Nasal Mites in Dogs
Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith

nasal miteNasal mites are a common but rarely diagnosed mite that infects the nasal passages of dogs and wild canines. The scientific name for nasal mites is Pneumonyssoides caninum.

What are the symptoms of a nasal mite infestation?

Infestation with the nasal mite usually does not cause any serious symptoms, however, some dogs may develop a heavy infection and will suffer from bouts of sneezing or nose bleeds. Other dogs may develop a chronic nasal discharge from the infection.

How is a nasal mite infestation diagnosed?

The mite lives inside the nasal passages, but some mites will travel to the outer edges of the nostril. A healthy dog becomes infected when it has nose-to-nose contact with an infected dog. If the infection causes symptoms, the mite can be identified by taking a swab of the nasal passage and applying it to a microscope slide. There are usually a large number of mites visible on the slide if an active infection is present.

How is a nasal mite infestation treated and prevented?

Treatment is very straightforward and consists of administering oral ivermectin. This is an off-label use of ivermectin in dogs, and the drug must be administered by or under the direct recommendation of a veterinarian. Prevention includes keeping your dog out of contact with infected or stray dogs.

Can I get nasal mites from my dog?

No. Pneumonyssoides caninum only infests dogs.


Infestation with the nasal mite is not frequently diagnosed, but should be considered as a cause of chronic sneezing, nosebleeds, or nasal discharge in dogs. Fortunately, if it is suspected, it is easily diagnosed and treated.

References and Further Reading

Georgi, J.; Georgi, M. Canine Clinical Parasitology. Lea and Febiger; 1992.

Paterson, S. Skin Diseases of the Cat. Blackwell Science Ltd. Malden, MA; 2000.

Scott, D.; Miller, W.; Griffin, C. Muller and Kirk's Small Animal Dermatology. W.B. Saunders Co. Philadelphia, PA; 2001. 

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