Mange is a skin condition caused by several kinds of mites. Some mites are naturally present in the skin and hair of the dog, but others may not. Both mites, regardless of whether or not they are naturally present, have the potential to cause mild to serious skin infections. The most common form of mange, Demodex, lives naturally on dogs, and even on humans.
A poor immune system is the most common factor that causes demodex to multiply. Other causes include:
- Heat cycles
- Giving birth
- Underlying illness
- Poor nutrition
Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms can differ from dog to dog, as symptoms are linked to the dog’s ability to tolerate mites. Some dogs are genetically resistant and will never show any symptoms of mange. Dogs without resistance suffer from hair loss, scratching and discomfort. Any dog with a weak immune system is at risk of showing symptoms, and normal adult dogs with thyroid or cancer issues frequently break with Demodex. The primary symptom is a patchy hair loss, usually occurring around the eyes or areas of the face. Over time, the crusty red skin transforms into a greasy, moist look.
Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose mange through skin scratching, or through a urine test. When mange has been diagnosed, the veterinarian will explore what medical options are available to help clear up the infestation. Mange care would rely on the type of mange (sarcoptic or demodectic) that your dog has developed and the breed that your dog has developed. Treatment can include:
- Shampoos / dips
- Oral treatment
- Topical treatment
Your vet will follow every treatment plan with two more rounds of skin scrapes to see if your dog is free of infection or needs more medication. Be sure to disinfect or remove all of the bedding or toys that might be infested. Your vet will also recommend that you quarantine your dog so as to prevent the spread of mange from pet to pet or human to human. This is good advice if the dog is suffering from a sarcoptic mange as it can be passed to both humans and dogs.
First and foremost, ensuring your dog’s general wellbeing is essential to building immunity from mite infestations. A healthy diet and a clean environment will significantly reduce your dog’s risk of developing a mite infestation.
If your dog is suffering from tick borne diseases like heartworm, then you could also buy VetScan Flex4 rapid test to diagnose and treat your dog accordingly. Consult your veterinarian for further prevention and care options.