Demodex canus is a contagious skin disease caused by mites. These mites burrow through the skin causing severe irritation to your dog. Mange is highly contagious to other animals and humans.
Dr Anne Fawcett - Mange in Dogs
How does infection occur?
Demodex canus is thought to be passed from the mother to the pup because it requires very close contact. Many healthy dogs carry demodex but are asymptomatic meaning that they do not present symptoms of mange. It is suspected that in order for demodex infection to be established, there must be a genetic predisposition in the dog’s ability to control the mites meaning that some dogs will be more resistant than others. Immuno-suppressed patients are at greater risk of developing infection and spreading the mites.
What are the symptoms of mange?
It’s thought that some dogs are more resistant and can carry demodex and never show symptoms. Some dogs can also have a genetic predisposition that can affect their ability to control mites.
Dog Mange is commonly characterised by:
- Intense scratching
- Crust formation
- Hair loss
Lesions usually appear as patches of hair loss. The areas around the eyes, on the feet and forelegs are most commonly affected. These sites are often not itchy and whilst secondary infections can occur, they are not routinely seen.
Demodicosis is generally a disease of pups and juveniles. Where it occurs in adults, it is usually associated with internal disease.
What is our treatment process?
Diagnosis is confirmed by demonstration of the mites in skin scrapes. As the mite lives within the skin it cannot be seen on the surface.
Skin scraping for the mites involves:
- Squeezing the skin to force the mite closer to the surface and then the skin is scrapped.
- Three different areas of skin is collected.
- It is examined under a microscope for mites.
If the diagnosis of demodex mites is confirmed, our vets will work out an appropriate treatment plan. There are several options available and we will discuss with you which one we feel will work best for your pet.
Generally dogs remain on the treatment until they display two negative scrapes one month apart.