Have you noticed that your furry friend is lethargic, agitated, and constantly scratching his skin? These are telltale signs that your dog may be suffering from mange. While this skin issue is not life-threatening, it can be extremely uncomfortable and painful for your dog. Here is a guide that will explain what mange is and common symptoms of mange in dogs that you should be aware of.
What is Mange?
Mange is a highly contagious canine skin disease that is caused by parasitic mites. When these mites latch on to your dog, they burrow deep into his skin, causing irritation, inflammation, redness, and itchiness. Two of the most prevalent types of mange that affects dogs are demodectic and sarcoptic.
Demodectic mange occurs when mites infest your dog’s hair follicles and oil glands. It is normal for dogs to have mites on their skin as their mothers pass down these mites when they are born, but the problem arises when your pup has an immune deficiency and an overgrowth of mites develops.
Luckily for pet owners, demodectic mange is known to be less severe compared to the sarcoptic variation. When a dog is diagnosed with demodectic mange, your dog might not be itching excessively nor have significant hair loss. Normally with demodectic mange, dogs will experience a thinning of their coat in addition to mild itching or dry spots.
Sarcoptic mange, on the other hand, usually causes more severe symptoms. Sarcoptic mange is caused by parasitic mites as well, but is highly contagious and is spread through direct contact.
Sarcoptic mange is the direct result of infection, and will lead to extreme itchiness, discomfort, hair loss, and redness. This type of mange is much more difficult to treat as it can quickly spread to other household pets and even furniture. Because of this, there is a greater chance of re-infestation after treatment.
Signs of Mange in Dogs
The main symptom of mange is excessive itching in dogs. These tiny mites that use your dog as a host can become abundant, causing discomfort and itchiness for your pup. If the itching worsens, your dog’s skin may become infected by bacteria or yeast, resulting in an even more severe skin complication. It is important to take your dog to the vet if you notice that he is constantly itching because mange is much easier to treat the earlier it is diagnosed.
In some cases of mange, Demodectic Pododermatitis may result. This causes your dog’s feet to swell and become inflamed, particularly around the nail beds. When this occurs, mites burrow deep into your dog’s foot, causing an infection.
If you notice your dog has Demodectic Pododermatitis, make sure to seek treatment as soon as possible. This symptom is often difficult to treat, and is more easily managed in its earliest stages.
While light shedding is normal, if your dog experiences balding, dry patches, or other scabbing areas on his skin, it may be the result of mange. In severe cases, these areas may become white, crusty, or irritated. For most dogs, these irritated patches can cause itchiness, and will eventually spread if not properly treated.
Inspect Your Own Skin
Inspect yourself and other people in your household for small, red bumps. Mites can also affect humans, causing uncomfortable patches of bumps anywhere on the body. These bumps are certainly not a huge cause for concern, but it is best to get them treated as soon as you can.
How to Treat Mange in Dogs
Depending on the type and severity, there are a variety of different treatment methods your dog may be prescribed to cure the mange. If you suspect that your pup is suffering from a mite infestation or infection, seek veterinarian attention as soon as possible.
From there, your veterinarian will be able to take a skin scraping sample to diagnose the type and severity of his mange. Once they have concluded the variation of mange your dog has, they will then be able to prescribe the proper medication to treat it.
Because the mites can linger in your dog’s collar, bed, and other areas in your home, it is important to thoroughly clean all surfaces or items that might be highly infected. This is a very critical step in order to prevent your dog from being re-exposed to these pesky mites.
As a dog owner, you want to be sure that your dog is as healthy as possible. That’s why you need to constantly check for any strange symptoms that may be affecting your dog. If you feel that your dog is suffering from mange, make sure to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible to mitigate the issue. Once your pet has been properly cured, he will be back to his happy-go-lucky self in no time at all!