Mange is the name for a range of skin diseases which are causes by parasitic mites. These parasitic mites generally burrow under the skin or hair follicles of the animal, depending on the species of mite. In humans the disease is generally known as scabies or demodicosis. Mange in dogs is generally referred to by its general name, although it also referred to as as red mange or demodectic mange.
The important thing to remember about mange is that the body’s reaction to the mite infestation is as important as the mites themselves. Although the treatment for mange generally targets the initial infection, most of the dog’s discomfort is caused by oversensitivity to the mites.
Mange in Dogs: Causes
Mange in dogs generally first presents with small isolated red patches or pustules on the dog’s skin. Minor cases generally appear first around the face and eyes of the dog, and also on the forelimbs and paws. The problem begins when the dog becomes sensitive to the mite infestation, as the immune system cannot keep the infestation under control. Mange in dogs often occurs when the dog has an undeveloped immune system, or is under intense stress. Small isolated infections of the mites are considered normal, especially in puppies. When a vet considers the infestation or reaction bad enough, they will prescribe ointment or perhaps an anti-parasitic dip.
Mange in Dogs: Symptoms
Mange in dogs can also refer to an infestation of the highly contagious scabies mite. This is also referred to as sarcoptic mange. An infestation of these mites causes intense itching and will spread quickly over the skin. Hair loss and crusting of the skin appear first at the elbows and ears of the dog, and then spread rapidly. Skin damage is caused by the dog’s reaction to the intense itching.
If you suspect that your dog is suffering from sarcoptic mange or the form of mange in dogs that is much more common in Western countries, red mange, you should consult your veterinarian. Any skin infection or infestation is much easier to manage at an earlier stage than a later one.
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