Diagnosing & Treating Mange in Dogs
Your pet is like one of the family, so you might become concerned if you notice your dog exhibiting strange symptoms. If it looks like your dog has a skin condition, it could be mange, which is caused by microscopic parasites living on your dog. There are two types of mange, sarcoptic and demodectic, so you must figure out which one your dog has before treatment can begin.
How to Tell If Your Dog Has Mange
It’s important to identify which type of mange your dog is suffering from because each condition has different causes, symptoms, and treatments.
Sometimes called demodex or red mange, this condition is the most common form of mange in dogs. Demodex canis mites, which live in the dog’s hair follicles, are responsible for causing demodectic mange.
Most dogs have some of these mites on their skin with no ill effects, which is why demodectic mange is not contagious. However, if your dog has a weak immune system, mange can develop as the number of mites increases far beyond a reasonable level. This causes the following symptoms to appear:
- Hair loss (alopecia)
- Skin redness (erythema)
- Patches of scaly skin and lesions across the body, especially on the trunk, legs, or face
Unlike demodectic mange, sarcoptic mange is highly contagious among dogs and can even pass to humans. Also known as scabies, this skin disease is caused by Sarcoptes scabiei mites, which live just under the skin’s surface. It only takes a few of these mites irritating your dog’s skin for the following symptoms to appear:
- Intense itching, biting, and scratching at irritated skin
- Hair loss (alopecia)
- Skin rash
- Crusty skin in the affected area
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What to Do If Your Dog Has Mange
The treatments you pursue depend on your dog’s diagnosis. If you’re not sure which type of mange is affecting your pet, come to Germantown Vet for a proper diagnosis. Once you’re certain about the cause behind your dog’s skin condition, you can treat it correctly.
When demodectic mange is localized to just a few areas of your dog’s body, it might resolve itself spontaneously. In fact, this occurs 90 percent of the time. Even if the condition doesn’t clear up on its own, topical medication is typically all you need.
More generalized mange that covers your dog’s entire body may require prescription shampoos containing benzoyl peroxide to open up your dog’s hair follicles before taking a special cleansing dip to flush the mites out. This treatment, plus oral antibiotics to treat any secondary skin infections, is all you need to clear up generalized demodectic mange.
Treating sarcoptic mange may involve medicated baths and dips, injections, or oral medications. Repeat treatments may be necessary to kill all the mites and eggs living under your dog’s skin. Your vet can help you pinpoint which combination of treatments will deliver the best results.
Because sarcoptic mange is highly contagious, you should discard your dog’s bedding and wash your own bedding and clothes in hot water and bleach to help remove Sarcoptes scabiei mites from your home and prevent re-infection.
Germantown Vet Diagnoses Treats Mange in Dogs
You should treat mange under veterinary supervision, especially if your dog suffers from generalized demodectic mange or contagious sarcoptic mange. Let us help diagnose and create an effective treatment plan to rid your dog of mange once and for all.
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