Mange in Dogs
Photo of Mange in the skin of a dog:
Photo ©2005 Michael Campbell- Big Paws Only
Information on Mange
Mange in dogs is defined as a mite infestation of the dogs skin where mites dig and burrow and then feed in the dogs hair follicles and or oil glands. Mange can be any kind of mite problem but the more common diseases are known as Sarcoptic (sometimes called Scabies when people get it) and Demodex (or Demodectic) Mange – Sarcoptic being the more severe. Cheyletiella mange mites are much less sever but can lead to the same problems as the fore mentioned.
For more information on the specific types of mites that are common among dogs, follow the link below:
Most all dogs have mange to a certain extent as it is hereditary and inherited as puppies from the mother dog. Normally their population is so small that they don’t cause any problems but occasionally puppies that have a genetic predisposition, and sometimes older dogs, that have a rough time with illness or nutritional support, may find that their immune system threshold can no longer support the fight against the mites. When this occurs the mite population erupts causing a life-threatening problem and an extremely painful one at that.
Photo of a microscopic Mange Mite
Photo ©2000 Jim Kalisch, UNL Entomology
If you find your dog has a problem that
"Properly trained, a man can be a dog's best friend." - Corey Ford, American Writerneeds to be addressed, you want to be sure you check your own skin as well as any other pets in the house. These are contagious especially when it comes to Sarcoptic mites – with almost 50% of those contacted manifesting the disease.
Symptoms of Mange
Symptoms of mange can be quite noticeable – as you will first notice an itching and scratching dog. Sometimes the pup will have a case but will build the immune defenses needed to stop the growth cycle and repair the damage they may have caused. In cases where they are not able to defend for lack of immunity, redness and sometimes skin lesions of a transient nature will occur. Normally this is seen in small patches and the animals hair might loosen and fall out but in the worst of circumstances, the mites population will infest and overwhelm the entire body of the dog.
Usually diagnosing mange requires a simple skin scraping of the affected area. The doctor will then put the sample under a microscope to look for the mites. Sarcoptic mites are usually not visible and further blood work may be required.
There are several treatments for mange mites and usually they’re quite effective. Your veterinarian will prescribe one of them (sometimes a dip, spray or creme) with perhaps an antibiotic and positive results should appear inside 7 days. Ivermectin, known to farmers for a long time as a dewormer has become a successful treatment for many dogs however a few breeds such as Collies and Shelties do not respond well to it. You must visit the vet for mange as only medication can reverse these effects.
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