Can My Pet Get Pubic Lice?

No. Pets cannot become infested or transmit pubic lice. Pubic lice is a specifically human condition.

What is Pubic Lice?

Pubic lice, or crabs, are small insects that eat human blood and live mainly in the pubic area, although they are sometimes found on facial hair, chest hair and in the armpits. Lice can grow up to 1/8 inch long.

Lice eggs, or nits, often look like dandruff, but cannot be easily brushed out of the hair. A lice infestation occurs when a large number of lice live on a person. Lice of all kinds are spread by contact; pubic lice are no different, and are mostly spread through sexual contact.

What Are the Symptoms of Pubic Lice?

Most commonly, pubic lice will cause severe itching. The bites from the lice will make small marks on your body. If the lice are on your face or near your eyes, it may cause the eyelids to be crusty. If you look closely, you will see lice. Avoid scratching too much as it can cause skin irritation and possibly infections.

How Do I Remove Pubic Lice?

Taking these steps as soon as you discover you have pubic lice. Remember, lice can live up to two days off the body.

  • Treat the lice as soon as you notice it. Over the counter creams and shampoos can be used.
  • Wash all bedding (sheets, blankets, mattress pads) in very hot water, at least 130 Fahrenheit, and dry on high heat for at least 20 minutes. Wash all clothing that may have been exposed in the same manner.
  • Wash combs or any other items in very hot water, or soak in rubbing alcohol for at least one hour.
  • Put any items that cannot be washed into airtight bags for at least two weeks.
  • Vacuum your floors to remove any lice on them.
  • Think of any other surfaces that may have been in contact with the lice. Think of the couch, toilet seat, etc that may have lice. Inspect and clean these areas appropriately.
  • Don't have sex until the lice clears up.
  • Be sure to notify and sexual partners who may have been in contact with lice.

Keep in mind that pubic lice, and lice in general, is much more common than you may think. Don't be embarrassed if you have pubic lice. See your doctor immediately if you're not sure, and notify any sexual partners who are at risk.


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