Of all the animals that man has domesticated across history, no other creature has been as loyal, or as loved, as the canine friend. Others may argue that cats go heat-to-claw with the dogs, but for pure fierce loyalty and dedication, dogs are almost always the favorites. You don’t need to look far for stories where a dog has saved its master from imminent danger, or how a dog can be a good guard for property. Dogs are also the first animals to have been used as guides for humans, in the form of seeing-eye dogs trained to be the eyes for blind people. It is no wonder then that for most dog owners, their pet’s health is of utmost concern.
One of the most common health problems in dogs is mange. Nothing is as pitiful as seeing your favorite chow-chow getting patches of bald skin coupled with enlarged lymph nodes and skin infections.
What is Mange?
Mange is caused by mites found on dogs. Veterinarians and dog owners normally call mange canine scabies. It is typically a parasitic infestation caused by small, microscopic mites that have invaded the dog’s body. Typically, the first signs of mite infestation include severe itching and eventual hair loss on your dogs.
Mange may be localized or generalized. When mange only occurs in certain parts of the dog’s body, then it is localized. Usually, the parts most commonly affected are the feet, ear, and face. Generalized mange, on the other hand, is a more serious concern since it covers your dog’s whole body. This is the most severe form of the infection and treating it doesn’t always assure postive results.
When a person gets infected with mange, he or she will experience itching and irritation. The good news is that the mites that cause the mange cannot reproduce on human skin as much as they do on the dogs, so eventually, the symptoms will heal after all the mites have died. The most common way a human can get affected with mange is through direct contact with the pet.
Types of Mange
There are different types of mange. They are determined by the kind of mite that infiltrates the dog to fulfill its reproductive cycle. The most common types of manges are:
- Sarcoptic Mange. As the name suggests, sarcoptic mange comes from sarcoptic mites. These mites are among the most contagious mites that cannot be seen by the naked eye. Only high-powered microscopes can see them. Worse, they not only affect dogs, but other four-legged animals as well.Sarcoptic mites are one of the most destructive parasites because they can spread themselves all over the animal’s body, causing life-threatening diseases. A single sarcoptic mite can live on its host for as long as 22 days. They reproduce massively, increasing the danger of general mange infection.The most common symptom of sarcoptic mange is the constant scratching of the pet that eventually develops dry, scaly, and crusty skin. The scratching is followed by hair loss on the affected part, exposing the wounded part of the skin.
Sarcoptic mites are very contagious to humans. As such, care should be taken when handling pets with sarcoptic mange.
- Demodectic Mange. The mite responsible for this mange is called the demodex canis mite. Unlike sarcoptic mange, demodectic mange is not as severe. The mange usually attacks puppies aged three to nine years old, and usually, the puppies that get infected spontaneously recover from it as they grow older and as their immune systems strengthen.Puppies that get affected by this mange usually contract reddened face or feet — that’s why its other name is Red Mange. The parts of the dog where the infection commenced would be exposed, so there will be hair loss in those areas. The only difference from the sarcoptic mange is that the dog will not feel any itchiness at all. Also, unlike sarcoptic mange, demodectic is not contagious to humans.Demodectic is life-threatening. Just the same, it is always advised that you take your pet to the veterinarian for treatment.
- Cheyletiella Mange. Cheyletiella mites are responsible for this type of mange. Unlike other mites, cheyletiella can be seen by the naked eye. They also produce scales and flakes and are sometimes referred to as walking dandruff.Cheyletiella mange is highly contagious both to humans and to other dogs. Like sarcoptic mange, scaling, crustiness, and hair loss on the affected part are common symptoms. If your pet has this mange, bring him to the veterinarian immediately.
Get Rid of Dog Mange
Treating dog mange will usually depend on the severity of the disease and the type of mite that caused it. Here are some tips to make your dog’s life easier.
- Let the vet help. At the first sign of the disease, don’t hesitate to take your pet to the vet right away. The veterinarian will be able to diagnose the condition and give the appropriate medications.
- Use mite killers on your dog. There are many over-the-counter mite killers. These analgesic medicines usually come in the form of solutions, powders, or ointments that you have to topically apply to the affected area. Just apply them daily, usually after bathing, or follow the orders of your veterinarian.
- Give your dog a good diet. A healthy diet is essential for dogs to maintain good health and resist infection. Give your pet a nutritional food diet as advised by the veterinarian. A good diet should consist of finely chopped green vegetables along with herbs like olive leaf extract, cat’s claw, astragulus, and kyolic garlic.
- Maintain proper hygiene. Regular bathing is a must for dogs with mange. Also, clean the dog’s kennel living area regularly. Keep in mind that there are some mites that transfer themselves to humans so make sure you’re well-protected, too.
With proper care, hygiene, and diet, your dog should be mange-free in no time.
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