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PetStuff Online Newsletter
Volume 1 Issue 6 September 17, 1999
by PetStuff Online Store
Produced by Dr Dan
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Mange - Demodectic Mange"
On the Internet
Bulletin Boards, I am constantly bombarded by questions relating to "Red Mange"
which is properly known as "Demodectic Mange". On doing a little research, I
discovered that this is the 6th ranking skin problem in dogs. The condition is caused by a
strange little cigar-shaped mite. Fortunately cats are not troubled by demodex mites so
"cat people" can relax. People, dogs, swine, sheep, goats, horses, cows and
possibly other animals all have individual species that inhabit the normal hair follicles
and oil glands in the skin. In other words, you have "critters" camping out in
your hair follicles right now as you read this Newsletter. In normal skin the immune
system of the host prevents the mites from reaching large numbers. They are always
being held in check. In young animals with developing immune systems or in old
debilitated animals the situation can get out of control. The mites are allowed to
proliferate and cause the skin disease often referred to as "Red Mange".
When the immune system is
compromised for any reason such as when a dog is a juvenile, short haired, malnourished or
in poor condition the mites can become numerous in hair follicles.
form" of the disease (75% of cases) usually occurs in pups 3 to 9 months of age. It
starts as scaly, rough areas on the skin with slight hair loss. It centers on the fore
quarters with lesions first on the head and neck and then on the forelimbs. The
early lesions resemble a "rug burn" hence the name "red mange".
Occasionally the skin can become hyperpigmented and turn black - "black
"pustular form" (10 to 20% of cases) occurs as the condition advances.
Opportunistic bacterea such as Staphlococcus or Streptococcus species colonize the
affected areas and the condition spreads over large portions of the body. At this stage of
the disease, the skin becomes greasy, red, swollen and scabby and has a characteristic
"mousy odor". Itchiness from the secondary bacterial infection occurs. The poor
dog appears "mangy and ugly. Lymph nodes enlarge due to the systemic spread of the
mites and bacteria. From there, the mites and bacteria can enter the blood stream and
affect other organs. If allowed to progress, the condition may become fatal due to the
Diagnosis is accomplished by deep
skin scraping in several affected sites. The skin is pinched up to squeeze mites out
of the hair follicles, mineral oil is then applied and the skin is scraped down until
lightly bleeding. The material scraped up is placed on a microscope slide and is examined
for the presence of mites. If large numbers of Demodex mites are present and the dog
has the signs listed above a diagnosis is made. If no mites are found and the signs are
present then another scraping needs to be done since the mites are often difficult to find
if the skin is thickened and severely irritated. Sometimes a skin biopsy must be taken to
find the mites.
The life cycle
of Demodex Mites
As can be seen in the image
below, Demodex mites complete their entire life-cycle in the hair follicles or on the
surface of the skin. It is thought that they are transmitted to puppies by direct contact
with an infected dam. Eggs are laid >> they hatch to larva >> larva molt to
become nymphs >> nymphs molt to become adults.
How is Demodectic Mange
Treatment is often unrewarding -
at best it is only about 70% successful. This is because if a hereditary condition
or other systemic illness continues to depress the immune system the mites can never be
erradicated. Many times, young animals must be treated four to six times until the
immune system develops with age. Often, entire litters are infected. These dams
should not be bred as the condition is heritable.
involves clipping the hair from the affected areas and then shampooing the skin with a
good quality degreasing shampoo. The skin is then rinsed with clear water and towel dried.
A dip solution containing amitraz (Tactik or Mitoban®) is then sponged over
the entire dog and allowed to air dry. A word of caution: Amitraz can be toxic so
protective gloves, eye and face protection should be worn by the person applying the dip.
This process is repeated every two weeks until skin scrapings reveal all dead
mites. This may take from 4 to 8 treatments. If bacterial infections are
present, appropriate antibiotics are also administered. It is very important to not stop
treatment too soon. We suggest that the dips be continued on two separate occasions two
weeks apart AFTER skin scrapings reveal all dead mites. This ensures a complete kill of
all stages of the demodex mite (egg-larva-nymph-adult).
include oral Ivomec® which is an injectible cattle wormer. In mild cases this may
be curative in itself or may be included in combination with amitraz dips to improve
unresponsive to amitraz or amitraz/Ivomec® treatments, milbemycin oxime has been used
with success. This is an expensive medication but very effective.
Treatment is expensive
In my own clinical experience, we
have been quite successful in curing our affected patients. Since amitraz is toxic
we do not dispense the product. We do all the dips "in hospital" after
retreiving a skin scraping. All we can do is continue with the scrapings and dips
every two weeks until we get scrapings that contain all dead mites. We dip two more times
after scrapings are negative. This can run into quite a bit of expense for owners.
What happens if the condition reoccurs 6 weeks later? We get screamed at and
we go on with the dips until the condition is once again under control. We have seen it
reoccur 3 times. The client hated us! But... Today he has his dog
and wouldn't give the world for him. To treat Demodectic mange you have to be
prepared to "go for broke" and often times it can take you very close to it.
We hope breeders who produce puppies with this condition take note and stop
breeding these animals. It can be heartbreaking if you discover your new puppy has
the "Red Mange".
Can people get
Yes, but not from dogs.
Demodex mites are host specific.
Last Words About
Treat for four weeks AFTER skin
scrapings reveal all dead mites. Expect reoccurances. Don't breed dogs that have had
Demodectic Mange as puppies - you are passing this trait on to other unsuspecting owners.
The disease usually is curable if you remain patient.
September 24th - Sarcoptic Mange - You can get it!
October 1st - Anal Sac Disease & Scooting
October 8th - Buggy Ears - Ear Mites
Humor in Closing
for Newsletter Editors"
I am so horrible at the
mechanics of using the English language, someone felt sorry for me and sent me this
article. I thought it was funny and actually quite helpful. Thanks Kim...
1. Verbs HAS to agree with their subjects.
2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
3. And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.
4. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
5. Avoid cliches like the plague. (They're old hat)
6. Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.
7. Be more or less specific.
8. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.
9. Also too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
10. No sentence fragments.
11. Contractions aren't necessary and shouldn't be used.
12. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
13. Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it's
14. One should NEVER generalize.
15. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.
16. Don't use no double negatives.
17. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
18. One-word sentences? Eliminate.
19. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
20. The passive voice is to be ignored.
21. Eliminate commas, that are, not necessary. Parenthetical words
should be enclosed in commas.
22. Never use a big word when a diminutive one would suffice.
23. Kill all exclamation points!!!
24. Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.
25.Understatement is always the absolute best way to put forth earth
26. Use the apostrophe in it's proper place and omit it when its not
27. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "I hate
quotations.Tell me what you know."
28. If you've heard it once, you've heard it a thousand times: Resist
hyperbole; not one writer in a million can use it correctly.
29. Puns are for children, not groan readers.
30. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
31. Even IF a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
32. Who needs rhetorical questions?
33. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
Images used in this publication taken from Hill's Atlas of
Clinical Anatomy, Published by Veterinary Medicine Publishing Company, Inc. A
publication donated to veterinarians by the Hill's Pet Food Company to teach clients about
their dogs and cats in sickness and in health. Hill's Pet Food Company
produces Hill's Prescription Diets and Science Diet Premium Pet Food.
Have A Nice Week
Later, Dr Dan