Everyone knows a healthy pup is a happy pup, and that is always good. Regular checkups, a healthy diet and plenty of exercise all are key elements in a healthy lifestyle, but problems can arise that surprise us every so often. Mange is a well-known disease, as many have heard of its symptoms and how they affect our canine companions. This is so very uncomfortable for your pup, and in some cases can actually lead to more infections as a result of the disease.
Mange is a terrible disease caused by little parasites that infect your dog’s flesh. The mites burrow, causing rash and itching. When your pup begins to chew, and scratch at the area, sores and lesions can form, causing further infection. For most people you can remember what it was like to get the chicken pox, well this is far worse for your pup. If not treated your pup’s health can definitely be at risk.
Symptoms are usually loss of hair and visible rashes in isolated areas. These rashes are often accompanied by sores as your pup will persistently bite and scratch at the area.
There are two primary types of mange- one that is passed on from mother to pup’s at birth and the other that is contagious to other animals, including humans.
Demodedic mange is usually passed on at birth, and is normally controlled by a healthy immune system. Pups and older dogs often display symptoms of this type because their immune strength is lower. In a full grown healthy dog, indications that they are infected can be difficult to notice.
Treatment for demodedic mange varies between dogs, but a healthy immune system will normally fight off and eliminate the problem on its own within eight weeks. If a pup is already ill, or later in years, treatment can be more difficult. There are special shampoos and dips for treatment, and most are quite poisonous as they are insecticides designed to eliminate the parasite. Be careful with your own skin, and keep your pup from consuming them.
Sarcoptic mange is the worse of the two, as it is very contagious and often far more severe. This parasite burrows under the dog’s skin and lays eggs, which continuously cycles. These mites are far more aggressive and can even attack human flesh.
Treating this parasite can usually be handled with a few doses of Ivermectin over the course of several weeks. Unfortunately, your pup’s skin will still take time to heal, and steroid creams will help reduce the itch and slow them from scratching (they will still want to though, as you must well know).
Because mange can be carried from mother to newborn pups, it is always possible for any dog to possess the parasite. Never disregard signs or symptoms of mange, even if you live in an apartment or condo where your dog does not readily interact with other animals.
Avoiding mange is not always easy, as any dog can be a carrier at any time. Public places such as dog parks, meeting places and the dreaded pound are all places where your pup can come into contact with an infected dog. All mange is not contagious, but it is always better to be safe than sorry. Try to avoid these places, but to be safe- especially if your pup spent time at the pound- make sure you take precautions and give them a good bath when they get home.