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Whether ticks, fleas, or worms: dog owners are familiar with most parasites. The situation is different with the deer louse fly. But what about the unknown parasite? You can find out why the deer louse fly is nicknamed the flying tick and what you should know about the parasite in our overview.

What is a deer louse fly?

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The deer louse belongs to the flies and is around five to six millimeters in size. It lives in wooded areas and at first, glance looks very similar to a small fly. But the parasite feeds on the blood of a host similar to a tick. The deer louse fly (Lipoptena cervi) normally attacks deer, wild boar, or other forest dwellers. But dogs and even people can also be stung by the flying pest.

Is the deer louse fly’s bite dangerous for the dog?

The peculiarity of the deer louse fly compared to mosquitoes or other flying bloodsuckers: The parasite sheds its wings as soon as it has landed on the victim’s body. This allows the animal to move even faster on the dog’s skin. The bite itself takes around 15 to 20 minutes and is very painful. If it remains undetected, the deer louse nests on the host for up to a year and reproduces there.

The deer louse fly can transmit the dangerous bacterium “Bartonella schoenbuchensis” with its bite. An infection causes a number of painful symptoms.

Deer louse fly in dogs: recognizing symptoms

Deer louse stings are extremely painful for dogs. The first symptom is therefore great restlessness and jerky movements. The dog tries to scratch the animal away or starts cleaning itself in a panic. The sting itself can ignite quickly. Undetected inflammation can lead to further symptoms, for example, fever or general malaise.

Deer louse fly in dogs: correct treatment

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Due to their size, it is often not that easy to spot the deer louse on the dog. The parasite often goes undetected, especially in long-haired dogs and four-legged friends with very thick fur. It is best to comb your dog thoroughly if he shows any abnormal behavior after a walk in the woods. A shower can also help to rinse the deer louse off the body.

If the parasite has already bitten, it is best to see the vet.

The vet can remove the parasite and treat the stab wound. If there is inflammation, pain relievers, antiallergic drugs, and anti-inflammatory drugs can help. Careful cooling of the sting also relieves the pain and allows the skin to swell.

Prevent deer louse flies in dogs

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The flying parasite is mainly in the woods from July to October. If you suspect that there are many deer lice in your area, avoid the area and look for a different walking route in the summer months. To protect your dog, you can use flea sprays or spot-on supplements. Many products that work against pests such as ticks and fleas also protect your four-legged friend from deer lice.