Hi, I’m Dr. Mary Stauder at Manchester West Veterinary Hospital.
I wanted to talk about mange in dogs today.
There’s two basic types of mange that we look for; demodectic or demodex mange and sarcoptic mange of the sarcoptic mite.
These two have very similar effects on the dogs but they kind of represent two aspects, two sides of the spectrum that we can deal with.
For example, demodectic mange is a long cylinder type mite that lives in the hair follicles and skin, will cause a patchy hair loss, specifically, usually a non-red, non-itchy mange.
The other type, sarcoptic mange, is a round mite causes very red, inflamed patches of skin.
I was going to demonstrate on our Cruiser here, our demo dog for the day. Now he of course has a beautiful hair coat and has no problems, but he has allergies and we’ll show a little itching, that itch reaction that we see.
With sarcoptic mange, the red mange, or itchy mange, the classic sign is if you scratch around their ear, they will set that leg in motion very dramatically, very violently.
They will have large, red lesions throughout the body.
It could occur in any aged dog. We will often see it complicating other skin problems. These dogs will often have a very severe infectious skin disease.
They will have red, itchy, nasty skin. A number of areas, elbows and face, not common.
Demodectic mange will often show up on a young dog as just like a patch on their face, just a hair loss. Or they’ll get kind of a moth-eaten look up and down their legs. It can show up over the whole body as that picture previously indicated, but it is not itchy. The dogs will not scratch it.
They may get some little secondary inflammation or infection, but it’s pretty mild. Now the second difference, we look for mange the same way in these dogs, we have to do a skin scraping.
As I’ve said they live down in hair follicles so we need to literally scrape the skin to try to pull it up and we use a little mineral oil, a slide, and a dull blade. And just scrape a layer of the skin and look at it under the microscope where we can identify these mites.
The sarcoptic mite is very difficult to find, while the demodectic mite tends to be very easy to find.
The next step is treatment and there are various treatments, and actually a number of treatments are not approved for use in dogs. So we go off label. That’s why anytime a diagnosis is made in your pet you need to discuss with your veterinarian, what’s the best course of action? For instance, in demodectic mange, the really, only approved treatment is a dip, Mitaban dip.
There’s several formulations in a dip done once a week or every other week for six to eight dips, it can be very effective.
We will often use ivermectin. Ivermectin is the injectable. This is the same product in heartwarm prevention but at a higher dose, that can be very effective. But it is toxic in higher doses in some breeds of dogs. So then again, therefore, we need to talk to your veterinarian.
Sarcoptic mange is actually much easier to treat. Revolution is approved to treat it. Now this is revolution for cats, but the revolution for dogs is approved for treatment of sarcoptic mange. One or two doses can actually be very effective.
The basic heartworm preventions like Heartgard and Sentinel are effective in these manges at different doses. For instance, you might give these daily. So there’s a number of variations, several complications, the key is, of course, getting the dog checked, getting a skin scraping, and is often identified in the hospital while you’re waiting.
Something else about mange is people always worry about how contagious it is. Again, the two different mites act differently. Demodectic mange is something that most dogs acquired during the first few days of birth, after birth. They acquired it from their mother. Many dogs will suppress it throughout their whole life and you’ll never see a problem.
That’s why it often shows up in young dogs because their immune system isn’t fluxed, it’s still developing, and these demodex mites flare whether in a localized form or the generalized form, the whole body.
Sarcoptic mange is contagious from dog to dog, and dog to people. People often have just a, you know, transient rash. It goes away, it’s not terribly life threatening, it’s not long term. But, again, the demodectic mange is not contagious between dogs and people, while sarcoptic mange is.
So if you have any questions give us a call.
I’m Dr. Stauder at Manchester West Veterinary Hospital.