Mange in dogs: How bad can it get?

Normal, Weekender

The National, Friday 7th September, 2012

MITES in dogs are medically referred to as mange. However, dog owners more commonly call mange, canine scabies.
Mange is a type of skin disease caused by small, microscopic mites that invade the dog’s body. These parasites can cause several types of health concerns for your pets, characterised by severe itching and eventual hair loss.
Mites normally attack in large numbers. They also reproduce massively on the surface of the dog’s skin. They feed on the nutrients of their host’s body and that is the reason for skin outbreaks. Oftentimes, the disease will manifest on the lower limbs, lips, and eyes.
There are different types of mange. Sarcoptic mange, demodectic mange, and cheyletiella mange are the most common types of mange.
Certain breeds of dogs are prone to a particular type of mange. Sarcoptic mites are the smallest, while the cheyletiella mites are the largest species. Sarcoptic mites are invisible to the naked eye while cheyletiella mites can be seen walking on the dog’s skin.
Mange may be localised or generalised. Localised mange occurs on certain parts of the dog’s body. The parts most prone to the parasites are the feet, ears, and the face.
On the other hand, generalised mange means that the whole body of the dog is already affected. This is the most severe type of mange infection and treating such a disease doesn’t always promise good results.
Some types of mange are not contagious for humans, although most of them are. Humans can get infected through direct contact. Fortunately, the mites that cause mange in dogs can’t reproduce on human skin as abundantly as they do on a dog’s skin.
When mange has successfully transferred to human skin, itching and irritation would occur. However, it will heal eventually, after all the mites have died. Even so, humans should be well aware that their pets are suffering intense pain and discomfort when are infected with mites.
The proper treatment of mange starts with the vet determining what type of mange has infected your pet. Only then they can prescribe the proper type of medication.
Treat mange the moment it is detected on your pet. Ignoring it may only worsen the situation.
Keep in mind that treating generalised mange is not always successful. It may kill your pet, especially if the medications are used too late in the infection.
The key to a mange-free pet is to keep it healthy and hygienic. Pets that are always pampered and are kept in a clean community are not susceptible to mites and other skin diseases. It also pays to visit the veterinarian regularly.
Let the experts monitor the health of your dog to help prevent similar harmful and contagious diseases.

The RSPCA PNG has two professional vets and offers a wide range of services.
If you find any of these symptoms or issues with your dogs, it is advisable that you contact the RSPCA PNG on the following lines for assistance Ph: 325 2363 or email: [email protected] . Do not wait! Pick up that phone and call now!
The writer is the Administrator for the RSPCA in PNG.