Nasal Mites in Dogs

Nasal mites in dogs are a type of mites that infest the nostrils. This type of mite is common, but often goes undiagnosed. Nasal mites infest both wild and domestic dogs, and they have also been found in the silver fox.

Symptoms of Nasal Mites in Dogs

Nasal mites in dogs, or Pneumonyssoides canium, are small mites of about one to one and a half millimeters in length. They infect the nasal passages of domestic and wild dogs. This type of mite infestation is very common and often goes undiagnosed and untreated.

Many dogs with nasal mites don't show any symptoms at all, which is why the infestation goes untreated in many cases. Dogs with very severe infestations may suffer sneezing fits and nosebleeds. They may also display a chronic nasal discharge. Some dogs suffering from nasal mites infestation may experience reverse sneezing, impaired sense of smell, head shaking, coughing and restlessness.

Diagnosing Nasal Mites in Canines

P. canium lives inside your dog's nostrils. In infected dogs, some of the mites might venture to the edges of the nostril. The infestation spreads through direct, nose to nose contact between infested and non-infested dogs. Dogs of all breeds and ages can succumb to infestation by nasal mites, though veterinary studies would suggest that large breed dogs and dogs older than three years of age are more susceptible to infestation by nasal mites.

If your dog develops symptoms of nasal mite infestation, your vet can diagnose it by taking a swab of the inside of your dog's nostril. In cases of active infestation, your vet will be able to see the mites when he examines this swab under a microscope. Most vets will want to rule out systemic illness and upper respiratory infection by performing blood panels, urinalysis and serum chemistry profiles. Your vet may want to examine your dog's nasal passages endoscopically to rule out the possibility of nasal blockage, tumors or other diseases of the nasal passages, sinuses, mouth and throat.

Treating and Preventing Nasal Mite Infestation in Dogs

Vets prescribe oral ivermectin for the treatment of nasal mite infestation in dogs. However, ivermectin isn't labeled for this use. Vets commonly prescribe ivermectin for the treatment of illnesses and infestations that it hasn't been labeled for, and the practice isn't dangerous. However, to be on the safe side, your vet should closely monitor your dog while he's undergoing oral ivermectin treatment for nasal mite infestation.

You can prevent infestation by P. canium by keeping your dog away from stray dogs, wild dogs and dogs who might be infested with nasal mites. P. canium mites are not zoonotic. That means you can't catch the infestation from your dog.

While P. canium infestation is not often diagnosed, it could be behind many cases of sneezing, nose bleeds and chronic nasal discharge in dogs. If your dog is exhibiting these symptoms, ask your vet to check for nasal mite infestation. Nasal mite infestation is easy to diagnose and treat.