Demodectic Mange in Dogs: A Common Form of Mange Caused by the Demodex Dog Mite

Skin disease in dogs is common and demodectic mange is one of the most commonly diagnosed skin diseases found in puppies and young dogs.

What is Demodectic Mange?

Demodectic mange is a skin disease caused by a dog mite known as Demodex. The Demodex dog mite lives in the hair follicle within the dog’s skin.

Demodectic mange can occur in dogs of any age. However, it is most commonly found in puppies ranging from 3 months to one year of age.

When demodectic mange is diagnosed in older more mature dogs, there is likely to be an underlying health problem which weakened the dog’s immune system to leave the dog susceptible to demodectic mange.

What are the Symptoms of Demodectic Mange in Dogs?

There are two forms of demodectic mange:

 

  • localized demodectic mange
  • generalized demodectic mange

Localized demodectic mange results in small circular areas of hair loss. There may be only one area affected or there may be several bald spots on the dog’s skin. These areas of hair loss are generally not itchy for the dog affected with demodectic mange unless they have become infected with bacteria.

Generalized demodectic mange is a more wide-spread skin disease, often with lesions covering most of the body. Usually, secondary bacterial infection is present as well, resulting in a dog who is very itchy and uncomfortable. A dog infected with generalized demodectic mange may have a discharge which is bloody or pus-like coming from parts of the infected skin. The skin coat is usually brittle, dry and full of crusts and scabs. There is also often a very strong unpleasant odor coming from the skin of these dogs.

The generalized form of demodectic mange is often referred to as “red mange”.

How is Demodectic Mange in Dogs Diagnosed?

Demodectic mange in dogs is diagnosed by gently scraping the skin with a sharp instrument such as a scalpel blade and examining the collected skin samples under a microscope. Microscopic analysis will reveal the Demodex dog mite which has been extruded from the hair follicle and collected with the scraping.

How is Demodectic Mange in Dogs Treated?

Localized demodectic mange lesions in puppies may regress without treatment within a few months as the puppy matures.

Generalized demodectic mange lesions in adult dogs are best treated by identifying and treating the underlying health issue. This may involve additional diagnostic tests for the infected dog.

Where necessary, specific treatment for demodectic mange may include:

  • ivermectin, a chemical which may used to help kill the Demodex dog mite.
  • Promeris, a monthly topical flea and tick preventive medication containing amitraz which has recently been approved by the FDA to treat demodectic mange in dogs.
  • medicated shampoos.
  • soothing ointments, but avoid the use of any ointments containing hydrocortisone.
  • dips containing amitraz.

Prognosis for recovery of dogs with localized demodectic mange is good. However, as there may be a genetic predisposition to this disease, it is not recommended to breed individual dogs who have been diagnosed with demodectic mange.

For generalized demodectic mange in dogs, prognosis varies depending on the underlying cause of the diseaase and whether the underlying cause is treatable.

Continue Reading

How Long is Too Long to Crate a Dog?

Crates are often used, but it is unfortunate that they are also misused. Learn how much is too much time in the crate, and how to make your dog love it.

Crates: the world seems to be split in half when it comes to their use. Are they truly comfortable dens or are they more likely little prison cells? Only dogs could ultimately tell, and even though dogs cannot talk to give you their opinion, a lot can be told by simply watching their behavior. Does your dog happily go in its crate or do you have to shove him in? If left at home with the crate door open, will your dog take a nap in it? Does your dog whine upon closing the crate door? These are important questions to ask.

Crate Use: How Much is Too Much?

Every morning the routine is the same. You take your dog for an early morning stroll, then have breakfast, take a shower, close your pooch into the crate and head to work. Your full-time job keeps you away from the house each day between six to eight hours. This does not include your commute and the extra minutes spent talking with a co-worker or being stuck in a traffic jam.

Then you finally come home, open the crate, take your dog to do its business and prepare dinner. By the time you eat, undress and get ready to go to bed, it is time to close Rover in the crate again. Rover complies but starts whining after a few minutes. What is up with him, lately?

 

If you think about it, eight hours closed while at work and eight hours closed in the night make it 16 hours total. In a 24 hour day, therefore, that’s two-thirds of the day spent in the crate. Now, imagine staying in a room big enough to allow you to stand up and turn around for 16 hours a day and you may get the picture.

Rover therefore may be resenting the crate, something common when crates technically become a storage facility for a dog and this could explain why lately he has been developing a reluctance to fall asleep. In his mind it feels so good to be finally with you (he’s been ultimately waiting for you all day) and to be able to enjoy more space, that falling asleep is just a waste of time!

So how much time is too much time in the crate? The answer to this really varies. Six hours in a crate may feel like a very long time for a young high-energy dog with lots of pent up energy, whereas, a mellower and perhaps older dog may do just fine napping for that same time.

If you are looking for a more concrete answer, Jennifer Messer a veterinarian who writes for Modern Dog Magazine claims that as a good rule of thumb, dogs could be crated overnight for up to half of the day as long as its social and physical needs are being met while not in the crate.

Alternatives to Crate Training

The Humane Society of the United States claims that crates are not magical solutions and that if not used correctly, dogs may feel frustrated and trapped. The website points out that dogs crated day and night most likely lack from getting sufficient exercise and human interaction causing the dog to feel depressed or anxious. Ultimately, owners should therefore crate their dogs only until they can be trusted not to destroy the house, after that, it should be a place the dog goes happily and voluntarily.

If you suspect your dog may be spending too many hours in the crate, you may consider the following alternative options:

  • Taking your dog to a doggy-daycare center while you are at work
  • Hiring a dog walker to stop by midday
  • Getting a pet sitter to watch your dog
  • Asking a neighbor to come over and keep your dog company
  • Keeping your dog in a safe room with the crate door open as an invitation to nap

A cozy place to sleep in, enjoy a toy, and eat tasty treats…these should be the amenities your dog will look for in a crate. If your dog thinks otherwise, chances are the crate is likely being misused.

Continue Reading