Mange in dogs is one of the most serious and common canine diseases because of its highly contagious nature and which if left untreated may turn fatal also. We often come across strays with ugly patches on their coats which drip pus and/or blood and make a most pathetic site.
Causes of mange
Sarcoptic mange is caused by a parasitic mite called Sarcoptes Scabiei. These are tiny insects that make multiple burrows through the dog’s skin resulting in intense irritation and itching. The non-stop scratching makes the affected area red and the hair from it falls out, leaving bald patches which is called alopecia.
Although treatable by antibiotics and steroid-based ointments, it’s highly contagious for both humans and other animals. Any pet that is diagnosed with mange must be quarantined for as long as treatment goes on and any person treating the dog must wear sterile gloves while applying medicine or ointments to the affected areas. Once the wound starts healing, a crust forms on the affected area which dries gradually and falls off, followed by new hair growth.
Mange in dogs is caused most commonly by one dog passing on its mites to another dog. This makes, kennels, dog parks, animal shelters, veterinary clinics, and groomers highly susceptible to the disease because of their exposure to infected animals. It takes about 2 to 6 weeks for the initial symptoms of the disease to show.
Mange is often the final diagnosis when food allergies, folliculitis, and chiggers are ruled out. A close physical inspection usually reveals the culprit, tiny mites that get embedded into the dog’s skin and causes the poor creature to suffer.
These mites need to be eradicated! And you may want to pay more attention to your dog in the future.
Usually Scabicide is the drug of choice in treating non-seasonal Sarcoptic mange in dogs. This eliminates the itch mites. In acute cases, the dog is dipped in a strong Scabicide-based shampoo to kill all mites in one sitting including eggs laid in other parts of their body.
However, the treatment has to be regularly followed up and continued because the eggs take their own time to hatch and conventional treatment usually eliminates the living mites only. A trained veterinary surgeon must handle the case under sterile conditions and focus and care should be taken to ensure that all mites have been eliminated completely.
The drugs used may also differ from case to case because certain mites develop a resistance to certain treatments like Selamectin, Invermectin, Doramectin, and Lime-Sulfur. Depending on the dog’s condition, a weekly dip may be required for 6 consecutive weeks at least. Oral anti-allergics and itch controllers may also be given to alleviate the itching.
For as long as the treatment continues, limit your personal contact with the affected dog. Complete quarantining may also be required in extreme cases because human contact may lead to purplish rashes on the arms, abdomen, or chest.
It’s also critical to boost the dog’s immune system by way of oral or intra-muscular immunity boosters so that the condition doesn’t relapse. Additionally, a regular and nourishing feeding schedule, ample hydration, and a clean bed are necessary to prevent the spread of the infection.
Even though there are no known preventive measures for combating mange in dogs, the condition may be prevented by keeping your dog away from other dogs or people who are infected.