d mannose powder for cats Mange is an uncomfortable and sometimes itchy condition that affects many dogs.
Mange is a common skin condition in dogs caused by mites. It can appear as mild scaling or hair loss, or it can progress to redness and sores. Mange doesn’t usually cause pain, but your dog will certainly feel miserable, especially if the infestation spreads to his face and eyes.
You may also notice crustiness and thickened skin where he has scratched incessantly. While you might think your dog got mange from another animal outside, such as a neighbor’s pet, it’s extremely rare for one animal to pass mange to another. The most likely culprits are lice on the other animal or your dog coming into contact with a dead animal that was infested with mange. Dogs don’t get it from people, and you can’t catch mange from your pet.
Mange is caused by tiny mites — between one-tenth and one-quarter of an inch long — which burrow under the skin to lay their eggs. Sometimes you’ll see them as white specs moving around on your dog’s skin. Over two to six weeks, they multiply until there are so many that the host’s immune system kicks in and starts fighting back against the invasion. Your dog’s body reacts by trying to expel the invasive mites through his skin, causing intense itchiness and flaky, dry patches wherever he has been bitten. In some cases, secondary bacterial infections can occur as a result.
Mange isn’t always easy to diagnose. Sometimes it will look like ordinary dry skin or allergies, but once you have a confirmed case of mange, your vet can recommend the best course of treatment for your dog.
Four types of mange mites affect dogs: sarcoptic, demodectic, Notoedres, and Sarcoptes. The sarcoptic mange mite is spread by direct contact with another animal or through fomites (objects that carry infectious organisms), including bedding, food dishes, and leashes used by other animals in the household. Puppies often contract this type of mange from their mothers while going through their first molt at around 3 to 4 months of age. Dogs with weakened immune systems are susceptible as well, and sarcoptic mange can be fatal if left untreated.
Demodectic mange is the most common kind in dogs. It’s caused by a type of mite that lives on your dog from birth without making him sick — unless his immune system becomes compromised due to illness or stress. 80 percent of all puppies have demodicosis at some point before they turn 8 weeks old. By adulthood, demodectic mange usually resolves itself as the puppy’s immune system matures and wards off future attacks from these normal skin inhabitants. The onset of demodicosis typically occurs between one and three years of age, when the immune system is challenged by stress or illness.
Sarcoptes mites are not part of the normal canine skin fauna, but some dogs become hosts to them anyway. They can cause intense itchiness and severely inflamed skin on any part of your dog’s body. Some breeds are predisposed to sarcoptic mange, including the American Staffordshire terrier, English bull terrier, Boston terrier, Chow chow, and Dalmatian.
Notoedres mites cause a type of mange that primarily affects cats. However, they sometimes infect dogs as well. Notoedric mange is very contagious among all types of pets — so much so that you should have all your pets examined by your veterinarian once you’ve seen symptoms in one of them.
If left untreated, sarcoptic mange will progress to the point where it’s difficult for your dog to sleep or eat because of the intense itching. Sarcoptic mange can even lead to secondary infections, which may require antibiotics. The good news is that most cases of sarcoptic mange are highly responsive to treatment with ivermectin or milbemycin oxime (Interceptor). Your vet will prescribe a medication based on your dog’s weight and age.