What is Demodectic Mange?

What is Red Mange?

Picture of Dog with Red Mange Rash
Many dog owners have heard of mange but are not quite sure what it is, how it is caused or how to prevent their dog from contracting it. Mange is not actually a disease that your dog can catch; it is caused by a variety of tiny mites. Demodectic mange is the most common type; it is caused by Demodex Canis Mites overpopulating and causing sensitivity on the host’s skin when their immune system is impaired for any reason. If you are not familiar with this term it because this occurrence is often referred to as Demodicosis or Red Mange.

All canines have tiny microscopic mites on their skin, however, you cannot see these mites with the human eye and they are considered normal residents on canine skin. Almost all puppies acquire these when they are young from their mothers, as suckling sparks the transfer of this dermal varmint. These insects rarely cause disease or problems, except when the canine immune system is impaired or under developed. There are selections of breeds that inherit a lower immune system and have a higher probability of acquiring mange from mites on their skin. Shar Peis and Old English Sheepdogs are prone to serious cases of Demodicosis.

Symptoms of Demodectic Mange

Often times, a localized manifestation is mistaken for ring worm. Initially, one will notice these abrasions as thinning fur around the corners of the mouth, along the eyelids, the edges of the lips and occasionally other parts of the body such as the legs, paws and trunk. The animal will continue to lose hair until there are patched of ragged, scaly, red skin in areas that average about 1 inch in diameter but there should only be a few of these. On puppies that are affected with localized demodicosis, the majority of cases will resolve with no major treatment besides time and quality food.

If your boy seems to have mange affecting a much larger area of skin, then it is considered “generalized.”  This is not common and usually only happens when the animal has immune system issues, other health troubles or hereditary problems. In this case, secondary infections can get under the skin and cause itching and a distasteful smell.

In hereditary cases, Red Mange is often a resistant formation on the foot of the victim, under and around the paws. These cases are often compromised by bacterial infections and are called Bumblefoot or Pododermatitis.

Diagnosis and Treatment for Demodectic Mange

If you think your buddy is affected by such a condition, your first step should be to see a veterinarian. The vet can take skin scrapings to confirm the type of mites causing the dermatitis. The vet will determine if your puppy’s condition is considered localized or generalized. Most localized cases are not treated with anything unless they carry a secondary infection. The infection may be treated with medicated shampoos or antibiotics.

Generalized cases are treated for infections with antibiotics and the severe cases are treated with anti-parasitic treatment in the form of a dip that is applied for several weeks.

If the vet thinks your pooch is affected by pododermatitis, he will often do a biopsy to locate the demodex mites within the sore; the prognosis will follow, every owner will need to make sure they strictly follow the vet’s regiment for a full recovery. For advice and recommended treatments of Demodectic, Red, Mange visit bit.ly/DogMange