Harlequin Haven Great Dane Rescue

Harlequin Haven
Great Dane Rescue

11567 St. Rt. 774
Bethel, Ohio 45106

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Sarcoptic Mange

There are two different manges that affect dogs. They are sarcoptic mange or scabies, and demodectic mange, often known as demodex.  Both diseases are caused by mites, tiny eight legged organisms that burrow into and live in the layers of the skin.

Sarcoptic mange is also known as scabies, its common name for the infestation in humans to whom it is transmissible from dogs.  Transfer of the condition is by direct contact between animals. The earliest signs of infection are areas of redness and itchiness on the muzzle, face, the inner surfaces of the lower legs. These areas are seldom those that fleas attack first, so the condition should not confused with flea eczema.  The mites burrow under the skin and travel just beneath the surface causing intense itching. This itching causes the affected animal to damage his coat and skin. This allows a secondary bacterial infection, and sometimes more seriously a fungal infection, to occur. This causes much more skin damage and increases the difficulty of treatment and repair of the skin.  The condition is diagnosed accurately by the taking of skin scrapings from the edges of the affected areas. The presence of mites, their eggs and their nymphs is diagnostic. It may be necessary to take several scrapings to prove the diagnosis.

Treatment is washing in flea preparation at weekly intervals.
Secondary infections may need to have additional treatment. The immediate environment should also be sprayed with insecticides to kill any mites or nymphs that have fallen off the affected animal. The use of corticosteroids is contraindicated to control the itching, as the parasites may increase dramatically within the skin, causing further problems.
The disease after disappearing from urban and suburban regions for many years, because of the invasion of these areas by foxes, there is an increasing number of infestations, not always recognized as sarcoptic mange. Sometimes a correct diagnosis is not achieved until the owner has also become infected. In humans the commonest site of the infection is on the inside of the lower arms, where the intensely itchy red lines are almost self explanatory. 

Sarcoptic mange is a nuisance disease, it is easily diagnosed. It is easily treated, the biggest problem is growing a decent coat on the dog again. Once the condition is removed, new coat will immediately grow through where the areas were affected, but this will appear mottled against the coat that was undamaged, so that really the coat does not appear normal until the next major shedding.

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