You may hear people refer to unkept, disheveled-looking dogs as “mangy” from time to time, often as a joke. While some dogs may indeed suffer from a bad hair day from time to time, the truth is that mange can be a serious condition that results in significant pain and discomfort for your dog, let alone the effects on its appearance.
Mange can be both contracted out in the open and passed on from a mother to a puppy. Regardless of type and transmission, mange is something that should be addressed at the first sign of affliction. Read on to learn more about mange treatment, and which one is the best choice for your dog.
Mange refers to a type of skin disease that results in a number of abnormalities on a dog. Some of these symptoms can include scaly, red skin, scabbing, discoloration, and hair loss. If you’ve ever come across a rough-looking stray dog that appears to not have a home, there’s a good chance it has mange.
Mange come from three different species of skin mites, one of which carries Demodex canis.
While mange is essentially a surface-level skin disease that doesn’t affect internal organs and function, it is still a very undesirable disease for your dog, and can make your canine friend downright miserable.
Mange can be divided into two main types: Sarcoptic and Demodectic.
Mange is always the result of mites on the skin, but the mites are passed on in different ways depending on the type. With Demodectic mange, the mites are passed on to a puppy from an infected mother, usually from nursing. This mange cannot be transferred simply by touching.
Sarcoptic mange is the mange found in adult dogs, and is contagious. Mites are passed from one dog to another with basic contact.
Mange symptoms can vary in the level of severity, but are generally the same, regardless of the type.
Demodectic mange can result in lots of patchy hair loss, with the dog or puppy constantly scratching. Sarcoptic mange has a few more symptoms on top of the hair loss, mainly scaly, red skin, and scabs from over-scratching.
Mange can begin to show up in isolated areas such as the nose, belly, and elbows, but can eventually spread to the entire body if left untreated. A dog with a full-on mange condition will have hair missing in patches all over their body, and have deeply red and discolored skin.
These symptoms can be very painful for your dog, especially when scabs begin to form from all the scratching. Their skin will have a burning feeling that never seems to be eased. Dogs with mange will display a lethargic attitude, and may be agitated easily.
More severe cases of mange can sometimes result in a weakened immune system. Lesions can develop as well, along with genetic disorders that get passed on to future litters.
A trip to your veterinarian is required for a proper mange diagnosis. The vet will either scrap the skin, or remove hair follicles to determine the exact species of mite, which helps with an accurate diagnosis.
Mange treatment can vary depending on the type.
Demodectic mange is common for puppies, and will often fade away as the puppy gets older. If the condition is severe, a trip to the veterinarian is in order. Your vet will most likely prescribe antibiotics to stave off infection from sores, while also giving you topical treatments to apply to the affected areas.
The combination of the medicines combined with your dog’s maturing body will result in complete eradication of the condition.
Sarcoptic mange doesn’t go away on it’s own, and can be harder to treat, mainly since the dog’s body is larger, making the affected areas bigger.
If your dog develops a significant case of mange, you vet can use any number of different treatments. Dips, oral medications, and topical spot treatments are fairly common. Severe cases may require injections to speed up the healing.
When Sarcoptic mange has fully encompassed your dog, several different treatments will need to be performed in stages. The veterinarian will start by first killing off the mites present on the dog, and then perform additional treatments that kill the eggs.
Sarcoptic mange can actually affect humans, so you’ll need to limit your contact with your infected dog. Quarantines may be necessary if you have small children and other animals present in the home.
In most cases, you can expect to see your dog healed within four to six weeks.
Mange can be largely prevented, but the methods differ according to which type.
Demodectic mange is the more difficult of the two to prevent. This mange can be passed on in a bloodline, so the best way to avoid it is to avoid breeding dogs that experienced it as puppies.
Should you suspect that your puppy is at risk, make sure to provide the puppy with a nutrient-rich diet that can help them fight off the mange when it does spring up. Monitor the puppy to see if the mange becomes severe, and seek veterinarian assistance if so.
Sarcoptic mange can be avoided by keeping your dog away from any mammal that could have the infection, whether that means other dogs, or wildlife that may linger and even be friendly to your dogs around your property and outdoors area.
If you suspect that your dog has come in contact with an animal carrying mange, give the dog a thorough bath immediately and monitor for signs of the disease. If you begin to notice extra scratching and redness, schedule a vet appointment, It’s better to catch it early rather than risk it.