What is manage?
Mange is caused by an infestation of your dog's skin caused by tiny mites. Mange in dogs usually results in hair loss and itching. Not all mange conditions are the same. Individual species of mites can cause various issues to their victims' skin.
Types of mange that affect dogs
Two types of mange can affect dogs which are Demodectic and Sarcoptic.
Demodectic mange (also known as Demodex) behaves very differently with individual mites and lives in the dog’s hair follicles. It rarely spreads to other dogs. The only time it can be spread is if the mother has it and it's passed to the puppy via the muzzle in the puppy's first few days of life.
Dogs that have a healthy immune system rarely get a full-blown Demodex as their immune system can fight off the parasite very quickly and able to stop it dead in its tracks before it multiples. There are a small number of dogs that have weaker immune systems and their natural defences are not as strong and therefore the mites take over and spread over their skin causing the dog to develop lesions on their face, forearms and other parts of their bodies.
On some occasions, their skin can turn a grey/blue colour which is caused by thousands of blackheads all over their body.
Usually, cases of Demodex are fought off by the puppy's immune system. If the immune system isn't working properly, the disease can spiral out of control and cause significant hair loss, skin redding and severe fungal infections.
Sarcoptic mange is also referred to as ‘scabies’ which is caused by a very contagious mite (Sarcoptic scabies). This particular mite can spend its whole life nesting in the out layer of your dog's skin which causes extreme itching and then leading to sore, raw skin lesions around the ear flaps and elbows.
Unfortunately, scabies can be passed on from one dog to another. Normally the cross-contamination is via direct contact, infested bedding or grooming products that are contaminated.
Harvest mites are commonly picked up by dogs in more rural areas. This particular larval mite can also be picked up by cats and humans. The most common signs are very itchy paws or feet. This mite can also be seen by the naked eye as tiny red or bright orange dots between the toes or on their lower legs.
This mite isn't too serious but must be treated asap if diagnosed to prevent mutation and secondary infections by the dog scratching the infected area.
Cheyletiellosis mite is also known as dandruff and is the most common mite that can affect dogs. Again, this mite can spend its whole lifecycle buried on the dog's skin surface and can be passed onto other dogs.
This condition doesn’t cause itching, instead, the dog suffers from constant dandruff. Majority of cases can be seen in puppy farms where dogs have not been raised correctly and have often succumbed to poor breeding and living conditions.
Majority of dog breeds will have come across an infestation of ear mites (Otodectes cyanosis) at some point during their life. This disease affects dogs as well as cats. Ear mites cause otitis external, which can be seen via the naked eye. Treatment is relatively straightforward with topical ear drops and regular ear cleaning.
If your dog has ear mites and you also own a cat, you will need to mention this to the vets and get both animals treated as ear mites are very contagious.
How do you treat mites?
Firstly, you should consult your vet for an expert opinion on what disease your dog may or may not be suffering with. Normally, the dog will be prescribed a variety of anti-parasitic washes. Majority of diagnoses are done by the vet taking a sample of the dog's skin and looking at it under a microscope. There are lots of effective drugs, shampoos and spot-on that can work on treating the infestation.
The quicker you take your pet to the vets the quicker the infestation can be stopped and treated and cause less stress to your dog.