Friday, July 6, 2012

Treatment of Demodectic Red Mange in Dogs

Discovering isolated lesions accompanied by hair loss and crusty red skin at any part of your dog’s body might suggest that your best friend may be suffering from “Red Mange” or demodectic mange. This is a particular skin disease caused by a particular mite called Demodex canis.

While we would like to give our pets the immediate relief from these horrible mites, it will be best to acquire definite knowledge on such disease and avoid unnecessary and expensive treatments.

To begin with, we need to “get to know” better with these mites. It is actually like an “inconvenient truth” upon knowing that Demodex canis are normal microscopic creatures that thrive in our dog’s skin - living particularly deep in the hair follicles where they could find their staple food such as the dietary yeasts, systemic yeast and sugar in the system. Demodex canis are loyal inhabitants of our dogs - spending their entire life cycle which would take 20-35 days from being an egg to its adult stage.

And so, it is actually normal to say that demodex exist in almost all dogs. Common misunderstanding about these mites is the idea that it is genetically inherited. This is actually a false accusation on such mites. Inheritance comes-in in such a way that these mites are being passed on from mother-to-pup or from dog-to-dog mode.

If these tiny creatures live harmoniously with our dogs, what is it then with demodicosis or red mange or demodectic mange? Demodicosis comes into the picture when there is over infestation of Demodex canis. The truth behind this condition lies on the status of our dog’s immune system. Demodex mites misbehaves when our dog’s immune system is down, giving them the freedom to reproduce uncontrollably which in turn cause an allergic reaction in our dog’s skin.

Given that all dogs have demodex canis in them, healthy dogs do not exhibit skin condition problems caused by these mites compared with those that are sick or have weak immune system. Puppies that still undergo development for full maturity of their immune system are more susceptible with demodicosis (one of the main reasons why breeding dogs below 12-18 months old is avoided). Dogs that were diagnosed with demodicosis are also advised to avoid breeding to set-back transmission.

There are two types of demodectic mange or red mange. The “localized” appears usually on the face as small, scally patches. The “generalized” suggests an over-all infection of the dog’s body (face, feet and body) appearing patchy and scaly skin. Secondary complications arise from this situation such as bacterial infection characterized by itchy and smelly skin infection.

Treatment of demodectic mange varies widely according to the level of severity of the case. To mention some, we have the medicated shampoo for “localized cases”. Some uses Goodwinol ointment that contains an insecticide called rotenone which has high percentage of causing skin irritation. “Generalized cases” treatment includes the benzoyl peroxide shampoo which primarily avoids and control secondary bacterial infections. Ivermectin is considered an option but cannot be used on Collies or Collie-crosses breeds. Amitraz on the otherhand is limited for 4 months older dogs and may have possible side effects. Choosing such drug-oriented treatments has at the same time varied limitations and risks on health considerations, taking it aside as expensive or costly.

Backing ourselves with the basics! Knowing that demodicosis mange is accompanied by the condition of our dog’s immune system, it would be best to avoid medications that could cause further complications in our pets. Treatment of such skin disease would require major considerations on the dog’s health status, diet and other concurrent illnesses (like bacterial skin infections, cancer, kidney problems and others). It is therefore wiser to set natural alternative ways of treatment than use drugs that may have toxic effects weakening our dog’s immune system.

Having the knowledge
on how these mighty tiny mites behave, we can actually control them from misbehaving by numerous natural counter-attacks. Using non-toxic all-natural shampoo alternatives, organic dietary supplements and of course a good needed rest (avoiding stress) to boost up our dog’s immune system are just a few worth mentioning.


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