A skin disease that can affect any furry animal, mange has a few forms called follicular and sarcoptic mange. Both cases in the wild are caused by tiny bugs or mites that dig down beneath the skin, sweat glands or even hair follicles to cause the hair to fall out and irritate the surface.
Known as scabies, sarcoptic can cause serious irritation of the skin that needs a regular spray and dip with insecticides to kill the bugs. Sometimes a secondary infection is present due to the mites and has to have antibiotic treatment.
Also called acariasis, this is very contagious to other animals. The animals that are the most commonly affected are domestic cats and dogs as well as wild ones like livestock and wolves. However the most common cases are in dogs.
Canine or dog mange has two types called sarcoptic and demodectic. Red or demodectic occurs when there are too many mites and the body cannot fight off the effects of the bites. It is a severe case on its own. Sarcoptic is known also as scabies and is extremely contagious. This mite can attack humans and all other animals.
Symptoms or signs of mange includes a crust or itching on the skin that can later be infected. Patches of hair will fall out along with a crust around the ears and joints of the body that will spread to other areas are normally seen because of the biting and scratching.
Diagnosis is done by taking scrapings of dry skin from the body and looking at them microscopically for mite bugs. The diagnosis can be hard due to a dog biting the mites away from their skin, so they may not be present in the scrapings. General diagnosis is done based on the symptoms in most cases.
There are a few types of treatment available, and all are used at home. You must keep the affected animal away from its bedding and other animals until it is cleaned or thrown out and treatment has begun. A weekly rinse to kill the bugs called Sulfurated lime is commonly used and is easy to apply. Selamectin is prescribed in many cases and is put onto the skin in small drops that seems to work well. A medicine that is used but not approved for dogs is Ivermectin, and can be given by mouth for any time up to a month.
You should always try to see a vet before trying to treat your animal for this disease. Some medicines work well with certain species and breeds, while giving it to others can cause serious harm and no good can come of it.
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