Whats the topic for today?
Mange in dogs
Mangey dogs, they are the scabby, itchy, bald ones aren’t they?
Well mange does cause hairloss and scabs but contrary to popular opinion not all bald scabby itchy dogs have mange. Mange refers to a specific type of skin disease whereas there are lots of different diseases that cause hairloss and scabs.
So what causes mange then?
Mange specifically refers to skin diseases caused by mites. It comes from the French word mange which means to eat. Basically the mites eat the skin or debris on the skin.
That sounds revolting. How do you diagnose them?
We scrape the surface of the skin and look at the cells down a microscope. Sometimes they can be very difficult to find.
Are mites contagious?
It depends what sort of mite is involved as there are several types of skin mite. Each type has its own characteristics. The 2 commonest mites that cause mange in dogs are sarcoptes and demodex . One is contagious and the other isn’t.
Which is the contagious one?
Sarcoptes. People may have heard of the skin disease scabies. Well scabies is caused by the sarcoptes mite. Its highly contagious between dogs and people can catch it from dogs too.
Ah so that’s why my mum always told me to avoid scabby bald dogs in the street!
Good advice. Fortunately sarcoptes mites don’t breed on humans and they eventually die. But they are intensely itchy in the meantime.
What about dogs. How do you treat it in dogs?
Well fortunately Advantage Multi the pour-on treatment from Bayer is very good at killing sarcoptes. It can also be used regularly to prevent the dog from catching scabies in the first place.
That’s good news. What about the other type of mite?
Demodex mite is quite a different story. Its not contagious but most dogs carry a few demodex mites all their lives. Most dogs live in harmony with this mite without it causing a problem.
So when does it become a problem?
If the dogs immune system isnt functioning well the mite numbers can increase dramatically and start causing skin disease.
What situations would cause this to happen?
Puppies immune systems are not fully developed and so we often see skin problems due to demodex in puppies. In adults some diseases and also some drugs can cause a damping down of the immune system.
Is this type of mite treatable?
In puppies we often don’t need to treat as once they get older and their immune system improves they fight off the mite by themselves.
What about adult dogs?
It can be very hard to treat in adult dogs unless you can also treat the underlying cause of the immunosuppresion. There is a medicine we can give that helps to keep the mite under control but the dog may need to stay on it for a very long time.
Does advantage-multi help?
It can help to keep demodex under control once the medicine has reduced the numbers to a manageable level.
Can humans catch demodex?
No. The good news is it specifically lives on dogs though there is also a variety that lives on cats too.
And what is todays question?
It’s and easy one this week. What is the name of the pour-on treatment from Bayer that can help treat and prevent skin mites in dogs. (Advantage-multi)