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Mange in Dogs

There are two types of Mange commonly seen in dogs : Sarcoptic and Demodectic (also called Red Mange). Both types of mites are so small they can’t be seen with the naked eye.

Sarcoptic Mange

Cause:

A parasitic mite that infects the skin of dogs or other canines.

Note: Sarcoptic mange is contagious and it can be spread to cats and humans if you have physical contact with an affected animal.

Symptoms:

If left untreated , this type of mange can spread to the entire body. Normally, it starts in areas where there is less hair, such as the ears, elbows, paws and legs, and the stomach area.

Diagnosis:

A veterinarian uses skin scrapings, the patient history, and the symptoms of the dog to make the diagnosis of sarcoptic mange. Often the sarcoptes mites are difficult to find during the microscopic examination of the skin scrapings, so sometimes skin scraping can give a false negative result. Therefore, if the history and symptoms appear to match those of sarcoptic mange, often the veterinarian may administer the treatment for the suspected case of mange. If the patient responds to the therapy, the diagnosis is presumed to be sarcoptic mange. If the treatment does not improve the symptoms within a few days other diagnoses and other tests will be needed.

Treatment:

Treatment for sarcoptic mange depends on the dog’s breed, the health of the dog, and what other issues might be present. If there are other dogs in the home, they should also be examined and possibly treated due to the likelihood of them being infected with the mites. If members of the family have itching or a rash, they call their doctor for advice.

Demodectic (Red Mange)

Cause:

An overgrowth of microscopic mites called demodex, which are usually only found in small groups throughout the dog’s skin.

Note: All dogs have a few of these mites in their skin, but only dogs whose immune system is not mature, or is suppressed by age or disease will develop the overgrowth of the mites. It is not contagious from dog to other pets or humans.

Symptoms:

Most patients will have patches of hair loss in certain areas on the body. This type of mange may cause itching, but if present, it is generally not severe. Itching and visible skin changes are often seen with secondary bacterial or fungal skin infections.

Diagnosis:

Skin scrapes are examined under the microscope to find the mange mites. Most cases of demodectic mange reveal mites relatively easily.

Treatment:

Topical and Oral medications may both be effective and repeat skin scrapes will be needed to make sure that the demodectic mange is cleared completely.

If you think that your dog has either type of mange, please consult your veterinarian about more information and treatment.

 

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