First, the phone call: “My cat has red bugs. What are they?”
After several minutes of trying to figure out what the person was talking about, we told him to come in.
My tech went into the room to look at the bugs in question, which had been extracted from the cat and gingerly placed in a Tupperware bug habitat. “Those are scabs,” she told the owner.
“What do you know?” retorted the owner. “You’re not the doctor.”
So I go in, and confirm to the owner that yes, those look like scabs. I examined the pet and found a few small scabs, some pink skin, and zero bugs.
“No, they’re NOT!” the owner insisted. “I saw them running around.” He picked up the Tupperware, took off the lid, and shook it a little. “They’re moving! Look!!” and when I looked down, the little pieces of dead skin were floating around on linty balls of fur.
I showed the owner under a microscope that the things he showed us were flat, keratinized, and had no legs, mouth, feet, head, thorax, or anything that typical bugs would have. Then he announced that maybe he accidentally picked off a scab or something, but there were for sure some other things on the pet that were bugs.
It took a long time to convince the owner that maybe, just maybe, there was another reason the pet was itching beside the red bugs, but he still took a dose of Revolution as he was leaving since “that gets the most bugs.”