Dog Mange Treatment: How to recognize, treat and prevent mange.
Mange is a general term to describe various skin conditions in dogs. These include scabies or sarcoptic mange, demodectic or “red” mange, cheyletiella mange, and ear mite infections.
What they have in common is that all are caused by mites, microscopic arachnids that bore into the skin of a dog. These parasites live one to two millimeters under the surface of the skin and multiply rapidly, soon causing an infestation.
As you can imagine, this is incredibly uncomfortable for the dog, causing severe itchiness, and placing strain on the immune system.
Symptoms and Dog Mange Treatment
The most common form of mange in dogs is called demodectic, or Red Mange. Caused by the Demodex canis mite, it mainly affects puppies, who get it from their mothers. It is not contagious between dogs, nor is it transferable to humans.
Demodectic mange is not as itchy as other forms, and in most cases will clear up on its own. Nonetheless, it does cause the dog a great deal of discomfort, so you may want to speak to your vet about dog mange treatment.
A more serious form of mange is Sarcoptic mange, caused by the Sarcoptes Scabiei Canis mite, and commonly referred to as scabies. This is highly contagious between dogs, and can even be passed to humans.
The first symptoms will be chronic scratching, particularly of the ears, elbows, hocks, and face. This scratching will usually be worse at night, and some dogs will also shake their ears violently, which can cause painful swelling of the ear flaps.
Continuous scratching and biting at the skin will lead to hair loss, scabs on the skin, crusting on the tips of the ears, serum seepage, itchy red bumps, and eventually to pyoderma, a secondary bacterial infection. In the final stages, scabies results in thick, darkly pigmented skin.
A dog that has been diagnosed with sarcoptic mange, will have to undergo an intense course of treatment. This may include weekly injections of Ivermetcin for up to a month, insecticide dips, ointments to treat skin lesions, and cortisone to help stop the itching (cortisone should never be used to treat demodectic mange).
In additional, every animal in the household will have to be treated, whether they have the symptoms or not.
Dog Mange Treatment: Prevention
Feeding a healthy, balanced diet, control of parasites such as worms and fleas, and regular vaccinations are all important factors in the prevention of mange.
Nutritional supplements, such as those containing omega fatty acids also help to strengthen the dog’s immune system to fight off mite infestations.
As part of your dog mange treatment it is also advisable that you regularly disinfect bedding and surrounding areas to prevent a mite infestation.