I’ve only seen mange twice on two different dogs. One was in a shelter in Georgia. The poor thing was covered with it and was due to be put to sleep. The other was with an older puppy that I once bought that had a small spot of demodectic mange on her face. The breeder told me that the puppy scraped herself on the fence. Wrong! She had demodectic mange.
Almost all puppies are born with mites that they acquire from their mother. As the puppy’s immune system develops the mite should disappear after a month or so. Demodectic mange is caused by Demodex canis, a tiny mite that cannot be seen without the aid of a microscope. It is also known as red mange. Therefore, it is classified as a parasitic skin disease. The demodectic mite resides in the hair follicles. Demodectic mange is the most common type of mange form in dogs. All dogs and many humans have this mite on their skin. YUCKY! As long as the body’s immune system is functioning properly, these mites cause no harm.
Usually demodectic mange strikes puppies from three to 12 months of age. You may also hear your veterinarian refer to mange as canine scabies. Mites attack in large numbers and reproduce rapidly on the dog’s skin. They feed off the dog’s nutrients which cause skin outbreaks.
Sometimes demodectic mange may occur in dogs that are very old because the function of their immune system often declines with age. Also dogs who have immune suppression due to illness or medication are also candidates for this type of mange.
Mange can be localized or generalized. When the mange is localized it appears on only certain parts of the body. Most of the time this would mean the mange appears on the feet, ears and face. If the mange is generalized it means the whole body of the dog can be affected. This is the most severe type of mange and treatment isn’t always effective.
When a dog gets mange, he suffers intense pain and itching. This is why proper diagnosis and treatment by a veterinarian is so important. If you don’t treat generalized mange right away it can lead to your pet’s eventual death if treated too late in the dog’s infection.
Keeping a dog healthy and hygienic are important in insuring your animal doesn’t get mange. Demodectic dog mange usually occurs when the dog's immune system is weak, or he’s under a lot of stress, or is malnourished. Under these conditions, the dog can become sensitive to the Demodex canis mites that normally live on its skin. Treatment can involve medicated shampoos and antibiotics. Also like in my young dog’s treatment, a topical ointment called Goodwinol Ointment was used. This was all that was needed to treat her. I never had to use dips or shampoos.
Usually a veterinarian will look at skin samples under a microscope. With my dog, my veterinarian took a skin scraping from her face to make a diagnosis. Many times the diagnosis for mange is only 50% accurate so therefore, the veterinarian will still treat the dog for mange to see if the treatment helps heal the symptoms that the dog is displaying.
Different treatments are used depending on the type of mange your dog has and the age of the dog. Usually the younger dog will heal itself in 6 – 8 weeks, although sometimes it might take several months.
Often the veterinarian will prescribe a dip called Paramite, or Mitaban (amitraz). Please note, however that Mitaban can be very toxic to animals. It usually takes 1 – 6 months of applying these applications for this disease to heal. These are prescription drugs. When using these dips, ALWAYS wear gloves and only in a place with good ventilation. Follow the directions on the label carefully.
Your veterinarian may also recommend using Dermisil for your dog’s mange. This is a way to treat the mange outbreak without prescription. It mixes with your dog's normal shampoo making for easier application.
Treatments should continue for 3 months. There may be side effects (most often seen in puppies) such as tiredness, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness and an odd walk or gait.
Sometimes an antihistamine will be used for Itching – Itching can be helped with antihistamines such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine) with dosage based on your dog’s weight (1 to 3 milligrams per pound).
I’ve read that if you have more than one dog in the house, you should treat them all. Check with your veterinarian about that. Also, mites can jump to humans so wash after handling.
Also my research warned: DO NOT use motor oil for Canine Mange. The oil can be toxic if licked by your pet. DO NOT use corticosteroids. Corticosteroids (cortisone) may control the itch, but actually lowers immunity to mites, allowing them to multiply faster. Once again, be guided by your veterinarian’s advice.
Vitamins and fatty acids are good for dogs that have skin problems. Look for a good supplement or make sure that your dog’s food will provide him with these essential additives.
My rating: Early diagnosis and treatment: (4), topical ointments (Goodwinol Ointment: (4), dips and shampoos: (4)