Mange is a condition that causes hair loss, itching and skin irritation. It is caused by mites that burrow into the dog’s skin. Mange can make your dog look and feel bad. There are different types of mange, so your dog should be seen by a veterinarian for proper diagnosis, but there are a few ways you can help your pet recover from a bout of mange.
Give your dog a bath to prevent secondary infections and remove dead, flaky skin.
Make sure your pet is getting fed often enough and is eating a food that will provide him with the vitamins and nutrients he needs to maintain optimal health.
Give your pet vitamin supplements that contain fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids can help your dog maintain a healthy coat and skin.
Take your dog to the veterinarian for a dip in a medicated solution; she may need more than one treatment depending on the type of mange and severity of the condition.
Give him the medication prescribed by the vet, such as antibacterial or anti-fungal drugs or something to calm the itching.
Wash bedding and other items the dog has been in contact with in your washer’s hottest cycle.
Tips & Warnings
- Mange often clears up on its own, but it takes time. Don’t panic if it doesn’t seem to clear up right away, but contact your vet if it appears to get worse.
- Continue to use good grooming habits, including bathing and brushing, after the mange is healed.
- Treat all your pets at the same time; otherwise, the infestation may spread to the other animals.
HOW TO IDENTIFY MANGE ON DOGS
Mange refers to a type of inflammatory disease found on dogs. All dogs have mites in small numbers and their immune system is usually sufficient to keep the numbers down. Mange, however, is caused by an abundance of various kinds of mites, which infest the dog, hiding in the hair follicles and on the skin. Large colonies of these mites can cause skin lesions, which can ultimately lead to hair loss, immune system problems and even genetic disorders. There are several different types of mange that are diagnosed based on the kind of mite that is on the dog. Early recognition of mange makes treating the animal much easier.
Distinguish between localized and generalized demodectic mange.
- Localized demodectic mange is caused by the microscopic demodex canis mite. They are found on nearly every dog in small numbers. When the dog’s immune system fails to control the mite population, then an overpopulation of the mites will occur. Localized demodectic mange usually occurs in puppies under 1 year old. The hair around the puppy’s eyes, lips and mouth will begin to thin. Then there will be patches of hair loss on the legs, body and feet of the dog. The patches may grow to about 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter. The skin may become red and infected.
- Generalized demodectic mange occurs when there are 5 or more patches of hair loss. There may be patches on the dog’s head, body and legs. They can combine into larger areas of missing hair. The excessive numbers of mites plug hair follicles and the skin begins to deteriorate with sores and crusting lesions. If a puppy under 1 year old develops generalized demodectic mange, then there is a 30 to 50 percent the puppy’s immune system will attack the mange and the puppy will recover. Dogs over 1 year need veterinary attention to treat mange.
- Neither localized nor generalized demodectic mange is contagious, nor can it be transferred to humans.
Recognize sarcoptic mange.
- Sarcoptic mange, or canine scabies, is very contagious and can be transferred through contact to other dogs or animals. The mites can be transferred to humans but this form of mite does not live long on human skin. This form of mange occurs when the sarcoptes scabiei canis mite burrows into the skin of the animal. The skin quickly becomes infected and causes severe itching and wounds that crust over. It is usually first noticed on the dog’s elbows and ears. Dogs with canine scabies are often in poor condition to begin with, and their health can quickly deteriorate after they have become infected.
- Differentiate between the different symptoms of mange.
- The symptoms of demodectic mange include hair loss and some scabbing or red skin. The dog may not begin to itch until infection has set in, causing the inflammation and scabbing of the skin. They may appear to be in good health, but may present with abnormal round patches of hair loss. If the hair loss continues and the patches merge together, then the dog may have generalized demodectic mange.
- Sarcoptic mange causes intense itching from the onset. The dog may itch or chew at itself fiercely, exacerbating the condition. The dog’s health may begin to deteriorate quickly, if it already wasn’t in poor health. The itching may drive the dog to distraction; they won’t be able to rest with the itching and it may interfere with their appetite.
- Conduct a simple test for mange.
- Before taking your dog to the vet to check for mange, you can conduct a simple test at home that is about 95 percent accurate in detecting mange. Mites are microscopic; the vet will take a skin scraping and check it under a microscope for evidence of mites. Until then, however, you can perform the “Pedal-Pinna reflex test.” Gently manipulate and scratch the dog’s ear, and if the dog begins to move his hind leg as if to scratch its ear, then it likely has mange. This test works because in nearly all cases of mange, the mites infect the ears.
- Seek veterinary care.
- Of course, if you suspect that there is something wrong with your dog, you should consult your veterinarian. They can run proper diagnostic tests to determine the kind and severity of the mange, and can then prescribe the proper medication to clear up the mange.