|Photo: Animal Kingdom Pet Hospital|
Sometimes, in dogs who are young or have a weakened immune system, the demodex take over. Some puppies even get it from their mothers. Older dogs who suddenly come down with demodectic mange should be checked for autoimmune diseases.
This type of mange causes hair loss and itching, as well as secondary bacterial infections. Demodex usually affects the area around a dog's eyes, muzzle, and front legs.
It is diagnosed easily with a skin scraping of the affected areas. A veterinarian will use a scalpel blade with some mineral oil to scrape the area just until a little bit of bleeding is caused. (You have to scrape hard enough in order to get a good sample.) Afterwards, the mites can be visualized under the microscope.
|Image: Micah & Erin|
These mites burrow deep into the skin laying eggs and causing severe itching all over the body. They prefer areas without much fur such as the chest, belly, elbows, and armpits. It is thought that the mites might actually cause an allergic reaction. Due to the severe itchiness of sarcoptic mange, a dog will typically cause a lot of trauma to his skin from scratching too much. This is where the term "mangy" comes from.
Scabies are also diagnosed with a skin scraping. These mites can be a little more difficult to locate under a microscope than demodex.
Sarcoptic mange can be treated many different ways, including the same methods used for demodectic mange. Some popular topical flea medications such as Revolution are also labeled for use to treat sarcoptic mange. Since dogs usually cause so much trauma to their skin, secondary bacterial or yeast infections can arise. These will need to be treated with antibiotics or anti-fungal medications.
I hope none of my readers ever have to deal with either of these types mites, as it can be a long treatment and healing process for the patient. Not to mention the amount of discomfort it can cause to the dog.
Note: I decided to write about mange mites because last week my daughter, Lily, was diagnosed with scabies... I know, I'm as shocked as you are probably! Although humans have their own species of scabies, I could not wish this upon anyone - dog or human! Just looking at it makes me itch... I feel so sorry for her and hope she is able to have a speedy recovery.