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Can You Get Head Lice From Animals?

Can You Get Head Lice From Animals?
Updated on 
November 16, 2020

Your pets are safe from head lice, but other animals do get lice. Can you get lice from an animal that’s not a dog or cat? Only humans can be hosts for head lice; other animals are the wrong temperature and wrong hair for their egg-laying. But besides head lice, can you get lice from animals?

CAN YOU GET LICE FROM A HORSE?

Besides cats and dogs, people have physical contact with horses. Lice that fall off a person onto a horse have a slight chance of finding another human before dying. But animals cannot act as vectors for head lice any more than inanimate objects can, so it is highly unlikely to catch lice from a horse. Two types of lice infest horses, neither of which infest humans.

CAN YOU GET LICE FROM GOATS?

can you get lice from goats

Found lice after the fair? The petting zoo isn’t the source. Goat lice are different from head lice and only infest goats. You cannot catch head lice from a goat or other barnyard animals.

CAN YOU GET LICE FROM CHICKENS?

can you get lice from chickens

Chickens don’t carry head lice. They get a type of lice called Menoponidae, which don’t bite but eat debris, like skin flakes. Lice on chickens don’t affect humans.

Can you get lice from birds?

What people call bird lice are actually mites. Mites can cause problems for humans. Mites/bird lice cannot infest human hair as head lice do.

CAN YOU GET LICE FROM RATS?

can you get lice from rats

Rodents don’t carry head lice. People cannot catch rat lice from rats, but pet rodents like hamsters can.

CAN YOU GET LICE FROM FLIES?

can you get lice from flies

Of all the types of flies, none carry head lice. Some flies are vectors for other parasites that infest humans, such as tsetse flies, but these don’t live in the US. The main parasite vector insects in the US are ticks, which cause babesiosis.

All of the above parasites are unrelated to head lice and cannot cause human head lice. It’s extremely unlikely that you will catch head lice anywhere but from another human head; only 5% of cases of head lice are contracted from ALL OTHER SOURCES COMBINED. If you are dealing with lice that came from an animal, unfortunately, LiceDoctors cannot help you, as we only treat human head lice; call a veterinarian or an exterminator for animal lice, or your doctor if you’re uncertain.

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