Dog Health: Lice

Dog | Lice

An Introduction to Lice

Lice are species-specific external parasites.

Erin Dowler (veterinarian) – May 2014

Causes of Lice

Lice are species specific which means that only lice from other dogs can infect dogs. They can’t be infected by lice from cats or humans.

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Symptoms of Lice


Lice cause itching, chewing/biting, redness and a dull coat. Occasionally, a high burden in a small dog can cause anaemia, which presents as lethargy, weight loss and poor growth.


Lice and eggs can be seen on affected dogs. These can be more closely examined under the microscope.

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Treatment of Lice


Topical insecticides are the main part of treatment. Lice don’t live for long in the environment, in contrast to fleas, so environmental contamination is often less extensive.


Regularly use a topical treatment which treats both fleas and lice. Most products need to be used 4 weekly. Prevention is usually cheaper than...
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