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Demodectic Mange, also called "Red Mange," is a non-contagious skin disease that has been around as long as there have been dogs and veterinarians. It still is one of the most difficult medical conditions to manage successfully in some cases.
It is caused by a tiny parasite, which lives in the hair follicles and skin glands of the dog.
Puppies are infected with mites from contact with the skin of their mother while nursing. The mites are present in the skin of many healthy dogs and do not cause disease. It is thought that pets diagnosed with démodé tic mange are "immunodeficient&qout; unable to fight off the mites as a healthy dog would do. This allows large numbers of the mites to appear.
Demodex occurs almost exclusively in young dogs (3 months to l year of age). When the disease is seen in older animals, they usually have been afflicted since their youth.
Démodé tic mange is seen in two forms:
Localized mange is confined to a few small areas usually involving the face or front feet, and is relatively easy to treat.
Generalized mange is one of the most severe canine skin diseases, and treatment is not always successful!
The skin may become infected with bacteria eventually allowing the hair follicles to rupture expelling pus. The skin may become dry, crusty, brittle, and ooze serum, blood, or pus. A strong, offensive skin odor may be present due to the secondary bacterial infection.
A hereditary predisposition is suggested. Affected dogs should be spayed/neutered to prevent passing the disease on to their offspring. Even though all pups in the litter may not show signs of demodex, they still may be a carrier capable of passing on the disease to any offspring they produce.
Dogs should also be spayed to reduce the stress of the estrus (heat) cycle, which may cause acute flare ups of this disease.
Animals with small, local lesions of demodex usually recover well without recurrence. Diligent, time-consuming therapy is required for full recovery in the severe, generalized cases. Because a defect in the immune system plays a part in this disease, some dogs do not recover! If the skin infection spreads to other parts of the body, the dog may become systemically sick and even die. Severely affected animals that do recover seldom show signs of the disease again. However there are some dogs that require a periodic treatment for the rest of their life to keep the disease under control.
Your dog usually will look WORSE for 2-4 weeks after treatment is begun because of the hairs that are already affected when treatment is begun. Recovery takes a minimum of 6-12 weeks in most cases. Many cases fail to respond due to a lack of proper treatment by you the owner!
Recovery rate is approximately 85% with a 6-8 treatment procedure in less severe cases. An additional 6 treatments will increase the recovery rate to about 95%. 5% of affected dogs do NOT respond to treatment and will NOT recover. In more severe cases, there are other new suggested treatments which have not been officially approved by FDA for use. We will discuss these additional medications with you if we feel they should be considered in the treatment of your pet.
Be prepared to diligently treat your dog for 6-12 weeks minimum. A common cause of relapses is a failure to treat the pet long enough before medication is discontinued.
Démodé tic mange has been around about as long as dogs and is still very difficult to treat in some cases because of the suppressed immune system present in some of these pets. We are successful, however in most cases.
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