ISSN 2398-2942      

Nasal mites


Gad Baneth

Set Bornstein

Synonym(s): Pneumonyssoides caninum




  • Order: Acari.
  • Family: Halarachnidae.
  • Genus: Pneumonyssoides.
  • Previously named Pneumonyssus caninum (Chandler and Ruhe 1940).

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Clinical Effects



  • Nasal cavities and the paranasal (frontal) sinuses (conchae).
  • Maximum number found in a dog = 334.
  • Minimum = 1.
  • Median = 13.


  • Observed at necropsy in caudal nasal cavities and para-frontal sinuses following cleavage of the skull midline.
  • Easily overlooked at autopsy if nasal passages and sinuses of skull are not carefully examined.
  • Movement of mites stimulated by increased temperatures (>18°C - <30°C).


  • Assume infection by direct contact.
  • Cannot exclude indirect transmission taking into account that mites migrate along muzzle.
  • Can survive outside host up to 19 days in moist environments and in cool temperatures of +4 - 8°C.
  • In dry environment, die within 24 hours.
  • Mobile and can move at a speed of 1 cm/sec.
  • Mites placed on muzzle will move towards and into nostrils.
  • Age, sex or breed predisposition, not extensively studied.
  • Studies in Sweden found that infection is less common in dogs less than three years old in comparison with older dogs.
  • Median age of dogs infected is 6 years (range: 4 months -12 years).
  • No sex predisposition for nasal mite infection found in Sweden, Norway or South Africa.
  • Infection less common in mixed-breed (mongrels) than in German shepherd dogs German Shepherd Dog , Golden Retriever: Golden and Flatcoated retrievers Retriever: Flat-coated.
  • Infection 6.5 times more common in large breed dogs than in small dogs.

Pathological effects

  • No strong protective immunity evident.
  • Circulating specific antibodies to mite demonstrated by indirect ELISA Enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).
    ELISA not yet evaluated as a diagnostic tool and is not commercially available.


  • Found at necropsy in nasal cavities and sinuses.
  • Mild erythema of mucous membranes of nasal cavities and sinuses.
  • Some fluid accumulation in frontal sinuses reported.
  • Tonsillitis reported in some cases.


  • Inflammation of olfactory mucosa.
  • About 60 % of cases have sinusitis associated with moderate to high numbers of mites.


  • Infections are most often subclinical (perhaps due to owners failing to notice slight behavioral changes).
  • Non-specific symptoms of upper respiratory tract:
    • Sneezing.
    • Reverse sneezing.
    • Facial pruritus.
    • Nasal discharge.
    • Rhinitis Rhinitis.
    • Impaired sense of smell (hyposmia).
  • Restlessness.
  • Infection may be associated with lacrimation.
  • Infection may be associated with CNS disturbances.

Other Host Effects

  • No evidence that number of mites is correlated to clinical signs.
  • Eosinophilia is sometimes found therefore hypersensitivity reactions may be involved Skin: external parasite bite reaction.
  • Mild inflammation of upper respiratory tract occurs.
  • Course of infection may be chronic.
  • No evidence of self-limiting infection.


Control via chemotherapies

  • Ivermectin Ivermectin , dosage and application as indicated for use in dogs:
    • Ivomec® subcutaneous injections, 2 - 3 times; 7 days apart.
    • Cardomec® tablets, originally preventive treatment for heartworm.
  • Fipronil Fipronil (Frontline®).
  • Milbemycin oxime Milbemycin oxime tablets (Interceptor®, Novartis), 0.5-1.0 mg per kg body weight once a week for three consecutive weeks.
  • Selamectin Selamectin (Stronghold®) spot on 6-24 mg per kg body weight.


  • Low prevalence in many countries may be due to common use of heartworm prophylactics eg ivermectin Ivermectin or milbemycin Milbemycin oxime.
  • 20-24 % prevalence in Sweden.
  • 7 % prevalence in Norway.


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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Gunnarsson L, Zakrisson G, Christensson D et al (2004) Efficacy of Selamectin in the Treatment of Nasal Mite (Pneumonyssoides caninum) Infection in Dogs. J Am Anim Hosp Assoc 40 (5), 400-404 PubMed.
  • Rehbinder C & Karlsson T (2003) Treatment of canine nasal mite infection. Svensk Veterinärtidning 55 (3), 19-22 VetMedResource.
  • Gunnarsson L K, Zakrisson G, Egenvall A et al (2001) Prevalence of Pneumonyssoides caninum infection in dogs in Sweden. JAAHA 37 (4), 331-337 PubMed.
  • Gunnarsson L K, Möller L C, Einarsson A M et al (1999) Clinical efficacy of milbemycin oxime in the treatment of nasal mite infection in dogs. JAAHA 35 (1), 81-84 PubMed.
  • Marks S L, Moore M P & Rishniw M (1994) Pneumonyssoides caninum: the canine nasal mite. Compend Contin Educ Pract Vet 16 (5), 577-583 VetMedResource.
  • Rehbinder C, Christensson D, Bornstein S & Zakrisson G (1994) Examination of autopsy material. Pneumonyssus caninum - a mite in the pneumatic cavities of the dog. (Orginally in Swedish:Undersökning av ett obduktionsmaterial. Pneumonyssus caninum - ett kvalster i huvudets luftvägar hos hund). Svensk Veterinärtidning 46, 489-495.
  • Rehbinder C, Christensson S, Zakrisson G, Christensson B (1994) Pneumonyssoides caninum:-a mite in the air cavities of the head of dogs. Originally in Swedish (Pneumonyssoides caninum: - ett kvalster I huvudets luftvägar hos hund). Svensk Veterinärtidning 46, 489-495.
  • Fain A (1955) Un nouvel Acarien parasite des fosse nasales du Phacochère au Ruanda-Urundi. Pneumonyssoides phacochoeri n.g n.sp. Revue de Zoologie et de Botanique Africaines 51, 293-303.
  • Chandler W L & Ruhe D S (1940) Pneumonyssus caninum n. sp, a mite from the frontal sinus of the dog. J Parasitol 26, 59-67 VetMedResource.

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