Harvest Mites and Seasonal Canine Illness
What are Harvest mites?
Harvest mites are like tiny spiders and are a member of the arachnid family. They cause seasonal skin conditions for dogs at this time of year (late August – October). Although they are ridiculously small (microscopic), they can cause big problems if left untreated.
Harvest mites are active in the warmest time of the day and can be found in damp, matted vegetation and long grasses (wooded areas).
When harvest mites make contact with the skin, they leave their larvae on the surface of the skin (unlike a lot of parasites that burrow under the skin) and feed off the skin cells. Harvest mite are attracted to areas of the skin where the coat is thinner (paws, ears, stomach and groin areas) and their larvae is distinctive in colour – a yellow/orange cluster on the surface of the skin.
If left untreated, harvest mite bites can result in your dog being quite unwell, something called Seasonal Canine Illness. If you suspect your dog has a bite, it is always wise to get it checked out by a veterinary professional.
What to look out for:
Due to their tiny size, they can be quite hard to spot. If your dog is itching, take a close look at the skin and look out for the bright yellow/orange coloured ‘dust’.
If you suspect your dog is not quite themselves, lethargic/vomiting please do get in touch as these are signs that they have come into contact and mites may not be evident.
How to avoid harvest mites:
- Walk your dog in the morning/evening – harvest mites are most active during the day. Especially when it is warm and dry!
- Avoid wooded areas, damp, and long grasses.
- Keep up to date with flea and tick treatment – although not a cure, preventative medicine is key. Keeping up to date with these treatments can reduce the signs/symptoms.
We have heard reports from dogs catching harvest mites in Weldrake woods so please be extra vigilant if this is a regular walk for you. We will keep you up to date with further locations as soon as we hear.