If somebody in your family has lice, you may be wondering if dogs can get lice like people do. The question makes sense considering how easily lice can be passed from one person to another. Perhaps, nobody in your family has lice, but your dog is scratching a whole lot, and you're wondering instead whether you can catch lice from your dog, Before worrying about your dog or yourself, we thought to ask veterinarian Dr. Ivana Vukasinovic whether dogs can get lice like people do.
Can Dogs Get Lice Like People Do?
Answered by Dr. Ivana Vukasinovic
Lice (Phthiraptera) are an order of insects, external parasites, secondary wingless representatives who live as obligate ectoparasites of mammals and birds.
Among mammals they don’t parasite only on Platypus and Echidna, some marsupials (rows Microbiotheria and Notoryctemorhpia), bats, whales, manatees and crustaceans.
Lice that Feed on Humans
There are three kinds of lice which feed on man:
- The head louse ( Pediculus humanus capitus )
- The body louse ( Pediculus humanus humanus )
- The crab or pubic louse ( Pthirus pubis )
Human lice spend their entire life cycle on the human and feeds exclusively on human blood. So, cross-contamination of dog-human or human-dog is not possible.
Lice that Feed on Dogs
There are two species of lice that infest dogs causing Canine Pediculosis:
- Trichodectes canis (chewing louse)
- Linognathus setosus (sucking louse)
Animals are infected by direct contact, or indirectly via infested objects. Diagnosis is made by finding (visual observing or scratching test) lice or their eggs in dogs hair. Louse is a flat insect that don’t fly or jump, it just crawls around; Lice have 3 pairs of short legs with large claws.
Untreated Pediculosis can cause a whole body infestation with symptoms such as: scratching, biting, itching, dry fur, hair loss and anemia. Some of these symptoms are very similar with the symptoms of flea infestation.
" Luckily lice is species specific. Because of this you can't get lice from your dog or give lice to your dog."~ Dr. Aron, veterinarian
About the Author
DVM Ivana Vukasinovicis a veterinarian in Belgrade, capital city of Serbia.
She received her B.S from University of Belgrade in 2012, and her master’s degree from Veterinary University, Belgrade.
Before eventually becoming director of Vetanima Doo, company that sells animal food, medicine and supplements, she have worked in many different fields of sales. After finishing college, she started working as sales person in biggest Serbian bookshop chain, and being passionate about books, she had reached the position of publisher.
After leaving this field, she started working as a veterinary commercialist, and then landing a job as veterinarian at veterinary pharmacy, in the same company in which she is now acting as director.
When she is not working, she is either glued to some fantasy book or cooking for friends. She currently resides in Belgrade with her cat Mile.