Dog Demodectic Mange – Red Mange, is the name you may hear most often, but it is the presence of either demodex or sarcoptic mites that are the actual disease process. Your dog may scratch until there is bleeding at the site and almost always, hair falls out. The entire body can be affected by this baldness. Although humans can be affected by mites, there is usually no medical treatment required unless they have some type of immune deficiency.
Signs and Symptoms
1. Itching which begins around the ears and progresses across your dog’s face and neck. It can spread over the entire body.
2. Self mutilation. The itching is so intense that your dog may scratch until he bleeds and some dogs have been known to also pull out there hair.
3. Pustules on the skin. These are the mites burrowing under the skin.
4. Skin becomes crusty and thick.
Diagnosis can be made by your veterinarian if you are unsure. Skin scrapings are done, but are not always accurate because a dog can scratch itself so intensely that they remove the mites. This can lead to secondary infection.
There is a simple test called the “Pinna-Pedal Reflex”. Almost all dogs with scabies will respond positively to this test. The ear is scratched and one of the legs will immediately start to move, trying to scratch the area.
There is often a misdiagnosis of Dog Allergies or Dog Skin Disease or event contact dermatitis. Sometimes there is also a misdiagnosis of Dog Flea Allergy Dermatitis. Prednisone may be prescribed, but it merely relieves the symptoms and does not cure the condition. The reason for this is the fact that the skin scrapings can be unreliable.
Most vets will want to rule out sarcoptic mites before they administer prednisone. There is one chemical that is very effective for this. Ivermectin which has been a popular deworming medicine for many years is also effective against mites. This is also the active ingredient in HeartGuard which is a Dog Heartworms preventative.
Caution should be used when administering this to herding dogs. Collie‘s, Shetland Sheepdog‘s and other herding breeds appear to have a mutated gene that will cause reactions in them if Ivermectin is used. Unfortunately the only way to determine this is by a closely watched administration of the medication. It is best to seek other methods of treatment before putting your dog at risk.
Do not treat with used motor oil. This is a common “cure” in some parts of the country. If the animal licks the oil, they will be ingesting toxins from your vehicle. It may cure the mange, but will also kill your dog – this truly is a case of the cure being worse than the illness.
Diet also plays an important part in treatment and prevention. A high protein diet may assist in preventing the disease. Omega fatty acids will also be beneficial in this as well as in treating hot spots and other skin irritations. Caution is the first step. Visit your veterinarian if you are not totally confident of the proper course of treatment.