Nasal Mites in Dogs

Key takeaways

Nasal mites (Pneumonyssus caninum) are a species of parasitic arachnids commonly found in the nasal cavity of dogs.

  • Nasal mites affect up to a quarter of the canine population in some areas
  • Symptoms of nasal mites include sneezing, nose bleeding, nasal discharge, and reverse sneezing
  • Diagnosis is based on detection of mites in samples from the nasal cavities, diagnostic imaging, and nasal biopsy
  • There is no approved treatment for nasal mites; antiparasitic medications are likely to be prescribed
  • Most dogs have an excellent prognosis and symptoms typically resolve after treatment
  • The best way to prevent nasal mites is to avoid contact with infected dogs
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A closer look: Nasal Mites in Dogs

Nasal mites are a common, contagious, and non-life-threatening condition in dogs.

While not deadly, nasal mites can cause dogs to develop a number of symptoms that reduce quality of life. Due to the contagious nature of the condition, prompt medical attention is critical in reducing the spread to other dogs.

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Risk factors

Nasal mites are not likely to be life threatening. Left untreated, the population of mites could grow large enough to block the airways making it difficult to breathe.

Note: signs of respiratory distress are an emergency requiring immediate veterinary attention.

Nasal mates can occur in any dog with no distinction of age, sex, or breed; however, dogs over the age of three and large breeds seem to be diagnosed more frequently.

Nasal mites are found worldwide, but some regions have higher rates of occurrence than others. Nasal mites are highly contagious, so dogs living in dense populations, such as kennels, breeding operations, and boarding facilities are more likely to cross infect each other if an individual with mites is introduced to the environment.

Possible causes

Nasal mites are caused by the Pneumonyssus caninum mite. Once inside the animal’s nasal cavities, the mites feed on shedding skin. The life cycle of these mites is poorly understood.

Nasal mites are contagious; close contact with infected animals is likely to cause the condition to spread. It is believed nasal mites can spread from direct and indirect contact between in-contact dogs.

Main symptoms

Not all dogs show symptoms when infected with nasal mites.

Testing and diagnosis

Symptoms of nasal mites can resemble those of a number of upper respiratory conditions. Dogs presenting with symptoms of nasal mites generally undergo the following diagnostics:

  • Physical examination
  • Examination of the dog’s nose through endoscopy
  • Nasal lavage
  • Nasal biopsy
  • Diagnostic imaging, including X-rays and CT

Steps to Recovery

Currently, no medications are approved to treat nasal mites. Dogs diagnosed with nasal mites are generally treated with antiparasitic medication.

Antiparasitic treatment is usually effective, and many dogs have complete resolution of symptoms and an excellent prognosis. In some cases, symptoms continue despite treatment, which may indicate that there are other respiratory issues occurring at the same time.


Nasal mites are contagious and spread via direct contact with infected dogs, and contact with contaminated surfaces or environments. The most effective preventive measures are avoiding contact between infected and non-infected animals, maintaining hygienic standards in the living environment, and staying up to date with external parasite control prescribed by a veterinarian.

Are Nasal Mites in Dogs common?

Infection with nasal mites is a highly contagious and common condition that affects up to a quarter of the canine population in some areas.

Typical Treatment

  • Antiparasitic medication

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