Understanding and Treating Different Types of Mange in Dogs Skin and Coat
If Fido has been scratching himself a lot lately, he may have contracted a case of canine mange, which if left untreated could become a serious, in some cases, even lethal problem. Dog mange is a parasitic condition involving tiny, sometimes microscopic, spider-like creatures that burrow into your pet’s skin to lay their eggs and reproduce themselves. There are four basic types of mange in dogs that can infest your pet, some of which can be highly contagious to both other pets and humans.
• Demodectic mange is also known as “Red Mange.” Caused by the Demodex canis mite, it is most common in puppies. In fact, this little critter is commonly found in the hair follicles and pretty harmless. However, stress, poor nutrition or other factors that weaken the immune system can allow an infestation that may first appear as a thinning of hair around the eyes, corners of the mouth and front legs. Itching, scaling and pustules may be the result. Without spreading, the condition usually clears up untreated in as little as three months. If it spreads across the body, untreated demodectic mange in dogs can cause severe pain, enlarged lymph nodes and even death.
• Sarcoptic mange or scabies is caused by the microscopic Sarcoptes scabiei canis mite. Your pet will scratch ferociously to deal with intense itching. This may cause secondary infections requiring additional treatment. Other scabies symptoms include crusty ear tips and hair loss. Appropriate sarcoptic mange treatment is important to prevent this highly contagious condition from spreading to other dogs and humans. The animal must be isolated and its bed and environment treated as part of the sarcoptic mange treatment to destroy all scabies infestation.
More information on canine mites and mange on a dogs skin
• Cheyletiellosis mange is caused by the Cheyletiella yasguri mite. Puppies are more apt to be infected than adult dogs, especially those suffering from poor nutrition. Also called the “walking dandruff disease,” you can literally see the “dandruff” moving along the dog’s body. Cheyletiellosis is also highly contagious to pets and people.
• Ear mites are the result of an infestation of the Otodectes cynotis mite, of which there are many varieties. Your dog will be vigorously shaking his head or scratching his ears to rid himself of the itching. Ear canals may begin to bleed and the ears will appear to have “coffee grounds” in them. However, these mites can also live successfully on the tail and feet of your dog. All pets will need to be treated for canine mange, but the environment is not as at risk. Left unattended, ear mites can do damage to your dog’s ear drums and even cause eventual deafness.
Successful treatment involves addressing both the present infestation with natural, chemical-free medicated shampoos and sprays and strengthening your pet’s weakened immune system to prevent recurring attacks. Minimizing the stress in your dog’s life and ensuring a healthy, nutritious diet, including supplements if necessary, is the best way to prevent mange in dogs from starting in the first place.