Diagnosing & Treating Mange in Pets
Many people worry a lot about whether or not their pet is susceptible to mange. Mange is very common in dogs and is also occasionally found in cats. If your furry friend shows signs of this skin disease, pinpoint which one she’s suffering from so you can begin prompt treatment.
How to Tell If Your Pet Has Mange
All types of mange are skin diseases caused by mites. Different symptoms and potential treatments depend on the specific parasites affecting your pet.
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Both dogs and cats can contract demodectic mange, which is caused by Demodex canis and Demodex cati mites. These parasites live in hair follicles and are even found on healthy dogs and cats. It’s only if they proliferate beyond the normal level that Demodex mites cause problems. Increased parasite population can occur in young animals and those with compromised immune systems.
Rest assured that demodectic mange is not contagious. Still, if your pet contracts this condition, you’ll notice the following symptoms:
- Hair loss, specifically around the eyes, head, neck, and flank
- Patches of scaly skin and lesions across the body
- Skin redness in dogs
Unlike demodectic mange, sarcoptic mange is highly contagious. It can spread between cats and dogs and even pass to humans. The condition, also known as scabies, is caused by Sarcoptes scabiei mites, which live just under your pet’s skin. Healthy animals never carry these parasites, so only a few living on your pet are enough to irritate the animal’s skin and cause the following symptoms to appear:
- Intense itching, biting, and scratching
- Rash on the ears, elbows, chest, abdomen, and ankles
- Hair loss
- Crusty skin sores in the affected area
This disease affects only cats, not dogs, so it’s sometimes called feline scabies. The symptoms closely resemble sarcoptic mange, though the itching usually begins on the face and then spreads to the rest of the body. Like sarcoptic mange, notoedric mange is very contagious. Notoedres cati mites cause this condition and become most irritating when they burrow into the skin to lay eggs. Watch for these symptoms of notoedric mange in your cat:
- Intensely itchy ears, which spreads to the rest of the head and eventually the whole body
- Hair loss
- Thick, wrinkled, crusty skin as the disease progresses
What to Do If Your Pet Has Mange
The treatments you pursue depend on your pet’s specific condition. Come to Germantown Vet for a proper diagnosis and to begin the best mange treatment for your animal. Here are the most common options:
- Isolate your pet if she has sarcoptic or notoedric mange to prevent the mites from spreading to other pets and humans.
- Discard your pet’s bedding and wash your own bedding and clothes in hot water and bleach to prevent re-infection.
- See if demodectic mange will resolve itself, which occurs in 90 percent of cases.
- Apply topical medication for localized demodectic mange.
- Deliver medication via injection for sarcoptic mange.
- Bathe your pet in prescription shampoo, followed by a lime-sulfur dip, to treat sarcoptic, notoedric, and severe generalized demodectic mange.
- Get a prescription for oral antibiotics or antibacterial shampoo to help secondary skin infections heal.
Germantown Vet Diagnoses & Treats Mange in Pets
You should always treat mange under veterinary supervision because some medications can be harmful to dogs and cats if applied incorrectly. Let the experts at Germantown Vet Clinic help diagnose your pet’s condition and create an effective treatment plan to get rid of mange once and for all.
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