What is canine mange?
The term mange is a frequently mis-used term to describe a variety of skin conditions or the appearance of a dog. In actuality, demodectic mange is a condition of the hair follicle associated with the presence of mites (Demodex) and an immune defect that may be acquired or inherited. This condition leads to inflammation of the hair follicle and associated changes noted below.
How does my dog get canine mange?
In the first few days of life, the mother will transmit mites to the puppies and involves an abnormality to the immune system. It is a condition most often associated with younger animals but is also seen in adults usually in conjunction with an immunosuppressive disease, cancer, thyroid conditions, cushings disease, etc.
How do I know if my dog has canine mange?
The appearance of dogs with demodex ranges from mildly affected to severely affected. In mild cases, especially in younger dogs, areas of patchy hairloss with a moth-eaten appearance on the ears, around the eyes, on the legs or trunk is most common. In more severe cases, secondary bacterial infections lead to crustiness, scaliness, and irritation at the sites. And in generalized cases, larger areas of the dog have scabs, crusts, inflammation and infection. In adult onset cases, the appearance is the same, the age is the difference.
What can I do about canine mange?
Diagnosis is based upon clinical signs and physical examination. A superficial skin scraping will usually readily demonstrate the classic mites. In some cases, an actual skin biopsy may be needed. Once diagnosis is confirmed the aggressiveness of treatment depends upon the severity of the condition. In mild cases, local topical treatment may be sufficient. In more severe cases, medicated shampoos to open and clean out the follicles may be sufficient. In more generalized and severe cases, products to kill the mites will be required. These may be dips, topicals, oral medications, or injectable medications. 90% of young dog demodex clears up with conservative care.
Is there anything I can do to prevent my dog from getting canine mange?
There is little that can be done to prevent demodex. In older pets, the disease conditions most commonly associated with demodex, cancer, hormone abnormalities, the use of corticosteroids, and other immunosuppressive products are hard to avoid. In younger pets, minimizing stress may be useful. Additionally, checking to see if a puppies parents, especially if from one of the breeds below, had demodex would be suggested.
Are there certain breeds that get more often?
The manner in which this is inherited is still undetermined. There are however certain breeds that are ‘over-represented’. They include: Beagles, boston terriers, boxers, Doberman, Dalmatians, German Shepherds, Shar peis. In older dogs, demodex is more frequently seen in English Bulldogs, miniature poodles, shih tzus, and Westies.