Mange is a skin condition caused by parasitic mites that burrow into a dog's skin. There are a number of different types of mange, including demodectic and Sarcoptic Mange .
Many people have heard of Demodectic Mange , which can cause hair loss and red bumps to erupt on a dog's body. Fewer people are familiar with Sarcoptic Mange , also known as Scabies, an intensely itchy type of mange that causes intense scratching (and secondary infections).
Sarcoptic Mange in dogs is contagious to humans, but not vice versa. However, because the symptoms of sarcoptic mange look similar to other conditions (like allergies), many humans have been misdiagnosed by their doctors.
Mange, regardless of the type, is a very uncomfortable condition for canines to deal with and humans around them . It's important to learn what mange looks like in dogs so that you can identify the symptoms early on if your dog contracts it.
Demodectic Mange in Dogs
Demodectic mange is caused by parasitic mites that belong to the Demodex canis species. They are mainly found on young puppies, but they can also be present in adult dogs at low levels. That's why demodectic mange affects many puppies and not just one or two - it's because their immune system hasn't had time to learn how to fight off the parasites yet (a process known as "immunity").
If a dog has demodectic mange, you'll see small pimple-like bumps on the skin. These are often red or brown in color , but they can also be black. Some of these bumps will be crusted over with a fine white scale .
In some cases, there may be bald patches where hair is lost due to the infection getting worse. In other cases, hair loss may look more like "fuzzy" hair that's still growing back after it was shaved off due to infection.
Demodectic mange usually appears on a dog's face and around their eyes . It can also spread onto a dog's body if left untreated for a long period of time. However, it most commonly appears on a dog's face and in their ears .
Demodectic mange is considered to be "benign" - although it's annoying enough that you'll probably want to get rid of it! This type of mange does not usually cause permanent damage to your pup's skin, although certain breeds are more susceptible than others (like Old English Sheepdogs).
Sarcoptic Mange in Dogs
Sarcoptic mange, also known as Sarcoptes scabei , is caused by parasitic mites that belong to the Sarcoptes scabei species. The symptoms of this type of mange are very similar to demodicosis, but they're different conditions that need different treatment plans.
Sarcoptic mange is contagious to canines, but it isn't normally dangerous for them. However, if a dog has an allergic reaction to the mites or their waste products , they can suffer from secondary infections that become even more dangerous.
There are two ways that these mites reproduce - directly and indirectly. When adult female mites burrow into your dog's skin , they release eggs under the surface of their skin . These eggs hatch much in the same way that mosquitoes lay eggs in water.
On the other hand, when your dog inhales or swallows parasitic larva , they'll mature into adult forms inside his body . Your pup won't always have symptoms of sarcoptic mange unless these adults emerge from his body and bite him somewhere else.
The symptoms of sarcoptic mange include intense itching , redness along your dog's skin, hair loss , scabs forming over the skin, and a grayish or waxy material that can be flaked off of your pup's skin. It usually occurs on a dog's legs at first, but it will often migrate to other parts of their body as time goes on . This is because the mites enjoy burrowing into a dog's groin, armpits, ears , and belly.
Sarcoptic mange tends to appear in the summer months - therefore it is more common during warmer climates where mosquitoes are still active. Since sarcopt mange looks similar to allergies, demodicosis, ringworm, and other forms of mange, it's important to take your dog to the vet so that they can determine which condition is causing their symptoms.
Demodectic Mange Treatment
There are several treatments available for dogs with demodectic mange , but you'll need to consult with your vet before using any of them. Some veterinarians will prescribe medicated shampoos or baths that contain benzoyl peroxide , resorcinol , sulfur , or organophosphates .
It's also possible for a veterinarian to prescribe ivermectin - an oral anti-parasitic medication - if the bumps on your dog's skin are extensive enough (at least three to five bumps on his face and three to six bumps anywhere else).
Some vets recommend a medicated shampoo that contains benzoyl peroxide or sulfur , but if the case is more severe, they will prescribe a dip . These dips may be either lime-sulfur based, carbolic acid-based, or a thymol-based formula. Since many dogs have sensitive skin , your vet will likely recommend using these dips for only two to four days before rinsing them off.
In order to prevent demodectic mange from coming back, it's important to use any treatment options consistently. In addition, you'll need to take steps in order to control the spread of this condition - such as keeping your dog away from other dogs and washing his or her bedding regularly.
Sarcoptic mange, on the other hand, is much more severe and dangerous to dogs . It can cause life-threatening secondary infections like pneumonia , encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) , and dermatitis (skin inflammation).
When you notice any symptoms of sarcoptic mange in your pup , make sure that they go to the vet as soon as possible. Your vet may recommend a treatment plan such as:
- Applying topical ointments and powders to your dog's skin
- Bathing your pup in a medicated shampoo that contains benzoyl peroxide or carbolic acid
- Cleansing all of your dog's bedding and grooming equipment (such as brushes and clippers) with boiling water
- Staying away from other dogs while you wait for treatment to take effect. Since this type of mange is highly contagious, it shouldn't be spread to other canines - especially if they have weak immune systems or are very young
- Using ivermectin when the infection spreads throughout your pup's body
. This medication can be either injected or given orally, but it is only effective against sarcoptic mange in its adult form.
With proper treatment, your dog will recover from the symptoms of both forms of mange within a few weeks . If you have any questions about these conditions or how to treat them, consult with your vet before anything gets worse.
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