Demodex Mange: a very common yet very treatable skin condition, if taken care of correctly.
By: N Gilbert
Most people don't know and understand this, please read and share the info!
Demodex Mange in Dogs...
While many believe that this is "JUST" a skin rash, it CAN and WILL affect your pet's life and can also be fatal!
What causes mange?
Mange can be caused by one of a number of parasitic mites. Demodectic mange, caused by Demodectic mites, is one form of mange. Mange mites are very small. To see them, they must be observed through a microscope. These parasites live primarily in the hair follicles of your pet. A few are also found in the sebaceous glands of the skin adjacent to hair follicles. These are the glands that produce your pet’s hair coat and skin oils. The parasites spend their entire life on the dog.
How did your pet catch mange?
Most veterinarians believe that Demodex canis is found in most or all dogs in low numbers that cause no disease. We also believe that puppies probably become contaminated with these mites shortly after birth as they nurse and snuggle with their mother who already harbors the mites.
What are the signs of mange?
There are two forms... Localized and Generalized.
The first are young dogs that are not yet mature. Owners often notice a small patch of thin or missing hair on the pet’s face, but also occasionally on the leg or trunk. It is rare for these little patches to be inflamed or itchy. These patches are quite distinctive – similar to the one in my illustration. Ninety percent of these localized cases will resolve in a month or two with or without treatment. But in approximately ten percent, the mites are not eliminated and go on to colonize much of the pet’s skin. Those pets have developed generalized demodectic mange. This unfortunate situation is more likely to occur in dogs whose parents or bloodline previously experienced this form of mange.
The second group of dogs have generalized mange that involves many areas of the body. These dogs have sparse or patchy hair coats. Their skin is often overly pigmented and thickened. These pets have a musty, unhealthy odor. Many have waxy ear infections (ceruminous otitis).
Some of pets with demodectic mange itch and scratch. When they do, they usually have a secondary bacterial skin infection that needs treatment. The superficial lymph nodes on these pets are often enlarged. They may run a low fever and appear listless and ill.
Occasionally, generalized demodectic mange will occur in an older pet that had no previous problems with the mites. Pets that develop demodectic mange later in life generally have a weakened immune system due to another chronic heath problem. This can be a hormone imbalance such as an overly active adrenal gland, diabetes, liver or kidney failure, an immunosuppressive tumor or the use of medications that suppress your pet’s ability to keep mite numbers under control. Corticosteroid medications, such as prednisone, have been known to trigger Demodex, as has the generalized debility of heartworms.
When a dog over two years old suddenly develops demodectic mange, a series of tests will be necessary to try to locate its underlying problem.
The localized, spontaneously curing, form of demodectic mange does occasionally occur in older dogs. But it is quite uncommon.
Occasionally, dogs develop demodectic mange that is confined to their feet and paws. When this occurs, the paws become puffy, malodorous and raw due to secondary bacterial infection. These cases can be very stubborn and resistant to treatment. Shar peis, bulldogs and other wrinkly breeds are over-represented in all forms of adult demodectic mange and Old English Sheep Dogs to the paw form.
There are special bath regimens, medicine, and ointments to help with the cure of mange. Ask your veterinarian for more info if you suspect your dog of having this nasty mite!!