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 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, in most cases, resolves 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 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 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 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. The 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 by 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. The 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 to the sore spots on your dog’s skin to clean the bacteria from it and the dirt and grime from mange. Its antioxidant and antiseptic properties build immunity and help heal sore and tender skin. Olive oil is another effective natural remedy. It can soothe tender skin and cleanse the area of mange. A Borax and hydrogen peroxide solution 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 every week would prevent mange from reoccurring. Now, mange treatment is long drawn out. It can take weeks before your dog is cured of mange. It takes even longer for the fur to grow back. Good hygiene and maintaining cleanliness can help dogs with 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 the potential risk of catching mange. Mange in dogs is treatable and nothing to worry about. With a little time and patience, your dog will be cured quickly.
Frequently Asked Questions
What chemical is used to treat demodectic mange in dogs?
Benzoyl peroxide is a medication that is commonly used in veterinary medicine as a topical treatment for various skin conditions, including demodectic mange. When used as a pre-treatment for demodectic mange, benzoyl peroxide is typically applied in the form of a medicated shampoo. The shampoo is massaged into the dog's coat and skin and then rinsed off after a few minutes. The benzoyl peroxide helps to flush out and open the hair follicles, which can make it easier for subsequent medications to penetrate and kill the mites that cause demodectic mange. Amitraz, on the other hand, is an insecticide that is used to kill the mites that cause demodectic mange. It is typically applied topically as a dip or spray, and it can be very effective at killing the mites. However, amitraz can be toxic if not used properly, and it should only be used under the guidance of a veterinarian. In some cases, amitraz can cause side effects such as lethargy, vomiting, and diarrhea, and it should never be used in pregnant or nursing dogs.
What medicine kills mange in cats?
The most common medications used to treat mange in cats are topical medications such as selamectin, moxidectin/imidacloprid, and lime sulfur dips. These medications work by killing the mites that cause mange. Selamectin is a topical medication that is applied to the skin on the back of the cat's neck once a month. It is effective against a variety of parasites, including ear mites, fleas, and the mites that cause mange. Moxidectin/imidacloprid is another topical medication that is applied to the back of the cat's neck once a month. This medication is effective against a variety of parasites, including fleas, heartworms, and the mites that cause mange. Lime sulfur dips are a topical medication that is applied to the cat's entire body every 5-7 days for several weeks. This medication has a strong sulfur odor and can temporarily discolor the cat's fur, but it is effective at killing the mites that cause mange. Ivermectin and doramectin are medications that belong to the macrocyclic lactone class of drugs and are commonly used to treat parasitic infections in animals, including mange caused by mites. While these medications have been used to treat mange in cats in the past, they are generally not considered safe for use in cats due to the high risk of toxicity. Cats are more sensitive to the effects of macrocyclic lactone medications than other animals, and even small doses of these drugs can cause severe neurological symptoms such as seizures and tremors. Therefore, it is generally recommended to avoid using ivermectin and doramectin to treat mange in cats and use topical medications such as selamectin, moxidectin/imidacloprid, and lime sulfur dips instead.
Is mange painful for cats?
Mange can be uncomfortable and itchy for cats, but whether or not it is painful depends on the severity of the infestation and whether or not the cat has developed any secondary infections or complications. Mange is caused by mites that burrow into the skin and can cause intense itching, which can lead to hair loss, scabs, and skin infections. Cats with mange may scratch and bite at their skin in an attempt to relieve the itching, which can cause further damage to the skin and increase the risk of infection. In severe cases, the skin can become thickened and wrinkled, and the cat may develop a foul odor. While mange itself may not be painful for cats, the secondary infections and complications that can arise as a result of the infestation can be painful. In addition, some cats may experience pain or discomfort if the skin becomes raw or irritated due to scratching or biting.
What is an effective home remedy for demodectic mange?
While there are some home remedies that may help alleviate the symptoms of demodectic mange in dogs, these remedies are not a substitute for veterinary care and may not be effective in treating the underlying cause of the condition. Aloe vera gel can help soothe and moisturize your dog's skin. You can apply a small amount of aloe vera gel to the affected areas of your dog's skin. Apple cider vinegar has antimicrobial properties and may help kill the mites that cause demodectic mange. Mix equal parts of apple cider vinegar and water in a spray bottle, and spray it on your dog's skin. Some people claim that using apple cider vinegar, borax, and warm water is effective in treating mange. But using this mixture may actually be harmful to your dog's health. Borax is a type of salt that is sometimes used as a cleaning agent, but it can be toxic to pets if ingested in large amounts. Additionally, borax can be irritating to the skin and eyes and can cause respiratory issues if inhaled. Therefore, it is not recommended to use borax on your dog's skin, especially if they have an open wound or other skin irritation. Coconut oil has moisturizing properties and may help soothe your dog's skin. You can apply a small amount of coconut oil to the affected areas of your dog's skin.
What kills Demodex mites?
Prescription medications, such as ivermectin, milbemycin, and amitraz, can be effective in killing Demodex mites. These medications work by either killing the mites directly or by disrupting their ability to reproduce. Short courses of metronidazole taken orally have shown efficacy in reducing Demodex density. Metronidazole is an antibiotic that works by disrupting the DNA of the mites, ultimately killing them. Topical treatments, such as lime sulfur dips, benzoyl peroxide shampoos, and medicated sprays, can help kill Demodex mites and soothe your pet's skin. Permethrin is a topical medication that is commonly used to treat scabies and lice infestations. It works by paralyzing and killing the mites. Benzoyl benzoate is a topical medication that is sometimes used to treat Demodex infestations in dogs and cats. It works by killing the mites and reducing inflammation in the skin. Crotamiton is a topical medication that is sometimes used to treat scabies and other parasitic infestations. It works by killing the mites and reducing itching and inflammation. Lindane is a topical medication that is sometimes used to treat scabies and lice infestations. It works by killing the mites and their eggs. However, lindane can be toxic to humans and pets and is generally not recommended as a first-line treatment.
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