Demodectic Mange is a skin disease that is found in either young dogs or older dogs. It is caused by the mite known as Demodex canis, or Demodex inj. It is not, as some people think, the cause of a poorly kept or dirty kennel. In a young dog it happens because they have a poorly developed immune system and can’t fight off the disease. In older dogs it is caused by a suppressed immune system. The mites can spend their entire life on a single dog, and their life cycle can take 20-35 days.
Transmission of the mites from one dog to another is by direct contact only. This means that the bedding areas that your dog sleeps on will not be contaminated as the mites only live on the dogs themselves. Virtually every mother will pass on the mites to their puppies, but most of the new puppies will be immune to the effects. The dogs that aren’t immune to this develop more serious cases of mange.
The common sign for Demodectic mange in dogs usually include hair loss, crusty red skin and, in some cases, there may be a grease or moisture that will appear where the dog is losing its hair. Hair loss will usually begin around the muzzle, eyes and the general area around the head of the dog.
If the dog has generalised mange then the symptoms will not just be evident on the head of the dog. It will be all over the body, usually resulting in crusty and inflamed skin that may ooze a clear fluid. This, in some extreme cases, can lead to more serious illnesses so immediate treatment for the dog is essential.
A biopsy will be needed by the vets to confirm that it is mange because the mites are so small they cannot be seen with the naked eye. After this is confirmed, treating the dog is relatively straightforward. It is usually treated with shampoos and lotions. Bathing at regular times and feeding a multi vitamin with fatty acids should help to cure the dog.
It will heal in its own time and will not require any overly aggressive treatment. However, the symptoms may start to get worse before getting better.