External Parasites, Lice, Biting lice, Blood-sucking type lice.

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Lice are small insects measuring only two millimeters in length that live on the hair shafts. They literally cling to the hair with their claws. They spend their entire life cycle on the host, feeding on the flaking outer layer of skin (epidermis) or by sucking blood. Lice lay their eggs on hair, firmly cementing them to the hair shaft. The eggs look like small white dots.

Lice come in two main types-biting and sucking. Biting lice tend to be smaller and can move quickly. Lice tend to be host-specific, which means they rarely move from people to dogs or vice versa. Neither type is very common in dogs. Puppies may sometimes have lice from a dirty environment and may spread to them from their mother.

Symptoms of lice are intense itching and scratching with hair loss. If there is a heavy infestation of the blood-sucking type, there can be an anemia from the blood loss. These signs can be mistaken for other skin diseases. Your veterinarian can differentiate these similar but different diseases.

Treatment is fairly easy. Most of the products made to kill fleas and ticks also kill lice. In most cases, medicated baths or dips will take care of this parasite.