Dog Lice Treatment with Fibronil

Dog lice are parasites that can be treated with the insecticide fipronil, which is also known under the brand name Termidor and is an active ingredient in the topical medication Frontline. Lice are one of the easiest parasites to treat and many products like Frontline that are mainly used to treat fleas are also very effective in killing and preventing lice.

Symptoms of Dog Lice

Dog lice are small, light colored insects that spend their entire life cycle on an animal and cannot survive for more than a few days off their host. Lice may be seen with the naked eye but can be hard to spot, unlike their nits, or eggs, which are generally easier to see. Lice will lay their eggs on the hair shaft and look like white or yellow lumps.

Lice living on your dog will cause itching, biting and irritation, possibly leading to intense scratching and wounds, which may become infected if left untreated. Owners should also look for a scruffy coat, bald spots, and dry skin along with heavy itching, usually around the head, anus and shoulders. Nits will appear as white flakes in your dog's hair. Puppies infected with lice may suffer from anemia as well.

Choosing a Treatment with Fipronil

Fipronil is an insecticide that controls and treats lice, along with other parasites like fleas. Frontline can be easily applied to the skin between the shoulder blades, but make sure you don't only apply the medication to the hair of your dog. The medication will bind itself to the oils on your dog's skin, providing continuous treatment and prevention of fleas, lice and ticks. Frontline is also water-proof and will continue working after bathing, swimming or being out in the rain or snow.

Precautions and Potential Side Effects

Fipronil toxicity is a potential side effect of using dog lice treatment like Frontline. Vomiting and seizures may occur and should be addressed by a veterinarian immediately. Some dogs may also experience hypersensitivity to fipronil and have allergic reactions. Irritation and redness may also appear at the site of application but should go away after a couple of days. Puppies under 8 weeks of age should not be treated with fipronil without instructions from your veterinarian. Pregnant or lactating dogs can use Frontline but consult your vet's office before starting any treatment.

Preventing Dog Lice

Dog lice are spread through direct contact with an infested animal or from using a contaminated brush or other grooming tool. Treatments with fipronil is usually enough to prevent lice from spreading but owners should clean and sterilize grooming utensils, bedding, pet carriers and vacuum areas of your home where pets sleep and play. Lice will most likely spread from an infected pet to any others in your home so isolation and maintaining a hygienic environment may stop the spread of the parasite.