LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- The warm spring weather means your pup has a higher chance of catching dog lice in the Las Vegas valley.
Dustin Isom and his dog Milly spent part of their Monday afternoon at Sunset Park, but they usually spend more time at home.
“We kind of take her more on walks now, leashed walks around the neighborhood,” Isom said. Isom said he just found out about dog lice. “It makes me very scared.”
Isom said he didn't think he needed to worry about dog lice in Las Vegas.
“I'm from the east coast so I have always treated my dogs for flees, ticks, lice whatnot, but it was pretty amazing to hear that we wouldn't have to do that here,” he said.
Other dog owners thought the same thing.
“I always thought it was always too hot or either too cold or too windy to have it,” said one woman at the park.
“I use to live in L.A. and I've heard about it there, its much more populated a city, but never here,” said another woman.
“I've been seeing dogs get lice at Sunset Park for unfortunately for like six or seven years now,” said Dr. Allison Roberson.
Roberson is a veterinarian at Green Valley Animal Hospital. She said has already treated two dogs in the last few weeks.
“The extra rain that we've had has probably given the bugs a little extra nutrients to get them out of control,” Roberson said.
One dog mom at the park said her neighbors dogs recently had dog lice.
“Both of their dogs, Golden-doodles, large breed dogs, had it. They didn't realize what it was at first they were scratching like crazy and we thought it was allergies."
Roberson explained that dog lice is similar to human hair lice.
“Little parasites that live around the hair follicle and they bite your dog and they get really itchy,” Dr. Roberson said.
Dogs with lice usually become so itchy they continue scratching and can sometimes break the skin. If that happens, the dogs can get a bacterial infection.
“Not to mention keeping you awake at night, scratching, scratching, scratching,” said Dr. Roberson.
Your four legged friend can get these little lice from the groomers and dog washes too. But dog moms and dads can't catch it.
“They don't really like us,” said Dr. Roberson.
Dr. Roberson said don’t be scared of dog parks. They're great for exercise and socializing your dog.
Flea and tick prevention treatments help with lice as well.