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.

Pet Dental Health Month and the VOHC Seal of Acceptance

Whew! Can you believe this month is already over? Wow! As some of you may have noticed, February was Pet Dental Health Month. We celebrated it at home by doing our Greenies Challenge. The results with our dogs teeth have been amazing but you’re going to have to wait a few more days for us to visit the vet for their post-challenge evaluation and for me to make the video so make sure you come back and check that out!

Why You Should Care About Dental Health for Your Pet

Here at ILRA, we really love that there is a Pet Dental Health Month. It is so important to the overall health of our furry companions and yet so few pet parents know just how serious poor oral health can be. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), “it’s estimated that by the age of two, 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have some form of periodontal disease.” The problem with having poor dental health is that it affects the functioning of the rest of the body. Teeth can break, rot, even fall out. This makes eating difficult. Even more importantly, bacteria in the mouth can enter the bloodstream, especially if gingivitis is present, and this can affect the vital organs. “Periodontal infections have been linked to diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease and other life threatening disorders.” That is serious!

Of course, the most recommended way to prevent periodontal disease in pets is to brush their teeth. Even for the most dedicated pet parents, however, that can be difficult to pull off, especially weekly or even daily as needed. I can’t even imagine trying to brush the teeth of 3 dogs and 6 cats daily. It would take hours and not all animals are as accommodating and laid back as Spunky is. Luckily, there are a lot of foods and dental treats out there that are made to help reduce periodontal disease in dogs and cats.

VOHC

About the VOHC

But how are you as a consumer supposed to know what products really work? A good place to start is to look for products with the Veterinary Oral Health Council Seal of Acceptance. The VOHC is an organization founded in 1997 that “exists to recognize products that meet pre-set standards of plaque and calculus (tartar) retardation in dogs and cats.” In order to gain the seal on their products, companies must conduct trials and submit the results to the VOHC. The trials have to show a significant improvement in oral health versus non-use of the product and must use ingredients that have been proven safe for pets. There are various other rules and standards that must be met in order for the product to be approved. It’s a nice way to know that the product you are buying, if used as directed, will help reduce plaque and tartar in your dog or cat. For a list of products currently sporting the VOHC Seal of Acceptance, you can check out their ever growing product list here.

If you only take one thing from this post I hope it is this: oral health is just as important in our pets as it is for us. Hopefully what you learned during this month will encourage you to continue these practices over the rest of the year. I know that after the great strides we’ve seen in our dogs’ oral health this month, we will continue to use dental treats (like Greenies, which boast the VOHC Seal) so our boys will lead healthier, happier lives!

An Added Bonus!

Want to know something really cool? Because we wrote this post about VOHC, Greenies is going to donate $25 to the AAHA Helping Pets Fund! How cool is that? You can do the same to help them even more but you have to hurry! You can also help donate $1 simply by tweeting about the #VOHC. Be sure to use the hashtag! To learn more, check out the Greenies Writer’s Pad.

Pet Parent Files: Colitis in Cats

If you can’t see the above video, click here to view it on YouTube.

Hey all! Sorry for the lack of content last week but we were super stressed with sick animals. I’m sure you can all relate. Anyway, we’re back this week with our newest Pet Parent File on colitis in cats. Our boy, Zane, had a bout with this back in June and we would like to share this experience with you since it was hard to find much information on what his symptoms could mean. We hope this helps you feel more informed should you experience the same problem. Please watch the video and then, if you’d like, you can look inside the cut to see litter box pictures to better understand what I’m talking about. Gross, yes, but I would much rather have you be informed than be frantically searching the internet at 2 in the morning and finding nothing.

Click here to see the Photos.

Remember, the point of our Pet Parent Files series is to help grow the base of knowledge pet parents have access to on how to properly care for their kids. So please, please comment and share any advice you have on the subject, ask any questions you have or even make your own video and post it as a response to ours!

Disclaimer: Pet Parent Files are meant to be anecdotal in nature and do not in any way serve as a diagnosis or professional opinion. Please always consult your vet when a pet is sick.

Pet Parent Files: Giving Liquid Dewormer to Dogs

Hey everyone! This week’s Pet Parent Files gives a few quick tips on how to give liquid dewormer, specifically Panacur, to dogs. Nothing fancy, but a nice how-to nonetheless. Please forgive the poor video and sound quality. This is an old video taken before we got our new camera. Also, that “rescue” in the background is our very own Snarf. Yeah, as if he would stay a foster for long. ^_^ We hope you enjoy and please comment with tips of your own!

Pet Parent Files: Baby Bird Advice

Hey all! This week’s Pet Parent File gives advice on what to do when you find a baby bird. What prompted this video was me finding a baby dove in the yard at a house I was petsitting at and not really knowing what to do. The video I posted on that day, which also has some tips on setting up a new nest for baby birds, can be found below. I hope you enjoy them both! Also, if you have more advice to add, please comment below or, better yet, make your own video & upload it as a response to ours then tell us where to find it! Let’s grow our knowledge base together!