Demodectic Mange Treatment For Dogs And Cats How to Clear Up Your Petโ€™s Scabbing Skin

BY | March 13 | COMMENTS PUBLISHED BY
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Demodectic mange is a skin disease caused by microscopic parasites that is usually passed through child birth. This type of mange can result in hair loss and be extremely painful. Luckily there are treatment options available. Learn what they are here.

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 petโ€™s immune system, but when a petโ€™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 demodectic mange.

  • Generalized demodectic mange affects large areas of a petโ€™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 petโ€™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 microscope.

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 veterinarianโ€™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 cases).

  • 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 doesnโ€™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 dogโ€™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 donโ€™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.

More on Skin Conditions

Dandruff and Flaky Skin in Dogs and Cats
Dog and Cat Dermatitis: Itchy Skin in Pets
7 Common Causes of Dry Dog Skin
DIY Dog Dry Skin Treatment (and Handy Medications)

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