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Canine Lice

by Cyd Kitchens
(Tuskegee, Alabama Macon County)

Reader Question: Last night I saw a very small wiggly little insect on my dog when I was checking him for fleas. It was about 1/8 to 1/4 in. long maybe not quite that long and immediately wiggled back into his hair. My dog is a Jack Russell short hair. He has a few fleas but not to many. I raise train and compete with English pointers and I have fought fleas all summer in my cement kennel. My vet says dogs now are immune to Front Line to switch to Advantage but so far that hasn't done it either.


Anyway back to the bug. It had lots of little legs and moved pretty fast to get back in the dogs hair. This morning I found one ALIVE in my bed. Is this a lice or what? I can't find picture of a canine lice on the damn internet. Could you help me and send a picture or tell me what these thing are? Needless to say I'm washing everything bedding pillows etc this morning.

Please help. This thing looked kind of like a mini, miniature Caterpillar black and white as well and I could tell. When touched it balls up in a ball for a second then is moving again.

Help what is this thing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cyd Kitchens
Happy Jane Kennel and Ranch
Tuskegee, Al.. 36083

P.S. in 40 yrs. of raising and breeding Jack Russell's and bird dog I've never seen this before.

Suggestion from our Vet

Hi Cyd,

I can’t determine exactly what the “bugs” you found on and around your dog might be based on your description. They could be lice, perhaps immature ones? The different species of lice that affect people, dogs, cats, etc. all look quite similar, so any picture of a louse that you find online will give you a good idea of what they look like.

Many types of flea treatments will also kill adult lice including bathing with a shampoo containing pyrethrin, Revolution, Advantage, or Frontline. Treatments need to be repeated regularly over the course of a month or two to deal with the new lice that are emerging from eggs. For the spot-on products, one application every two weeks for a total of three or four treatments will usually do the trick, but all of your dogs that are in contact with each other will need to be treated.

Best of luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

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