If you notice your dog begins to itch nonstop and is losing more fur than usual, the dog may be suffering from the mange. This condition is caused by mites that burrow themselves in the follicles of animals and feed off their blood to survive.
The following information will provide information regarding mange in dogs. There will be information including details about what mange is, reasons dogs get it, as well as symptoms, and treatments for the condition.
What is Mange in Dogs?
Mange is a skin disease in dogs that is caused by one of a couple different kinds of parasitic mites (not the same as dog ear mites we’ve talked about). The mites are generally one of three kinds and they are: Cheyletiella yasguri, Sarcoptes scabiei, and Demodex canis. Each species of mite is associated with a different type of mange. For example, the Chyletiella yasguri causes what they call “Walking Dandruff”, Sarcoptes scabiei cause “canine scabies”, and the Demodex canis causes “demodex”.
Depending on the type of mite, the parasites embed themselves in hair and skin follicles. As it invades the dog’s body, they reproduce in large amounts and attack in rather large groups. Mange is highly contagious and special care is required when dealing with it. Demodectic mange in dogs, however, are not contagious to humans or other dogs.
Reasons Dogs Get Mange
There are several reasons dogs get mange. Most types of mange are highly contagious so constant exposure to high dog-traffic areas such as animal shelters, kennels, dog beaches, dog parks, etc. can increase a dog’s risk of developing it.
Many times, dogs are immune to mites, but some dogs have weakened immune systems from diseases such as cancer or heartworm. Dogs living in harsh outdoor conditions or those in direct contact with infected animals will also develop manage. Other dogs get mange because they are not taken care of properly and forced to live in dirty conditions without baths or grooming.
The symptoms of mange in dogs will vary depending on type of mite present. For instance, Sarcoptic mange will cause the animal intense itching. The symptoms for this condition will result in frantic scratching and agitation while occurring usually one week after exposure to it. This form will be commonly found on a dog’s elbows, legs, face, and ears but will spread quickly to the rest of the body.
On the other hand, Demodectic mange will cause sores, hair loss, scabbing, and bald spots. This form is usually accompanied by secondary bacterial infections that create an itchy, uncomfortable experience for a dog. A little known fact is that every dog naturally carries the Demodectic mange mites because they acquire them from their mother after birth. Most dogs live in peace with the mites and never suffer from symptoms, while other breeds are more prone to outbreaks than others.
The type of treatment required to treat mange will depend on how severe the case is and what kind it is. Some mites will only cover one small section of the body while others will cover the entire dog. Any case of mange is best off handled by a Veterinarian. The health professional will be able to prescribe the correct treatment and explain the correct way of administering it.
The most common forms of treatment for mange in dogs are Amitraz, mite killer analgesics, anti-fungal drugs, or lime-sulphur insecticide solutions. Amitraz is a solution that allows a certain body part to be dipped.
Depending on how bad the dog’s mange is, it’s probably best to conduct one of these dips every 7 to 10 days. This routine should be followed until all scrapings are cleared from the dog’s skin. Since the solution can have negative side effects, it must be supervised by a Veterinarian.
Mite killer analgesics are over-the-counter medicines that Vets will prescribe for milder cases. These analgesics come in forms such as powder, solutions, or ointments. These medicines should be applied once per day, preferably after the animal has had a bath. Just make sure to follow the doctor’s orders for how to rid the dog of the mites.
The anti-fungal medicines and lime-sulphur insecticide solutions have both been proven to work with some side effects. Depending on the location and severity of the mange, the Vet may prescribe oral medications as well. Regardless the treatment that is chosen, each of them is aimed at ridding the dog’s skin of the mites so the fur can re-grow and the skin can heal.
What Mange Does to Your Pet
Mange will make your pet miserable. From the itching to the restlessness, the dog will not be comfortable whether sitting, standing, walking, or laying. The condition will also make your dog look bad as the fur begins to fall out and scabs begin to form on the dog’s body.
Mange is something that should be avoided as much as possible for the sake of the dog and owner. Hence, it is important that you learn how to groom your dog properly to keep the mange away.
It is hard to fully protect your pet from developing mange, but there are steps you can take to greatly reduce the chances. One of the best ways to help prevent mange is to make sure the dog lives in a nice, clean area. Also, making sure the dog is well-groomed and bathed regularly can help prevent mange. You should begin trying to prevent mange at the youngest age possible to get the dog used to the procedures.
Make sure you avoid contact between your dog and other strange dogs as it will increase the dog’s risk of developing mange. Although dog parks, dog beaches, and other high-traffic dog areas are fun and great for your dog, these may be places you want to avoid if you are looking to prevent mange altogether. Furthermore, if you do not wish to avoid these types of places, simply make sure your dog is immunized and properly cared for.
In conclusion, mange in dogs is a serious condition that really makes a dog miserable. Dogs with mange are plagued by severe itching, loss of hair, and some even come down with secondary illnesses. Therefore, it is important to seek medical attention so a Veterinarian can determine what type of mange the dog has and what the best form of treatment will be for the dog.Image Credits: 1. Top Image – Dog with demodectic mange, by Julie Knicely, WikiMedia Commons