Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Operation Itchy & Scratchy

Lice people, I have LICE in my house!!! Or at least that's what the vet thinks is the source of everybody's incessant scratching. I didn't even know dogs could get lice. He couldn't see them for sure but when I described the symptoms and timetable of events that was his best guess. He tells me this would be a best case scenario of all the possible itch causing, blood sucking parasites. This is of little consolation to me. There's something about parasites that's particularly upsetting and loathsome. Lazy little bastards getting fat off the labors of others and contributing nothing in return. Maybe this is why I have such contempt for all the trustfunders around here.

Anyway, the vet sends me home with some flea & tick shampoo and tells me to bathe the dogs and clean all the dog bedding, etc. You think??!! If it wasn't for my fear of pesticides I'd bug bomb the whole house. And the yard. And the neighbor's yard. But the vet says lice are the easiest to kill of all the bugaboos so no need to nuke the place with chemicals. But my skin is crawling at the thought of lice. In my house. I have to treat this like a military operation in order to be sure I get rid of all the bugs-set up a Clean Zone so the bathed dogs don't get reinfected by the bugsy dogs or don't get into infected bedding or carpet but I need to keep a Bugsy Zone so the unbathed dogs have a place to hang out. Jonny is out with Strummer which only complicates matters because they could come home at any moment and contaminate my Clean Zone. And every last one of my dogs hates baths. All of this with a late start on a work night.

Of course Jonny gets home with Strummer while I'm bathing Cody so I can't explain it all nicely, I have to yell at him to keep Strummer out of my Clean Zone and I don't have time to explain it all just pretty please could you get going on the vacuuming and maybe clean out Strummer's crate and throw some more dogs beds into the washer and get the bugsy comforter off the bed and out of my Clean Zone pleeeze??!! My dogs have a lot of beds and crate pads, I had no idea how many until it came down to washing them all. Spoiled little monsters. 'It's lucky they're cute', that's what the receptionist at the vet tells me when I tell her the diagnosis of lice.

Poor Jonny, I don't think he's all that bothered by the lice but he's not thrilled with me barking orders at him. At one point I'm up to my elbows in Strummer and water and toxic chemical shampoo and trying to keep him from shaking and getting pesticide in my eye or jumping out of the tub and Jonny's asking me what to use to clean out the crate and I have to yell to figure it out yourself I can't take my brain off of the Strummer situation for even a split second or we will have chaos or worse.

I finish with dog baths at around 8 pm and cleaning at around 9. It's one way to get me to clean the house and bathe the dogs I suppose. I get to repeat the whole process in a week when I give them another flea bath and hopefully that will be the end of our little friends.


  1. Oh, no! I'm itching just reading about it. Eeew!

  2. Yes, I know, I was itching too. Luckily dog lice don't go on humans so it's all in my head.

  3. *shudder*


    I'm going to be thinking about this for days now...So sorry!!!

  4. Not to freak you out or anything but if you ever looked at your eyelashes and eyebrows under a microscope, you would be amazed at the creepy critters that live in there :-)

  5. You are a big help Morganne!
    Skye has been chewing on himself, like flea biting, for the last few weeks, but he's the only one and we don't have any fleas here. I have looked for evidence of something causing him issue but there doesnt appear to be anything. I figured it was some seasonal allergy or due to all the moisture we've had lately. I am not going to think that it may be doggie lice - at least until I see the rest of the dogs itching too.
    At least you are getting a clean(er) house out of the panic!

  6. Thanks Morganne. I'm off to shave my eyebrows and eyelashes off.

    Greg, I doubt Skye has lice if it's only him. The lice spreads easily between dogs sharing a household so it's almost certain some if not all of your other dogs would also be scratching. The gestation period of the eggs is 3 weeks though so if the others start up then it's a possibility. I'd also suspect allergies as the prime suspect.

    I think Strum & Lola picked up the lice at the USDAA trial at the County Fair 3 weeks ago. They were scratching the night of the trial then Cody, who wasn't there, started scratching with a vengeneance this past Saturday night, exactly 3 weeks later.

    The good news is that Strum's been with me at work all day and hasn't scratched once though he had stopped his heavy scratching a week or two ago anyway. I think he's so hyper he was tiring out the lice and they fled ship to the other dogs. I'll see how the others are doing when I get home. Poor Cody, he seemed to have it the worst and he wasn't even at the trial.

  7. Shaving the eyelashes won't help; I think you have to yank them out by the roots and then apply pesticide. I do that all the time. (Ha! Not in my wildest dreams!)

    I never worried quite so much about clean zones. There is some residual protection on the dogs from the pesticide baths, and so if everything gets cleaned in a reasonable amount of time, there's only so much transferring that'll go on anyway. I try to gather up all the dog bedding and such first, then clean the rooms that I can shut the dogs out of one way or another, then clean the dogs, then finish whatever other cleaning needs doing. Anyway, worked for fleas. Back before Frontline and all that.

    Good luck!

  8. I know rationally that I didn't have to go so crazy but the very thought of LICE in my HOUSE sent me a little bit to crazy town.

    I spent a couple of more hours last night doing laundry and vacuuming the foam pads and bedding from inside the dog beds and crate pads. I couldn't believe the dirt and dog hair that came out so it wasn't such a bad thing anyway.

  9. Oh, what a pain in the butt for you!

    I didn't think it was possible for me to have one more anxiety producing obsession, but now dog lice are on the list. Every time one of my dogs scratches I'll be thinking "is it lice?" But they're on Advantix year-round (our fleas never sleep here in NC) and that allegedly kills lice. Or does it? Arrgh ...

  10. I don't think dog lice is all that common. We were at a county fair with lots of livestock around and the vet said that's a good way to get it. Supposedly the lice is not as bad a thing as fleas, easier to kill anyway. I'm supposing that since the cure for the lice was flea/tick shampoo that Advantix would take care of the lice as well but I'm no vet.