Demodectic Mange: Beasley’s Story
Maintaining your dog’s immune system is vital to prevent Red Mange
Mange in dogs and cats refers to any type of skin irritation caused by parasitic mites. There are three varieties of canine mange:
- Demodectic Mange – or Red Mange
- Sarcoptic Mange – or Scabies
- Cheyletiella Mange – or Walking Dandruff
Each type of mange differs by the type of mite, which burrow under the animal’s skin and even penetrate the hair follicles, causing painful sores and hair loss. While Sarcoptic and Cheyletiella mange are highly contagious to other pets and humans, Demodectic is not; however, it spreads the fastest and can be treated by antibiotic shampoos, dips and ointments, which I found in bulk via a pharmacy selling Canadian drugs online.
My Beasley’s story…
I was lucky, well my beagle, Beasley, was lucky when he was afflicted with Red Mange last summer after I boarded him in a kennel during my vacation overseas. When I picked Beasley up after my vacation, he seemed unlike his usual, hyper self. I didn’t think he was sick, but expected it was separation anxiety (and that perhaps he was punishing me for being away). However, as time wore on, Beasley started to show some really scary symptoms, including:
- Obsessive itching that caused painful sores on his front paws and under his left eye
- The sores turned red and scaly
- Then he suffered patches of hair loss
- That was it! My baby was going to the vet!
Lucky for me, and for Beasley, I got him to the vet before the Red Mange took serious affect. If left untreated, our vet says that dogs with Red Mange lose patches of hair all over their bodies, and the sore turn even more painful, crusty and oozing.
I was shocked to find out that my dog contracted Mange just by staying in a kennel. The vet went over Beasley’s treatment options with me, which included:
- A skin scraping from one area of hair loss—Beasley was not fond of this at all—which was taken to the lab for inspection under the microscope. Our vet said that animals will often need to be tested a few times as mites are difficult to detect.
- Following the skin test, our vet prescribed Beasley with a topical medication, called Mitaban, as well as a shampoo.
- Beasley was also given a series of Ivermectin injections over the next few months, and the doctor monitored him for allergic reactions (he didn’t have any).
What causes a dog like Beasley to contract Demodectic Mange?
I found out that there are several factors that can make a dog prone to contracting Red Mange, including:
- A weak immune system—in Beasley’s case
- Genetic predisposition
- Underlying conditions such as cancer, liver disease or kidney disease
- Prolonged steroid
- Breeds disposition in Afghans, Alaskan Malamute, Airedale Terrier, Boxer, Doberman Pinscher, English Bulldog, Great Dane, Old English Sheep Dog, Shar-pei, Scottish and West Highland Terrier, Staffordshire Terrier and Weimaraners can be genetically prone
How to protect your pet from Red Mange
As I said Beasley was fortunate. His sores healed and his hair started to grow back within weeks. However, I’m writing this article in the hope that other pet parents will take Beasley’s story as a cautionary tale and do everything they can to protect their dog from this horrible condition. Our vet said that Beasley’s weak immune system was the cause of his tragedy. You can protect your pet from Mange, and strengthen their immune systems with these preventative actions:
- Select a breed appropriate diet: Read up on species and breed, talk to your vet, and feed your pet a nutritionally, balanced diet.
- Keep your dog clean and well-groomed—for example, ear and eye infections can spur parasites and can be prevented or reduced with consistent ear cleanings.
- Use parasite preventatives—such as flea and tick collars, spot on treatments, essential oil blends, etc.
Bernice Spradlin is an avid hiker and runner. She works at a gym in Brooklyn, where she gets great inspiration for her freelance health-related articles & blogs. In her off time, you can often find Bernice jogging the East River path along the waterfront and enjoying the cool breeze. Bernice is currently looking for freelance writing work, and can be contacted here.