My vet said my puppy has demodex mange. He didn't do a skin test. She has lost hair, but not a lot and her skin is light pink. She doesn't even act like she itches. She doesn't scratch and she doesn't pay a lot of attention to being scratched. Do I need a second opinion?
By Danielle from AL
Demodectic mange is also contagious, in that most dogs acquire the infection from their mother. The mite usually lives in relative harmony with the dog and it is assumed that most dogs have Demodex canis mites on their body. If the dog's immune system is competent the mites are suppressed and never achieve large enough numbers to cause damage. Sometimes, local areas of the skin are affected by hair loss (alopecia) and secondary bacterial infections are common.
When there are a number of spots, or the spots have spread over large areas of the body and when these spots do not clear up without treatment in four to eight weeks, the dog is said to have generalized demodectic mange. Localized demodectic mange is thought to occur due to transient stress or a decrease in local immune function at the affected sites. Generalized demodectic mange is thought to be due to a specific deficiency in T-cells that suppress these mites. This is thought to be a hereditary condition but if the exact mechanism by which inheritance occurs is known, I am not aware of it.
The best way to tell if the condition is severe enough to warrant the assumption that it can be passed on to future generations is to wait and see if it clears up on its own. For this reason, we try not to treat demodectic mange until it is evident that it will not get better on its own. At least 80% of dogs will outgrow this condition. The dogs that do not get better and require treatment can usually be cured, or at least managed and controlled, in about 80% of cases -- so the risk of this being a life long infection is not so high that you should worry excessively about it at this time.
I am not aware of any evidence that there are benefits to immune system therapy, probably because this does appear to be a pretty specific defect in the immune system. The odds are very good that this will all turn out OK. If you intend to breed Indy, it is much better not to treat, in order to be sure of whether the problem is generalized demodectic mange. If you do not intend to breed Indy, it probably doesn't matter if you treat at the localized stage but amitraz dip, the only approved medication for demodecosis, has serious side effects, including causing death in up to 3% of patients treated with it. Considering that waiting to see what happens is successful therapy in 80% of dogs, taking this risk prematurely does not seem justified, to me.
I know that many people disagree, but I think that the major brand name dog foods are all reasonable choices for most dogs. I am not aware of any major benefits or problems with treatment or occurrence of demodecosis that have been linked to diet.
Yes you do need a second opinion if this does not clear on it's own. A skin scraping under the microscope is the only way to diagnose this type of mange.
I am a veterinarian and agree w/ yorkiepoo on many points. However, be cautious w/ waiting to treat generalized demodex. Secondary skin infections are common and can be very uncomfortable when they occur. I personally do not recommend breeding any pet that has had demodex b/c it is congenital. Many pets will clear on their own, but once it becomes generalized (two spots or more), I tend to recommend treatment. Promeris is also approved for demodex now and is 96% effective (more effective than anything else in studies). Ask your vet for more info and treatment options. Most popular is Ivermectin, but Promeris is much easier/less expensive/more effective/FDA approved for demodex. Good luck!
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I think that my dog has mange. She is loosing bits of hair everywhere. What can I do?
It could be shedding or a number of other issues. The vet can test the skin to see if it is mange. It would be best to consult on this, and then you will know what it is. (02/02/2009)
By Robyn Fed
Mange is a parasite, you need to see the vet for help. (02/03/2009)
By c t
If you can't afford the vet, go to the local hardware and buy mange dip, and follow instructions. I live in a rural area and even Walmart carries it for about 15.00 dollars. I'm not an expert, but I breed dogs for a living and the breeder who got me started is very knowledgeable. I've learned a lot of these things, we can handle ourselves. (02/03/2009)
Pour some tea tree oil into your dog's shampoo, and shampoo it really well, being careful not to get any in the eyes. Tea tree oil will not only kill the mange, it will soothe any sore spots your dog may have. You can repeat if necessary. Tea tree will not hurt your dog, is relatively cheap, and is an easy fix. Forget the toxic dips. (02/04/2009)
A microscope is necessary to know if it really is mange. You can bring your sample (a little skin scraping) to the vet and ask for just the test. Then search "mange" for the best treatment. Tea tree oil or vinegar will make the parasites laugh. (02/05/2009)