really isn’t feeling well like the other day he threw up for a few days.
- Licking constantly, everything from sofa to floor to bedding to cleaning his body.
- He appears confused at times
- Appears not to see too well
Other Medical Conditions:
- He has had ear problems in the past, mites, just general cleaning etc.
- One of his ears hurt to touch as he will almost nip me if I touch it.
- He also has a small tumor behind one of his ears (I noticed is six months ago) Vet wasn’t too concerned.