Guest Post: Demodectic Mange: Beasley’s Story

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:

  1. Demodectic Mange – or Red Mange
  2. Sarcoptic Mange – or Scabies
  3. 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!

Treating Beasley…

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Following the skin test, our vet prescribed Beasley with a topical medication, called Mitaban, as well as a shampoo.
  3. 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:

  1. A weak immune system—in Beasley’s case
  2. Genetic predisposition
  3. Underlying conditions such as cancer, liver disease or kidney disease
  4. Prolonged steroid
  5. 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:

  1. Select a breed appropriate diet: Read up on species and breed, talk to your vet, and feed your pet a nutritionally, balanced diet.
  2. 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.
  3. Use parasite preventatives—such as flea and tick collars, spot on treatments, essential oil blends, etc.

Stay safe!

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.

Helping Animals in Need in the Central Texas Fires

*** Updated Tuesday, September 6, 2011

We need rain here in Texas. Badly.

That’s a picture from Big Dog Rescue’s Facebook page. They’re located in the Austin area, and their Vice President just had her house burned down and they’re looking for fosters to take in animals displaced. The Bastrop County Animal Shelter was evacuated as well and thanks to the awesome folks at Austin Pets Alive and the Austin Humane Society, all the animals were saved and they’re looking for donations and temporary fosters. You can find more detailed things they need by going to their facebook pages:

*** Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter needs fosters ASAP! They took in 15 dogs from the Leader Fire and have run out of space. Please check out their facebook page for more updated information. If you’re a shelter/rescue/someone looking to adopt, please help them out!

If you haven’t heard, Central Texas is being hit HARD with fires right now. The biggest being the one in Bastrop that has burned up to 25,000 acres since yesterday, jumped the Colorado River twice, and has desecrated more than 300 houses. Over 5,000 people have been evacuated so far, and a mother and her 18-month-old child were killed. The winds from the recent hurricane aren’t helping. You can keep updated about the fires by checking the Austin Statesman.

We are located in east Austin and while the fires are supposedly moving away from us, we’ve still come up with our evacuation plan (packing up 20 animals is no easy feat). Standing outside in our front yard, the smell of smoke is strong. It’s scary. If we didn’t have so many fosters already, I know we’d both be at the shelter taking in animals right now. I’ll be continually nagging friends all day to make sure they’re okay.

Please send good thoughts, positive vibes, and lots of rain.

*** We will be updating our twitter account with information as we get it. Follow @RescueAnimals on Twitter!

Rescue of the Week: Pepper!

And we’re back with a new Rescue of the Week! Sorry this series has been a little lacking – we could always use some more stories though to help build it up! This week I’m super excited to show off our first non-mammal rescue: Pepper the Dumeril’s Boa! Her story comes from my best friend – thanks, Lee!

Rescue of the Week: Meet Pepper!

Rescue’s Name: Pepper
Species/Breed: Dumeril’s Boa
Age: Unknown

How did your rescue come to be in your life?

Pepper came to me while I was interning at the Denver Zoo. I’d only been there a couple of weeks, when my supervisor had asked me if I wanted an adult Dumeril’s boa. Now, up until that point, I had only ever kept small constrictors, and while I’ve always been happy to help out a snake in need, I was more than a little intimidated by the prospect of a snake that was over five feet long, weighed fifteen pounds, and ate rabbits every other week. But, by a spectacularly lucky combination of circumstances, I was able to find space for her in my tiny apartment, and after just a few minutes of handling her, I knew that I wanted her to be a part of my life. I don’t know much about her life before I adopted her, but I am immensely glad that I decided to take this lovely girl into my home. Pepper isn’t the first or last reptile that I’ve rescued (all too often, people view cold-blooded animals like snakes, spiders and fish as disposable, and I’d certainly recommend that anyone looking to get a pet reptile check out adoption before buying from a commercial breeder or dealer) but she is the only pet that I have who’s literally a zoo animal. 🙂 And that makes her very special to me.

Tell us more about your rescue kid:

Pepper is definitely one of the biggest snake challenges that I’ve ever taken on. She’s very relaxed in her cage and eats and sheds well, but when she’s out, she is always determined to shove herself into the most inaccessible and incomprehensible place possible. She once broke my printer trying to crawl through the paper tray … She’s a little shy of people, sudden movements startle her, and she’s certainly not the girl I’ll introduce you to if you have a snake phobia. But she’s also incredibly gentle, and one of the most beautiful examples of her species that I’ve ever seen (Of course, I may be a little biased…)

(Oh, and if you’re thinking of dumping your pet reptile at the zoo, on the basis that it’ll be taken care of, just like Pepper was … well, unfortunately, she was a a very lucky break. Zoos across the country receive thousands of unwanted animals every year, and they don’t have the space to care for them. The very, very lucky ones are referred to local shelters, or otherwise rehomed. The vast majority are simply humanely euthanized, because zoos, especially those in the business of conservation, don’t have the resources, space or time to take care of unwanted pets.)

Your name: A. Jaszlics
Where you and your pet can be found on the internet: Worm Salad

O’Malley’s Rehabilitation and How You Can Help

You are reading the fourth chapter of O’Malley’s story.
Read the First Chapter
Read the Second Chapter
Read the Third Chapter
Read the Fifth Chapter
Read the Sixth Chapter
To Be Continued…

Hello animal-loving world! I can’t apologize enough for the way we have completely disappeared from the internet. We have been having a rough time lately, from just plain exhaustion, trying to manage O’Malley’s rehab in what little free time we have and a death in Nikki’s family which has been incredibly hard on her. We are trying our best to get back into the swing of things but please bear with us at being slow with this blog and our twitter account. Any loving thoughts for Nikki are greatly appreciated. I’d also like to give a HUGE thank you to Chelsea for keeping ILRA alive with her weekly #ShelterSketches! Now on to the more fun stuff!

The Recovery Process

O’Malley has been doing great, not that any of us expected any less from this boy. His wounds healed up great (he just had his stitches removed today) and he’s on the road to recovery. As I wrote last time, he needs rehabilitation to strengthen his muscles and make sure everything moves well and his scar tissue forms right. I’ll be straight up honest and say that we have not been able to devote as much time to his rehabilitation as we would have liked but he is still progressing and I know he’s going to come out on the other end a very healthy, fit cat. I’ve seriously been worrying about him and agonizing over the fact that everything we do now will affect O’Malley for the rest of his life and I know that we’re not doing perfect. But then I think about the alternative, of what would have happened to him had I not stopped to help him, and I know that he would prefer our imperfection to being left there alone. He’s such a loving, forgiving cat. I just love him, as does everyone else who meets him.

Now on to the cool stuff: As promised, here is an image of one of O’Malley’s X-rays. You can see his left femur completely out of the socket and the big break in his pelvis on the right.

Next up, O’Malley’s rehabilitation! I was able to get in contact with Sandra Hudson, the woman we met at that dog event, and she accepted O’Malley as a patient. The best part is that she’s giving me the rescue discount since she was moved by his story. Isn’t that great? O’Malley has been twice so far. It would have been best for him to be able to go twice a week but with my new full time schedule, it just isn’t possible. So we are going to be using his visits there as a sort of check-in and we’re going to be responsible for most of his physical therapy. The different things he does at his rehab sessions are really interesting. He starts by getting cold laser therapy. Basically she applies low-power light to his hip and it helps him heal faster! How cool is that?

Then he’s on to balancing on a balance board and a ball. The board makes him learn to shift his balance and improve his stability. The ball helps stretch his leg out and put weight on his foot. I looked into buying a balance board to use at home but the cheapest was $80 so we’re going to have to attempt to make one ourselves… wish us luck!

Then he does Cavaletti poles which for our purposes is two swimming noodles with bits of plastic piping laid over them to create a ladder rung type deal (it’s hard to explain). Anyway, we coax him to walk through it, over the pipes, so he has to lift his feet over them. This helps with his gait training and also re-teaches him where his back feet are. Sandra says that many cats who undergo trauma and/or surgery of his type have their connections between their brain and hind limbs damaged. Basically he has to re-learn where his feet are without him having to look. So he has to figure out how to lift his back legs over the poles. Kinda neat when you think about it. Anyway, we make it harder by spreading the poles out and by crisscrossing them. This works best by tempting him with treats!

The last thing we do at his sessions is also the coolest! Well, according to me, anyway. I’m sure he would tell you otherwise! Anyway, O’Malley does aquatic therapy! Yes, we actually stick that poor kitty on a partially submerged treadmill and make him walk for several minutes. He complains about it, of course, but as always he does what is asked of him. Aquatic therapy is so good because it transfers heat to his hip, supports a good amount of his weight so he can slowly add more weight to that hip, it improves his gait by making his stride longer and it forces him to continue walking which increases his endurance. It really is very cool how much it helps him. I’m sure you’ll love the video!

How You Can Help O’Malley

Now here’s the part where you can help. While we have been helped by some AMAZING people who have cut our costs by at least half by donating their time and offering discounts, we have still spent close to $500 on his recovery thus far. This is only for his vet visits, surgery, medications, vaccinations, food (since he’s on a special diet) and rehabilitation. This does not cover what we bought to do his rehab at home, litter (we don’t use clay litter in our house so it really does add up), lost wages from taking off work to take him places, etc. We are trying to be very reasonable in what we are asking help with. You can view the gallery to see proof of most of his bills (we misplaced the latest rehab bill) so you know you can trust that we’re not making this up. Also, you can see some of the bills have costs for animals other than O’Malley but we have not included this in our calculations. For instance, there is a bill of $50 for two combo tests, one for O’Malley and one for another foster cat, Jacob. We only counted $25 towards our total. O’Malley will also need to go in about a month from now to be neutered, get his FVRCP booster, and get new X-rays taken. Our wonderful vet, Dr. Jill, quoted us at $120 for everything which is an awesome deal! We would also like to take him in to rehab at least a few more times, which will cost $28.75 for each visit from now on.

So the breakdown of our costs is this: So far we have spent $485. Adding in his vet bill of $120 next month brings us to $605. We would like to take him in for rehab at least 3 more times (he has an appointment scheduled for next week Tuesday already) which would come to $86.25 for a grand total of $691.25. So for all of this, we have set a goal of raising $700 to help us with O’Malley’s recovery. I think this is awesome considering his surgery alone was quoted at $750 to $1500 by other veterinarians! Can you believe how little it cost to CHANGE this boy’s life, to SAVE it? it gives me goosebumps thinking of how so many people are coming together to help him. O’Malley thanks each and every one of you!

Donate by clicking on the widget, or go straight to O’Malley’s ChipIn page.

Need an Incentive?

So as if changing this amazing, handsome’s cat’s life for the better isn’t enough, we have some fun incentives for donating as well. When we reach half of our goal, $350, we will release a funny home video of the crazy things pet parents sometimes have to do at 1:00 in the morning. If we reach our full goal of $700 then we will release an embarrassing video of me singing to and dancing at the kids. Sound fun? Good! Thank you for all of your continued support!

O’Malley Surgery Update

You are reading the third chapter of O’Malley’s story.
Read the First Chapter
Read the Second Chapter
Read the Fourth Chapter
Read the Fifth Chapter
Read the Sixth Chapter
To Be Continued…

Hey everyone! Once again I apologize for such long intervals between posts about O’Malley. We have been super busy lately with me getting increased hours at work, going to dog events, helping at a fundraiser for Central Texas Feline Rescue, and being stuck with only one car for over a week. It’s always crazy around here but lately it’s been even more so.

Anyway, on to what you really care about: O’Malley! So O’Malley had his surgery last Tuesday, a week ago. We took him in early (along with Spunky to get another CBC which came out normal this time – yay!) and talked to the vet for a bit about how he’d been doing at home. We then left him and went to work. We were told we could call at 1:00 to find out how his surgery went. Now, anyone who knows me knows that that meant I was counting down the minutes until I could find out, waiting and worrying and just wanting it to all be over with. 12:45 comes around and I get a call from the vet. With them, no news is good news so I was frightened that they were calling but it turns out that the surgery hadn’t even begun. See, when Dr. Jill did two new pre-surgery X-rays, she say that the crack in his pelvis wasn’t healing like she thought it would. She was worried that he would have to have a plate put in and that bigger surgery would be what we needed to take care of right away versus just the FHO. So she put in a call to an animal orthopedic surgeon to ask about it. I was told that he may have to go out to another vet to have the surgery done now. Obviously we hoped he wouldn’t have to because we know and trust our vet and she knows how important O’Malley is to us even though he’s not “ours”. Luckily, after a consult, she was told to go ahead and do the FHO. Since the break in his pelvis is behind his hip, it isn’t weight bearing, so it should still be able to heal, it will just take awhile. Anyway, his surgery went great but since his operation happened so late in the day by that point, he had to stay overnight.

The next day when I picked him up, Dr. Jill showed me both his X-rays. She showed me the break she had been worried about and for the first time I got to see just how out of place his femur had been. She told me that she hadn’t neutered him like we’d planned because she said even though it’s such a minor surgery, she didn’t want to have to put him through one more thing. She told me that he was really going to hurt from this surgery just due to the nature of it. After all, she had to cut through his muscle, cut off his femoral head on that leg and suture it into muscle in the socket. She also gave me 5 days worth of pain medication (Buprenorphine) which she said was “hard to get and expensive” but that he needed it. Seriously, the stuff came with warning that say “Keep out of reach of children” and “Controlled substance, dangerous unless used as directed”. Poor boy. He was also put on a week’s worth of antibiotics (Clavamox) again which he finished last night. She also gave me a sheet of FHO aftercare. After all my briefing, she went and got him. He was laying in his kennel with no top because she didn’t want to squish him into it and she said he probably wouldn’t move if I just kept him like that. Ha! Dr. Jill doesn’t know how stubborn this cat is! He laid there quietly in the vet’s office but once we were in the car he was standing up and trying to move around so I put the top on. When I got home I tried so hard to move him into his cage without hurting him but he growled and hissed from the pain. Finally that crazy boy just stood up and walked into the cage himself! Same old O’Malley!

Since then his wounds have been healing fine. His hip looks a little funky and bulbous. I don’t know if it’ll stay like that or it’s still swollen. We’re supposed to be doing exercises with him as of 2 days ago. He’s supposed to be walking and standing, which he is, but I’m not sure it’s enough. It’s been a bit of a rush. I knew he would need therapy but I thought after like 2 weeks or more, not starting around day 5! Anyway, I called Dr. Jill today and she recommended another vet here in Austin who is certified in veterinary chiropractics and acupuncture. We also met another woman at a dog event we attended this weekend who has a whole Canine & Feline Rehabilitation & Conditioning Center. She’s apparently very well known in her field and has published scientific articles on the matter. She told us we could come in for even just one meeting where she could teach us some exercises. I wish he could be on a full therapy program but of course, sadly, it all comes down to money. I’m hoping one of them at least will give us a deal since he’s a rescue. I just want what’s best for him and know at the moment we’re lacking in the rehabilitation department. I’ll be calling both places tomorrow to see what can happen.

Thank you so much for everyone who continues to care about and ask about O’Malley’s recovery. We’ve still got a long road ahead but I’m hopeful that we’ll come out very successful in the end. We’re doing what we can and O’Malley’s such a fighter that I know his life will be amazing even if he walks a bit funny from now on. It’ll just give him even more personality! Haha. Anyway, I’ll try to take and post pictures of his X-rays soon and when he goes in to be neutered in around 2 months, it’ll be a good opportunity to get another X-ray to see how the healing of both his FHO and pelvis are coming along. I bet it’ll all look great! Also, some of you have been asking and, yes, we will be trying to raise some donations to help pay for this. Even though our vet is amazing and gave us HUGE discounts on everything, it’s still adding up. Thank you to everyone for your support. I know all that loving energy is helping O’Malley recover!