How to Treat Chiggers at Home for Pets
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How to Treat Chiggers at Home for Pets

How to treat chiggers at home for your pet.

Chiggers are a parasite, known commonly as a harvest mite. They can cause severe itching through their bites to the skin. They are common in certain areas of the U.S. and are prevalent in fall and spring. Growing up in Texas myself, they were always a concern. However, they are easily treated, even for pets.

Makes sure it’s a Chigger

You want to make sure that your pet is indeed infected with chiggers, rather than fleas or ticks. Fleas and ticks are easily spotted because they are a larger bodied parasite and can be removed by flea and tick dips or by using tweezers. If you think your pet has chiggers, check beneath the legs, head and abdomen for orange rash like spots. However, they still may not be seen by the naked eye, but most of the time that is not the case.

Treatments

Chiggers do not burrow into the skin, as some people think. Therefore, some common remedies such as nail polish are myths. They are thought to work because they smother the mite, but it’s simply not true. Chiggers will eventually remove themselves or fall off. What is important is to relieve the itch so that your pet doesn’t cause an infection. Over the counter itch relief creams will work fine including hydrocortisone. You will first want to wash the area with soap and water to remove any germs and bacteria. Then apply the cream. Other remedies include oatmeal baths and calamine lotion. You can also apply ice packs to your pet if you have to. If none of your at home treatments are working, you should take your pet to the vet. The veterinarian clinic can administer two pyrethrin-based dips that are two weeks apart, or apply a topical anti-parasite cream. If the itching is extreme, the vet can apply a topical or an injectable steroid to reduce scratching. In the end, take the situation for what it is and try to get your pet to avoid scratching. If the chiggers are on the neck or face areas, a dog cone may be necessary.

The best remedy for chiggers, though, is to not get them at all. Be aware of the area you and your pet are walking. If the grass is tall and the weather is warm, it is possible that either of you may get chiggers. My father would to make my sisters and I wear mud boots when walking out in the fields for two reasons. One was to avoid chigger bites, and the other was snakes.

Resources:

http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+2111&aid=774

http://www.chigger-treatment.com/

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