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What is Dog Mange?
Mange is an inflammatory skin disease caused by several species of parasitic skin mites. All dogs have mites on their skin, but their natural immunity is usually enough to keep the numbers within healthy range. Mange occurs when an abundance of mites infest the dog, creating large colonies that cause skin lesions.
Types of Mange
There are different types of mange classified by the type of mite on the dog. Different types of mange may or may not be contagious. Some can be transmitted to other animals and even humans where it is known as scabies.
Localized demodectic mange is caused by the demodex canis mite, a mite found in nearly all dogs in small numbers.
Demodectic mange is common in puppies under 1 year old. It is not contagious and is not transferable to humans.
Sarcoptic mange is caused by the sarcoptes scabiei canis mite that burrows into the skin and infects it. This type of mange is very contagious and can be spread easily to other animals and humans. Dogs that are already in poor condition are most susceptible to Sarcoptic mange and their health can rapidly decline after infection.
Dog Mange Symptoms
Symptoms vary depending on the type of mange present. Patchy hair loss is often the first symptom and may be present with or without itching. Intense itching, scratching and biting means an infection is present. Mange causes rough, red, scaly patches on the skin and often results in a crusty, foul-smelling wound. Hair loss often occurs on the face, head, chest and legs depending on the type of illness.
Diagnosing Dog Mange
If you suspect mange, your dog should be taken to a veterinarian for treatment. The vet will perform a thorough physical exam and take skin scrapings. The scrapings are analyzed microscopically to determine the presence of mites. Mites that are buried deep within a dog's skin can be difficult to identify. The vet will use the results of the skin scrapings, the pet's history, and present symptoms to make an official diagnosis.
Help for Dog Mange
Anti-parasitic medications, shots, and specialized shampoos are often recommended. Some medications are applied topically. Medications may also be prescribed to ease inflammation and any secondary skin infections. There are herbal remedies that can also help ease the symptoms of mange. Echinacea is known for its excellent immune system benefits. It's also a natural antibiotic and immunity booster. Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic herb that cleanses and nourishes the blood. It is anti-inflammatory with calming properties.