Mange is a parasitic disease found on a dog’s skin. There are some mites that are normal for a dog but a lot that are not. If any mites proliferate it can cause skin infections and sever problems.
Microscopic mites that are oval shaped and light colored cause something called Sarcoptic Mange or Scabeis. This is easily transferred between hosts.
Mothers will give their puppies Demodectic mites which are normal and do not cause any complications for the duration of the dog’s life. These are transferred when the mother is with her puppies in the very beginning of life.
The Localized demodicosis is a common type that affects puppies and will normally resolve itself. The appearance of this can be scaly bald patches of skin on the puppy. The face may get polka dot like spots on it.
A type of mange that affects a larger or entire part of a dog’s body is Generalized Demodectic Mange. Other infections caused by bacteria can make this type of mange smelly and very itchy. The treatment for this type of mange varies with the dog’s age. It can also be an indication of another health problem such as hereditary problems, endocrine problems, or a compromised immune system.
The hardest type of mange to treat would be called Demodectic Pododermatitis. This type stays in the feet and is worsened with bacterial infection. A proper diagnosis is usually only pinpointed during a biopsy in a vet’s office.
It is thought that these mites can be transferred from a dog to other dogs. However, if the dog has good health than the mites will add to the general mites that already exist on the dog and cause no complications. In rare cases contagion is possible but isolation of an infected is normally not necessary at all. There is a lot of controversy on whether or not dogs can give mites to one another but a sure fact is that humans and cats can’t get these mites from dogs.
Because there are different types of mites associated with mange there are different types of symptoms as well.
The following are different types of mange and their symptoms:
-Demodectic Mange- Scabbing, sores, bald spots, hair loss, and itchiness
-Sarcoptic Mange- Intense itching, restlessness, hair loss, body sores, and scabs
-Humans with Sarcoptic Mange- rash of red bumps like mosquito bites (humans can’t be infected with Demodectic mange from dogs)
Steps to take if Possible Mange is Present
Contact a vet immediately. The vet will conduct a physical exam and send skin samples off to the lab to be tested for mites using a microscope. Mange is hard even for a vet to detect so they will definitely need to know the dog’s history and symptoms to make an accurate diagnosis.
Mange Prone Dogs
Dogs at age 18 months or younger are prone to localizeddemodectic mange which usually clears up without treatment. Old English Sheepdogs and shar peis are prone to get generalized Demodectic mange. Older dogs may also be prone.
There are injection, topical, oral, dip and medicated shampoos. These treatments vary depending on the dog’s age, breed, and the type of mange the dog is infected with.
The following are the treatment steps for Sarcoptic Mange:
-Isolation to prevent spreading to other animals
-Medications such as anti-parasitic, inflammation medicine, itch medicine
-Medication for secondary skin infection if present
To treat Demodectic mange it is important to address the physiological stress as well as the physical as well as oral medication. There may also be secondary skin infections which require medicated shampoos. It is important to consult with a vet about all treatments as they can be harmful to a dog if not conducted properly.
Puppies or young dogs will normally accomplish a full recovery after treatment, however, older dogs will take longer to treat and control the mange. Demodectic mange may be hereditary so and infected dog should be spayed or neutered to prevent further infections.
During treatments it is important to get skin scrapes to keep track of the mange condition. This should be done every 2 weeks. Once the dog’s test comes back negative twice the medication can be stopped. One month after treatment has stopped however, another test should be conducted to be sure that the infection or disease does not infect the dog again. A second infection is possible so the dog must be closely observed even after treatment.