How to Identify and Treat Mange in Dogs
7 January, 2013

As in humans, there are many different types of skin allergies and ailments in dogs.  Mange is one of the more severe types of skin diseases and needs to be treated by a veterinarian. Mange is an inflammatory disease caused by various types of the Demodex mite.

When this type of mite inhabits the hair follicles and skin of the dog, it can lead to skin lesions, genetic disorders, problems with the immune system and hair loss. The severity of symptoms depends upon the type of mite inhabiting the dog.

Symptoms and Types

Mange may either be localized and affect specific areas of the body, or generalized, where it affects the entire body. If localized, symptoms are usually mild, with lesions occurring in patches, especially on the face, body or legs.

If generalized, symptoms will be more widespread and appear across your dog’s entire body. These symptoms include a redness of the skin and the appearance of scales and lesions.  In both cases, it is recommended to take your dog to the veterinarian for a diagnosis.

Diagnosis

Skin scrapings are used to find and diagnose Mange in dogs. Plucking hairs may also help identify the mite responsible for the condition.

If performed, a urine test will identify other possible diagnoses, namely those caused by a disorder with the dog’s metabolic system. Alternative diagnoses may include bacterial infection in the hair follicle.

Treatment

If localized, the problem is likely to resolve itself and disappear spontaneously, which happens in approximately ninety percent of cases. For severe generalized cases, long-term medication may be necessary to control the condition. Lime-sulfur dips to the affected areas may help relieve symptoms of Mange. In either case, the general health of the dog should be evaluated by a blood test.

Once the Mange has been treated, it is also necessary to follow-up with your veterinarian to see if the mites have diminished.  Your vet will usually take skin scrapings to monitor the presence of mites and check the treatment’s progress. With chronic long-term cases, regular medication may be necessary. Again, your veterinarian will be able to determine the proper care.

Causes

While an exact cause of mange in dogs is unknown, many experts believe that genetic factors, such as problems with the pup’s immune system, may predispose a dog to developing mange.

If the mother has mange, the Mange can be transferred from mother to newborn during nursing.

Therefore, if the mother can be identified as having Mange, it would be best to spay the mother to prevent more litters of puppies with Mange.

Prevention

If you keep your dog healthy and feed him or her well with annual veterinarian visits, your dog will be less likely to develop Mange.  As mentioned above, it is also advised that dogs with generalized chronic mange not be bred, as the condition is likely to be passed to offspring.

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