Harvest mites are parasitic arachnoids, which can be seen by the naked eye on a dog’s coat due to their red or orange-red (rust-like) color.
Harvest mites are more readily seen in the coat of limbs and paws of a dog, as they are nearest to the ground. In the case of dogs who like to stray or roll in tall grass, the mite can sometimes be found on their backs. On smaller dogs, harvest mites can usually be seen on their chest, around their head, face and ears. After the mites start to bite, an orange-colored crust develops on the skin.
As an infestation by harvest mites progresses, infested animals start to vigorously lick and bite at irritated regions. Because of this natural reaction to the infestation, any scabs or crusts are often removed, and only a reddening of the skin and hair-loss remain as symptoms. As animals may lick affected regions, this can also result in a secondary bacterial infection occurring on the skin.
Diagnosis of harvest mites can be achieved by simply applying a magnifying glass to the coat of affected regions. Alternatively, a sample of superficial skin can be used. A normal infestation can be removed by using most custom anti-parasitic products. However, heavy infestations require more than one treatment. It is therefore the most effective to spray the product directly onto affected areas, especially the limbs and paws. If a bacterial infection of the skin is already present, an antibiotic will have to be administered concurrently.
If you observe any of the symptoms mentioned above, consult your vet and arrange for an appointment within the next days or weeks. The patient should be immediately separated from other dogs and cats, especially in your household. Please inform your vet in advance about your visit so that ample preparations can be met in order to prevent the transmission of harvest mites to other animals. If you are raising more than one animal, all have to be treated for a mite infestation, even if they show no symptoms.