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Veterinarian discusses lice outbreak in Yellowstone County



Billings, Montana – When observing man’s best friend scratching or itching excessively, fleas and ticks are the first things that pop to mind.

But there is now a lice outbreak in Yellowstone County.

One of the finest pleasures for dog lovers is seeing their best pals having a good time. However, there are instances when playing shares more than simply joy. Additionally, it could transmit a bothersome parasite.

Additionally, Billings’ pet clinics and veterinarians are paying close attention.

“I would recommend that you would be vigilant when looking at your dog. If you’re noticing they’re itchy and you’re potentially worried about this, we recommend not bringing them into day camp or grooming,” said Cheyenne Risdon, service manager at Dee-O-Gee Billings.

The outbreak was reported by Caring Hands Veterinary Hospital in Billings earlier this month, and owner Amber Herron says it’s not unusual at this time of year.

“Lice tend to increase in the winter months just because we get more crowding, we get more togetherness of people and pets, and we snuggle more, so to speak. So yeah, it tends to be kind of a peak time for lice,” said Herron.

Because lice are parasites that live on their hosts, unlike fleas and ticks, they are unlikely to go on to another four-legged host.

“People get together for family gatherings of course over the holidays and dogs get together during those times too because of it and play, and it’s really great. But obviously if one of them has it, there’s a good chance the other ones do too,” said Herron.

She stated that although the parasites’ only emphasis is on dogs, mattresses, blankets, and brushes might also assist them to jump around.

“Lice are very species-specific, so you don’t have to worry about your kids or your cat, and you don’t even have to worry about your guinea pig,” Herron said.

And fortunately, Herron says, the treatment for your dog’s itch is rather simple.

“The really great thing is that they’re easily treatable. We have a pill that you give, it lasts for three months, it’ll keep them from cycling around and reproducing and things like that. It kills them right away in six to seven days but then continues to kill them, so they (lice) don’t repopulate,” Herron said.

However, she advises using preventative methods, such as flea and tick medications, to make sure your furry pals don’t become irritated in the first place.

“You don’t have to stop taking your dog out, you don’t have to stop doing things with your dogs or stop having them interact. Just protect them, just like you would with ticks or any other parasite,” said Herron.

So even without a visit from K9 cooties, they can still enjoy themselves.

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