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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Damp Hay Itch (Pelodera Dermatitis)




Condition Overview

This disease is caused by the larvae of a threadlike worm found in decaying rice hulls, straw, marsh hay, and other grasses that are in contact with damp soil. The larvae burrow into the skin of the dog's chest, abdomen, and feet causing intense itching and pimple like bumps.


You may see raw, crusted, inflamed areas where the dog has scratched and chewed the skin.


This condition is found in dogs who are bedded on a damp hay and straw.


The diagnosis is made by finding the worm larvae on microscopic examination of skin scrapings.


Bathe the dog with a benzoyl peroxide shampoo such as OxyDex or Pyoben to remove scales and crusts. Follow with an organophosphate insecticide dip such as Paramite. Repeat the dip in 1 week if the dog continues to itch. Apply topical antibiotic ointment to inflamed skin areas 3 times daily.


Clean out old hay and straw. Wash the dogs bedding and spray the sleeping are with an organophosphate insecticide containing malathion or diazinon. Change the bedding from hay to cedar shavings or shredded paper, or provide the dog with a fabric-covered sleeping pad that is washed frequently.


Please contact your veterinarian if you suspect your pet may have this condition.

Show Sources & Contributors +


Dog Owners Home Veterinary Handbook

Publisher: Wiley Publishing, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Authors: Debra M. Eldredge, Liisa D. Carlson, Delbert G. Carlson, James M. Giffen MD

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