Demodectic mange is a skin disease caused by several types of
Demodex mites, which are external parasites not visible to the naked eye.
These mites exist in small numbers in the hair follicles of
most pets because they are passed from the mother following
birth. They usually have a peaceful relationship with the pet’s
immune system, but when a pet’s immune system is compromised
and can no longer control the mite population, they multiply
and demodectic mange results.
Symptoms and Forms of Demodectic Mange
The most common symptoms of demodectic mange are hair loss, painful sores, and scabbing.
Secondary bacterial infections caused by the disease can also
lead to uncomfortable itching. Demodectic mange is quite common
in dogs -- especially puppies -- but it is rare in cats.
Demondecitc mange can either be localized or generalized:
- Localized demodectic mange occurs when the mites are
confined to one or two small areas of the body. This type of
mange is very common in young pets, and most cases resolve
spontaneously with no need for treatment. Only around 10% of
pets with localized demodectic mange will develop generalized
- Generalized demodectic mange affects large areas of a pet’s
body and often leads to secondary infections. In young pets
under one year of age, the disease may resolve without any
treatment. In older pets, it may point to a more serious
underlying health problem (such as cancer, hypothyroidism, or heartworm disease) that is allowing the
spread of the disease and requires treatment.
Demodectic Mange Treatment Options
Treatment for demodectic mange will depend on your pet’s
overall health and whether the disease is localized or
generalized. Your veterinarian will diagnose the condition by
taking a skin scraping and then examining the mites under a
If your veterinarian suspects that an underlying medical
condition is to blame, that condition will be treated and the
mange may clear up. If not, or in persistent cases, treatment
steps may include:
- Bathing your pet with a medicated benzoyl peroxide shampoo,
such as Pyoben.
The shampoo should remain on the pet for 10 minutes while it
works to remove skin scales and open the pores. Rinse and then
dry the pet completely.
- Using a dip following your veterinarian’s instructions.
Amitraz (brand name Mitaban) is the only FDA-approved miticide
for dogs. A lime sulfur dip is commonly used on cats. Allow the
dip to dry on your pet and do not let your pet get wet between
treatments. Most dips are repeated until the skin scrapes taken
by your veterinarian test negative for mange.
- If the mange does not resolve with the above steps, your
veterinarian may prescribe a broad-spectrum antiparasitic
medication such as Ivermectin (Heartgard) or Milbemycin. Use of
these medications should be monitored closely.
- Topical preparations used to treat ear mites, such as
Tresaderm, and topical
ointments containing benzoyl peroxide may be recommended to
treat and heal particular spots (especially in localized
- Secondary skin infections are treated with antibiotics.
Demodex mites can move between animals and linger on bedding,
furniture, toys, and collars. If one animal in the house is
affected, all animals should be treated, and the household
should be cleaned. Pets with chronic mange should not be bred
as the mites are likely to be passed on to the offspring.
How to treat mange in dogs
Mange is a contagious skin condition caused my mites. It can
spread by direct skin-to-skin contact or by indirect contact.
While many kinds of mites can cause mange, the symptoms are
generally the same. Dry skin, dandruff, lesions, skin
irritation, red rash, itching and fur loss are commonly
experienced.If you suspect your dog has mange, rush him for
treatment. Untreated mange can become resistant to treatment
over time. When mange is severe, it can cause permanent
scarring or even thicken the skin. Persistent itching can
prevent fur from growing back by damaging hair follicles.Of
course the longer you let mites go untreated, the more you
stand a risk of contagion.
Dog Mange Treatments
Most dogs with mange get better by themselves in about 2
months. However, it is best to administer anti-biotic shampoo
so your dog doesn’t catch an infection from all that
itching.The only way to treat a dog with stubborn mange is to
figure out which kind of mite is causing the mange. A diagnosis
is crucial, as a result.Dog mange is treated with spot-on
treatments or insecticide shampoos. Your vet may also prescribe
a lime-sulfur treatment or an oral medication called
Amitraz.One must be careful when using Amitraz as it can be
toxic to certain dog breeds, pregnant/nursing dogs and pups
under 4 months. Lime-sulfur treatment makes for a much better
alternative.Apple Cider Vinegar has antibacterial and
antiseptic properties which help heal a dog with mange by
creating the necessary pH balance.Honey can be applied onto the
sore spots on your dog’s skin to clean the bacteria from it as
also the dirt and grime that comes from mange. Its antioxidant
and antiseptic properties builds immunity and helps heal sore
and tender skin.Olive oil is another effective natural remedy.
It can soothe tender skin and cleanse the area off mange.A
solution of Borax and hydrogen peroxide can be used to heal
skin sores and kill mange.Apply the natural remedies for mange
mentioned above and you will be helping rid your dog of mange.
Reapplication on a weekly basis would prevent mange from
reoccurring.Now, mange treatment is long drawn out. It can take
weeks before your dog is cured of mange. Even longer, for the
fur to grow back. Good hygiene and maintaining cleanliness can
help dogs who have a genetic disposition towards developing
mange.Try to keep feeding your dog healthy meals so they can
gain immune strength to fight off mange.Keep their bedding
clean so they don’t stand potential risk of catching mange.
Mange in dogs is treatable and nothing to worry about. A little
time and patience and your dog will be cured in no time.
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