Mange in dogs – What can I do?
Is your dog scratching, biting, digging, and constantly trying to get rid of something that...
14 November 2016
Is your dog scratching, biting, digging, and constantly trying to get rid of something that itches like crazy? Is he literally tearing holes in its skin to stop the insane itching? Then you are probably dealing with mange. Watching your pet suffer like that is heartbreaking, but luckily mange is treatable. Here’s what you need to know about mange in dogs.
What is mange?
Mange is a highly contagious skin disease caused by several microscopic species of mites found in other animals. These mites will burrow through the skin causing intense itching and irritation. The more a dog scratches, the more hair falls out spots. Some mange mites are normal residents of your dog’s skin and hair, while others are not. All mites can cause mild to severe skin infections as the amount of mites and parasites increases. Mange is a treatable medical condition, but is highly contagious for other animals and humans.
Symptoms of mange in dogs
- Intense scratching
- Skin rash
- Crust formation in the affected area
- Hair loss
- Sores and further infection resulting from the constant scratching and itching
The most common cause of mange in dogs is the exposure to another infected animal, as the mites quickly move from animal to animal. Kennels, dog parks, groomers and veterinary clinics have a high exposure rate of mange as pets often get close to each other in these areas. If one dog in a kennel is infected, others may get infected too. The most commonly affected areas of a dog are the ears, elbows, face and legs but mange can rapidly spread to the entire body.
Some types of mange can be transferred to humans and dogs alike.
Treatment for mange in dogs
Your veterinarian is able to diagnose mange via skin scrapings, or through a urine test. Once mange is diagnosed, your vet will discuss what treatment options are available to help clear up the infestation. The treatment of mange will be dependent on the type of mange (sarcoptic or demodectic) your dog has developed and your dog’s breed. Treatments may include:
- Oral treatment
- Topical treatment
- Shampoos / dips
Your vet will follow up any treatment plan with two more rounds of skin scrapes to see if your dog is infection-free or in the need of more treatment. Be sure to wash or remove any bedding or toys that may be infested. Your vet may also recommend that you isolate your dog to prevent the spreading of mange from pet to pet or human to human. This is good advice if your dog is suffering from sarcoptic mange as this can be transferred to humans and dogs alike.
A healthy immune system can help prevent mange in dogs.
There are currently no known preventative measures against mange. However, there are a few simple things you can do to avoid it. A healthy immune system can help prevent the recurrence of mange. It’s therefore important to keep your dog on a regular feeding schedule, with lots of water and healthy meals, and plenty of exercise. Include a high dosage of vitamin C and A, zinc, vitamin E in your dogs diet. This will help to boost the immune system. If you suspect a neighbor’s dog has mange, keep your dog away. You will be unable to tell which type of mange the dog has so your pup could get infected. Last but not least, keep your pup clean. Give your dog regular baths and wash bedding and collars. This may help prevent your dog from getting mange.
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