On warm days in late summer until the first frosts of winter, they climb up long grass and bushes waiting for something warm-blooded to pass! When they get the chance they jump on and swarm over the mammal’s body to find an area where the skin is thinnest, before sinking their hooked fangs in. They feed by injecting a fluid into the deeper layers of the skin. This liquefies the surrounding cells and the resulting ‘goo’ is sucked back into the mite. They will feed for 2 – 3 days, enlarging in size from 0.2mm to 0.6mm as they do so. They can just be seen by the naked eye as orange dots. After feeding they drop to the ground where they develop into adults via a nymph stage.
The mites tend to principally affect cats, although humans, rabbits and dogs can also get them. They can cause very few problems, but sadly a lot of animals become allergic to the fluid injected by the mite, resulting in reddening and crusting of the skin. Often the animal will then scratch at the mites, worsening the inflammation and introducing bacterial infection.
The mites tend to attach just in front of the ears, at the base of the ear flap or between the toes. Less frequently the chin, lips, armpits and tummy can suffer.Alternative approach to dealing with Harvest Mites
In Ireland harvest mites are a problem mid/end July to mid September. Some dogs can have a large burden and not seem to be bothered while some dogs only have a couple and are 3 legged lame. When the mites bite the skin they inject tiny bits of acid like substance to create a reaction from the dogs body . Every year these mites cause untold pain and discomfort to our furry friends but the chemicals that we have traditionally used can be harmful to the body also in recent years also seemed very ineffective .
Here's a more natural approach to dealing with harvest mites.
Wash their digestive juice off skin with organic dish washing up liquid and then put on a barrier cream made of shaking Aloe vera gel and almond oil together in a bottle with a drop each of peppermint, tea tree, Neem and lavender Essential oil .
Rub some cream between toes, feet and lower legs these are the main areas dogs seem to be affected but I also apply to ares the dog is chewing or if i feel the wee scabs often accompanying the mites.
Thanks to our wonderful Herbalist Jo Arbon of Holistic Hound based in Kerry, Ireland and Tom Farrington Homeopath & Vet Roscarbery we can now easily get an updated version of this in an easy to use cream
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