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PetStuff Online Newsletter
Volume 1 Issue 7 September 24, 1999
by PetStuff Online Store
Produced by Dr Dan
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It Beams Out With Electronic Vitality and Pet Wellness Information!
Mange - You Can Get It"
is a non-descript term used to imply a condition caused by mites on or near the skin
surface. This week we will discuss "Sarcoptic Mange" which is caused by a
tiny burrowing mite called Sarcoptes scabiei variety canis in the dog (the "itch
mite") and Notoedres cati which is quite similar and the cause of head mange in the
cat. Dogs, hogs, cattle, horses, sheep, man, etc. all have their own
individual varieties of Sarcoptes mites which affect them; hence the names
Sarcoptes scabiei var. canis, Sarcoptes scabiei var. bovis, Sarcoptes scabiei var. suis,
Mange" the Disease
As will be described below in the
life cycle of Sarcoptes scabiei, these mites like to tunnel in the upper layers of the
skin. When they do so they cause the host to become sensitized and an intense inflammatory
reaction occurs. This results in an aggravating itch for the infested host. The
constant scratching results in hair loss and damage to the skin by
self-mutilation. Although the lesions start on the thinly haired areas such as the
ears, muzzle and around the eyes, if let go the condition can spread over the entire body.
Serum ( the clear component of blood) seeps out of the tunnels to the surface of the skin
and causes thick scabs to form. Secondary bacterial infection usually occurs causing
pus to accompany the scabs. "Not a pretty picture".
Diagnosis is accomplished by deep
skin scraping in 12 or more affected sites. The skin must be scraped in numerous
sites at the very edges of the advancing lesions. This is because the mites are usually at
the head of the tunnels beneath the skin. Occasionally, Sarcoptes mites can be very
difficult to retrieve and the animal is treated based on the characteristic lesions and
the response to therapy.
The life cycle
of Sarcoptes scabei mites
As can be seen in the image
below, Sarcoptes mites spend their entire life on or in the skin. The male and female
copulate on the skin surface and the male soon dies off. The female then burrows
into the upper layer of skin (stratum corneum) and begins forming a honey-comb of tunnels.
As she tunnels along eggs are laid that fill the tunnels. Adult mites feed on the
serum (clear component of blood) that oozes into the tunnels from the surrounding
irritated tissue. When the female mite completes her egg laying mission she dies at
the end of the tunnel. The eggs soon hatch to form larvae and then molt to become
nymphs. The larvae and nymphs also feed on serum and skin debris. When the nymph
makes a final molt to become an adult they return to the skin surface where they mate and
start the life-cycle over anew. Transmission from animal to animal is thought
to be through direct contact. Dog and cats in close contact with an infected
host are succeptible. Animals can also become infected from fomites e.g. infested pens and
blankets, combs, brushes, collars and any upholstered surfaces. Young and poorly
nourished animals are the most succeptible to infection.
How is Sarcoptic Mange
Sarcoptic mange is fairly easy to kill with dips (Amitraz), pour-on miticides
(alcohol based Ivomec), or oral products (Milbemycin - Interceptor). The condition also
may need to be treated with an antibiotic for the secondary bacterial infection and
corticosteroids to decrease the intense itch and inflammation.
Adult Sarcoptic mange mites can live for 21 days in the environment without
feeding. For that reason all brushes, combs, collars, bedding, carpeting and
upholstered surfaces must be sprayed with an insecticide. Household flea treatment
products effectively kill the adult mites. One or two thorough applications
generally destroys adults in the environment.
Can people get
Yes! Ever hear of the
"Seven Year Itch"? That's another term for Sarcoptic Mange in humans.
Like pets, humans have a particular variety of mites that can cause advanced
" Sarcoptic mange". This is totally separate variety from the ones that
cause "mange" in dogs and cats; however, if the variety of mange mite that
affects dogs and cats gets on a human it can cause a nasty red welt just like a mosquito
bite. Several of these bites can be rather troublesome. Since these
varieties are not well adapted to humans, they do not produce the extensive tunnels and
cause the advanced lesions and scabs over the skin surface. They just burrow in a
short distance and die. This causes inflammation and the resulting welt.
October 1st - Anal Sac Disease & Scooting
October 8th - Buggy Ears - Ear Mites
October 17th - Feline Leukemia Disease
Heartbeat & Pulse"
You cannot recognize
what is abnormal if you don't know what's normal to begin with...
The heartbeat of the dog or cat
can be felt at about the point where the left elbow touches the chest wall. To feel the
heartbeat, gently bend the left front leg back at the elbow until the elbow touches the
chest. Place your hand or a stethoscope over the chest at this spot to hear or palpate the
Feeling the Heartbeat
Probably more meaningful than
feeling the heartbeat, feeling the pulse can tell you if blood is being circulated
effectively. When feeling the pulse use your first and middle fingers with a light touch.
Practice makes perfect!
Femoral Pulse - Feeling
circulation in the femoral artery on the inside of the rear leg at the position of the
Feel Where the Leg Joins the Body at the Spot
Pedal Pulse - Front or Rear Paw
Remember to practice BEFORE an emergency
requires your skill!
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 Weekend
Later, Dr Dan