As a responsible pet owner, it is important to understand the causes and treatments of various diseases that might affect your pet. One of the most common and serious diseases dog parents should look out for is mange in dogs. It is a common skin-relate disease in dogs, which can be fatal.
What is Mange?
Canine mange is a skin condition caused by mites, tiny parasitic arachnids that are kindred with ticks. The word ‘mange’ has a French origin, derived from the word ‘mange,’ meanings ‘to eat or itch.’ It can be contagious to humans and other pets, depending on the kind of mites affecting the pet. Different species of mites cause two major forms of mange in dogs:
#1 Sarcoptic Mange
It commonly known them as canine scabies. Circular, eight-legged mite Sarcoptes scabiei causes Sarcoptic mange in dogs. It is extremely contagious, and It can easily transfer through direct contact between dogs or from dogs to humans or other animals like cats, pigs, squirrels, etc. Female mites lay eggs on the skin, which upon hatching in 3 weeks, produce young ones who feed on the skin. These mites can survive up to 2-3 weeks off their host in a moist, cool environment.
#2 Demodectic Mange
Caused by cigar-shaped mite Demodex canis, they also known it as Demodex. Another name for this disease is ‘red mange.’ These mites are naturally and harmlessly present on animals’ and humans’ skin and hair follicles. It becomes a cause of concern when their number starts increasing. Demodectic Mange is general passes from the mothers to the pups through direct contact. It is non-contagious to humans, as these mites cannot survive without a host dog.
What are the Symptoms of Mange in Dogs?
Mange can cause unbearable itching, hair loss, and pain. Depending on skin sensitivity to proteins and feces from mites, they can notice early symptoms and signs of mange in dogs within 2-4 weeks of infestation.
The initial signs and symptoms of mange in dogs can be seen on the hairless areas of the body like ear flaps, chest, elbows, groin, and belly. Major symptoms appear within 2-8 weeks of first contact with an infected animal.
- Early Symptoms–Itchiness, redness, rashes, thick yellow crusts, hair loss, bacteria and yeast infections
- Advanced Symptoms–Lymph node inflammation, thickened skin
- Extreme Condition– Emaciation
- Localised: It is restricted to a singular patch or multiple rashes in a particular area. Localised infestation can be most commonly seen in young puppies.
- Initial Signs: hair loss, red spots on face and legs.
- Generalized: They spread it out on a dog’s entire body, and most of them lose all the hair on their body. It is a severe stage of infestation that builds over time. It results in building secondary infections, which cause intense itching and foul odor.
- Initial Signs: Scaly skin and hair loss on the entire body
- Demodectic Pododermatitis: It affects the paws of the dogs. It is the most difficult to get rid of. The mites set up camp between the toes of dogs.
What Does Mange Look Like On a Dog?
To check the presence of mites, eggs, and larvae, the veterinarian takes some samples of skin scrapings for the diagnosis of mange. On average, only 20% of cases of scabies in dogs can be detected and examined through skin scraping alone. What does mange look like on a dog? It is common to mistreat scabies for allergies or bacterial or yeast infections. Hence the diagnosis considers a dog’s medical history to eliminate or confirm the risks of dog scabies.
In the case of Demodex canis, dog mites registered in the skin scraping sample will be considered normal. Therefore, it is important to note that it can confirm the detection and diagnosis of Demodex because of two conditions: 1) mites and 2) skin lesions. The diagnosis generally prompts further testing of other diseases like Cushing’s disease, hypothyroidism, cancer, or immune deficiency.
How to Treat Mange in Dogs?
Despite a bunch of home remedies for mange in dogs available on the internet, it is advisable not to treat mange at home. So, how to treat mange in dogs? Once a dog starts experiencing multiple rashes, lesions, and hair loss, you should immediately see a vet. The dog mange treatment procedure demands the quarantine of the affected dog primarily so that it can restore immunity (Demodex) and contain the spread (Scabies). In case of layered infections, antibiotics are needed. Localized mange is typically short-lived and can be cured on its own. And its early detection can lead to the prescription of topical gel or insecticide to get rid of excessive mange mites. Generalized mange seeks a more serious approach, which includes oral medications and dips. Other methods are as follows for What Does Mange Look Like on a Dog:
#1 Hair Trimming
Since mites tunnel into the skin, bread, and lay eggs around hair follicles, clipping hair is the first step so they can directly treat that skin.
#2 Skin Cleansing
Weekly baths in medicated mange shampoo for dogs can heal rashes and scratches. It will take time to soften the skin. (Note: dips in powerful chemical compounds have side effects such as vomiting, restlessness, diarrhea, tremors, etc.)
#3 Mite Control
Topical ointments, such as selamectin and imidacloprid-moxidectin formulations, are applied to eradicate dog mites treatment.
#4 Oral Treatment
It also prescribed oral medicines to eliminate secondary bacterial and yeast infections and strengthen immunity. A fast-acting medication, like oclacitinib (Apoquel), can help relieve pain and itching. They will provide some mange medicine for dogs to eliminate the decease as well.
#5 Chemical-free Methods
There is a range of the natural and mild ways to treat mange, including lime sulfur dips, neem and cider oil. They should continue the treatment until three consecutive skin scraping results are negative, hair is regrown, secondary infections are cured, and it eliminated all the symptoms. Even after the onset of treatment, it is likely for an infected pet to stay contagious for about a month. As a result, some preventive measures must be taken for What Does Mange Look Like on a Dog .
Precautions & Safety Measures to Treat Dog
Some cases of mange are relatively easier to cure, but others are severe, even fatal. Young age and early detection can prevent lifelong medication. Stress, poor environmental conditions, bad health, and old age make dogs susceptible to mange. They highly recommended it to comply with the following suggestions to eliminate the chances of contracting mange.
- Proper diet and adequate nutrition to avoid depressed immunity.
- Use disinfected and sterilized materials in grooming, play care, and training centers.
- Regular visits to the dog vet.
- Timely prevention against fleas, ticks, and dog worms by giving deworming medication to your canines.
Some steps to avoid making the situation worse and to reach a healthy outcome are:
- Washing everything that has been in contact with the infected dog.
- Treating all the dogs, if you own multiple, to avoid further transferring mites through asymptomatic carriers.
- Regular disinfecting baths using prescribed mite shampoo for dogs or tea tree oil.
- High intake of Omega-3 fatty acids to relieve inflammation.
Mange is a painful and frustrating disease that a dog can suffer from. They must curb its growth as soon as possible. Once the treatment is over, one should maintain a proper and fresh diet dog food along with top rated dog vitamins. Also they are recommended to stop vaccinations for some time to enable the strengthening of the immune system naturally.