Commonly referred to as the mold mite, tyrophagus putrescentiae is a grain storage mite. Increased moisture and humidity are the perfect environment for storage mites to develop. Colonization of the storage mite generally goes unnoticed until your dog or cat develops symptoms. Such mites are often found in dry kibble dog and cat foods as well as boxed pet treats. The moisture (<10%) content in the dry kibble provides a breeding ground for the storage mites. Storage Mites are not dust mites.
Pets are exposed to storage mites by eating the dry kibble and are at risk of sensitization and allergic response. Pets may be exposed to the mite body parts and their excretions through inhalation or percutaneous absorption. Time and exposure to storage mites causes clinical signs in certain pets and immunotherapy may become necessary. Environmental control is most important in minimizing your pet's clinical signs of sensitivities to storage mites in conjunction with immunotherapy. Storage Mites are often overlooked by the veterinarian as a possible cause for certain allergic responses in dogs and cats.
Storage mite infestations have been found in dried fruits, cereals, flour, grain, seeds, straw, bulbs as well as wallpaper and furniture. It is impossible to completely eliminate storage mites from the environment. It is possible to control their population by taking precautions.
- Buy premium pet foods and treats, in well-sealed bags and boxes, without any holes or tears. Quality foods have little excess debris in the bottom of the bag or box.
- Check the date on the bag. Buy only the quantity that you need for a 30 day supply.
- Do not stockpile dry pet food.
- Do not buy short-dated dry kibble, no matter what the discount may be on the product because it has been hanging around too long.
- Upon opening a fresh bag of kibble, divide the kibble into portion size freezer storage bags or freezer containers and freeze, freeze, freeze.
- Remove serving portions, from the freeze and immediately return the remainder to cold storage.
- Date the freezer bags with both the Product Expiration Date from the original bag and the date you open and freeze the kibble. It is easy to determine stale kibble.
- Do not store dry kibble in the garage or basement even if you have a closed rodent proof container.
- Let you "nose" check for any unusual odor in the kibble and your "eyes" for mold or dust on the kibble.
- Vacuum and keep clean your pet's eating area.
- Wash all food dishes and storage containers in hot water and dry thoroughly.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water whenever handling dry pet food kibble. Avoid cross-contamination with dry kibble and human eating surfaces. Always use safe-handling procedures.
This article was originally published on February 23, 2012 on the JUST PETS blog. Reprinted by request.