The Scourge of Mange: How To Fight Against This Plague
Your new puppy may get it. Your older dog or cat can get it. An attack of mange is caused by tiny insects. Here are the things you need to know to help your vet assist you in getting rid of mange.
The tiny insects that cause the skin infection known as mange are a type of mite insect. In dogs, they are called canine scabies. Mites can also affect birds, cats, and reptiles. The insects are hard to see with the naked eye. Sometimes it is possible to see them if they are crawling on the surface of the skin. They look like a tiny black or white dot. However, they usually burrow deep under the skin and can even tunnel under the skin. One female lays many eggs each day. This causes the problem to rapidly get out of control, especially if the immune system of the animal is compromised.
The Three Types of Mange
Female dogs can easily pass this type of demodectic mange to their puppies because of the close skin-to-skin contact. It shows up as small patches on the face, legs, or torso of the puppies. This type of infestation usually disappears by itself as soon as the puppy’s immune system gets stronger.
This type of mange is contagious and easily passes from one animal to another. It looks like little flecks of dandruff are moving around on the surface of the skin. While undergoing treatment an animal with this type of mange needs to be kept separate from other animals. All bedding used by the infected animal needs to be washed in hot water and dried in a hot dryer.
Sarcoptic mange is the most contagious form. The animal will suffer from severe itching. The constant scratching of the skin will lead to infections, causing a bad odor. Tiny red blisters will appear on the skin surface and significant hair loss occurs. Bedding needs to be cleaned frequently to prevent re-infestation and the animal needs to be bathed using a special mite-killing shampoo twice per week for up to four months.
The vet will take a skin scraping to determine the type of mange. Depending on the type, the doctor may suggest treatments by injections or tablets of drugs that kill the insects and/or bathing the animal in a strong pesticide solution. More than one treatment is necessary because both the adult insects need to be killed and then those that develop from the eggs as they hatch sometime later.
The efforts needed to get rid of these insects are substantial and may take quite some time. Mange that effect pets has a less serious effect on humans. Small red blisters will appear on human skin; however the eggs cannot hatch in human skin so these infestations on humans clear up within a couple of days without any need for treatment. To avoid this problem, it is recommended to wear latex gloves when bathing an animal that has mange and not allow any skin-to-skin contact between yourself and an infected animal.
Contact your vet at Hampton Park Vets (tel: 01722 416 245) the moment you notice this problem because it is easier to get rid of it before it starts to spread to other parts of your pet or to other pets.