nose mites in dogs

Nasal Mites in Dogs

Nose, or nasal, mites are small parasites that live inside a dog’s nose and airways. This mite can affect all dogs, with some showing no symptoms at all. Continue reading to learn about the signs, diagnosis, and treatment of nasal mites in dogs!

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What are nasal mites?

Pneumonyssoides or Pneumonyssus caninum is a small mite that lives in the nasal sinuses and passages of dogs. Nasal mites can affect all breeds, ages, and sexes of dogs worldwide, with a possible predilection for large breed dogs and dogs over 3 years old. Nasal mites are only 1-1.5 mm in length and can live in the environment for up to 19 days. It is believed that they’re transmitted between dogs both via direct and indirect contact. This mite has not been shown to infest or affect humans.

How do I know if my dog has nasal mites?

Clinical signs of nasal mite infections may vary and range in severity. Sometimes, dogs carry mites in their nasal passages with no signs at all. Symptoms may include:

  • Bleeding from the nose
  • Sneezing
  • “Reverse sneezing” (sniffing air rapidly inward) Read more about reverse sneezing here!
  • Decreased sense of smell
  • Facial itching
  • Nasal discharge
  • Labored breathing
  • Head-shaking
  • High-pitched, noisy breathing
  • Less specific signs (may also be seen with other respiratory diseases):
    • Coughing
    • Restlessness
    • Collapse

How are nasal mites diagnosed in dogs?

Nasal mites often live far into the nasal passages; however, they can sometimes be seen on the outside of the nostrils or the muzzle. If your vet suspects nasal mites but can’t see them, further diagnostics will be recommended.

Rhinoscopy (endoscopy of the nasal passages) and nasal flushing are often performed if nasal mites are suspected. Your vet will use a flexible scope with a camera to visualize and obtain nasal fluid and samples, which are then examined for the presence of nasal mites. This procedure must be done under general anesthesia.

Nasal mites can be present on their own (primary) or as a result of a compromised respiratory tract due to a separate disease process (secondary). Because of this, other helpful diagnostics are often performed (before endoscopy) to help rule out other more common causes of respiratory disease. These include:

  • Blood work and urinalysis
  • Tests for blood clotting factors if your dog is suffering from nose bleeds
  • Imaging: nasal and dental x-rays
  • Advanced imaging: CT scan

How are nasal mites treated?

  • There are many treatment options available and prognosis is very good for resolution of infestation and clinical signs
  • Many anti-parasitic medications seem to be effective in greater than 85% of cases
  • Antihistamines and steroids may be prescribed by your vet to decrease itching and swelling
  • May include treating other causes of respiratory infection alongside the mites
  • No real prevention other than keeping dogs away from a dog that has a current nasal mite infestation and/or concurrent respiratory disease

Read more:

Canine Nasal Mites

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