Demodectic Mange in Dogs: Symptoms and Treatment


Demodectic mange (likewise known as red mange, follicular mange, or puppy mange) is a skin disease, usually of young dogs, brought on by the mite, Demodex canis. It might surprise you to know that demodectic mites of different species reside on the bodies of virtually every adult dog and most people, without causing any damage or irritation. These little (0.25 mm) mites that look like tiny alligators live within the hair follicles (i.e., the pore within the skin through which the hair shaft comes through), thus the name follicular mange. In humans, the termites generally are found in the skin, eyelids, and the creases of the nose.

Demodectic mange in dogs is related to a suppressed body immune system

Whether Demodex causes harm to a dog depends upon the dog’s capability to keep the mite under control. Demodectic mange is not a disease of poorly kept or filthy kennels. It is normally a disease of young dogs that have inadequate or improperly established body immune systems or older dogs that are suffering from a reduced immune system.

What is the life process of Demodex canis in dogs?

The demodectic mite invests its whole life on the dog. Eggs are laid by a pregnant female, hatch, and after that mature from larvae to nymphs to grownups. The life cycle is believed to take 20-35 days.

How is Demodex canis transmitted in dogs?

The mites are transferred directly from the mom to the young puppies within the first week of life. Transmission of the mites is by direct contact only. That is, the mother and pup need to be physically touching, as the parasite can not endure off of the animal. This is necessary since it indicates the kennel or bedding area does not become polluted and therefore the environment need not be treated. Lesions of demodectic mange, if present, normally appear first around the puppy’s head, as this is the area most in contact with the mother. Practically every mother carries and moves mites to her young puppies. The majority of puppies are unsusceptible to the mite’s effects and display no medical signs or lesions. A couple of are not immune and it is these pups that develop full-blown cases of mange.

What are the signs of demodectic mange in dogs?

Dogs that are sensitive to the demodectic termites may develop a few (less than 5) isolated sores (localized mange) or they may have generalized mange, where case, there are more than 5 lesions involving the entire body or area of the body. A lot of sores in either form develop after 4 months of age.

The lesions and signs of demodectic mange usually include loss of hair; crusty, red skin; and at times, an oily or moist look. The mites prefer to live in the hair follicles, so in many cases, loss of hair is the first kept in mind sign. Usually, hair loss begins around the muzzle, eyes, and other areas on the head. The lesions may or may not itch. In localized mange, a few circular crusty areas will be kept in mind, many regularly on the head and forelegs of young dogs 3-6 months of age. Most of these lesions will self recover as the young puppies end up being older and establish their own immunity. Consistent sores will need treatment that will be explained later. In cases in which the entire body is included (generalized mange), there will be areas of loss of hair over the entire coat, including the head, neck, abdominal area, legs, and feet. The skin along the head, side, and back will be crusty and frequently inflamed. It will typically crack and ooze a clear fluid. Hair will be scant, however the skin itself will frequently be oily to the touch. There is typically a secondary bacterial infection. Some animals can end up being quite ill and develop a fever, lose their cravings, and become lethargic. Patients with generalized demodectic mange need immediate energetic treatment.

How is demodectic mange identified in dogs?

As soon as Demodectic mange is believed in a dog, it can normally be confirmed by a skin scraping or biopsy, in which case, the termites can be seen with the help of a microscope. They are too small to be seen with the naked eye. The adults appear as small, alligator-like termites. Keep in mind that these termites are present in every dog, so on their own, they do not make up a medical diagnosis of mange. The mite should be combined with the sores for a medical diagnosis of mange to be made.

Older dogs detected with demodectic mange should be screened for particular other diseases such as Cushing’s disease, hypothyroidism, cancer, and heartworm disease. Nutritional history and any history of treatment with corticosteroids or other immune-suppressing drugs should be kept in mind.

How is demodectic mange dealt with in dogs?

The treatment of Demodectic mange is generally achieved with topical (on the skin) medications, though some oral medications are also used. Localized demodectic mange typically does not need to be treated, but will typically deal with as the puppy ages.

If a dog develops generalized demodectic mange, treament can be lengthy and expensive. Amitraz dips may be used every two weeks. Amitraz is an organophosphate, and is generally offered under the product name Mitaban. It is a prescription item and ought to be used with care. Humans need to constantly wear rubber gloves when applying it to the dog, and it needs to be applied in an area with sufficient ventilation. It is recommended that dogs be clipped short, so that the dip can make great contact with the skin. Prior to dipping, the dog must be bathed with a benzoyl peroxide shampoo to help remove oil and cellular debris.

Many dogs with generalized demodectic mange require between 6 and 14 dips provided at 2 week periods. After the first three or 4 dips, a skin scraping need to be carried out to determine if the mites have actually been gotten rid of. Dips need to continue for one month after ther have actually been no mites discovered on the skin scrapings taken after 2 successive treatments. Dogs should not be thought about “cured” until one year after their last treatment.

Some dogs develop sedation or nausea when dipped, and toy types in specific are delicate to amitraz. Half strength dips ought to be used on these delicate animals.

Some dogs may not respond to this treatment, and the frequency of the dips might have to be increased or extra treatments may need to be set up. Two other products, which though they are not licensed for the treatment of demodectic mange, are used by veterinary skin specialists and general practitioners with some excellent results. One of these is ivermectin, which is the active component in Heartgard, however, the concentration in Heartgard is not high enough to be efficient against Demodex. Larger daily doses of liquid ivermectin must be provided and ought to only be used under close veterinary supervision. Ivermectin ought to not be used in collies and similar types.

Another drug, Milbemycin oxime (Interceptor), has actually likewise been provided daily and been shown to be reliable on as much as 80% of the dogs that did not respond to Mitaban dips. Milbemycin oxime should be used with care in collies and pups under 21 weeks of age. Another drug, Moxidectin, has actually also been shown to have some effectiveness against Demodex.

Dogs that have generalized demodicosis typically have underlying skin infections, so antibiotics are frequently provided for the first numerous weeks of treatment. Due to the fact that Demodex flourishes on dogs with reduced immune systems, it is wise to check for underlying causes of immune system disease, particularly if the animal is older when he establishes mange.

Prognosis and influence on breeding

Demodectic mange is not an acquired condition, but the suppressed body immune system that permits the young puppy to be vulnerable to the mites can be. Keep in mind that all puppies get the mites from their mom, but just a couple of have inadequate body immune systems and establish the mange. This sensitivity can be passed genetically through generations. Individuals that have a history of demodectic mange, and their parents and siblings, should not be bred. Through cautious breeding, many cases of generalized demodicosis might be gotten rid of.

Can I get Demodex from my dog?

The different types of Demodex termites have the tendency to infest only one species of host animal, i.e., Demodex canis infests dogs, Demodex bovis infests cattle, and Demodex folliculorum infests humans.


In conclusion, a couple of essential points ought to be duplicated. The mites are moved from the mom to offspring in the first few days of life. The first sign of hair loss typically does not occur till after four months of age. Demodectic mange in dogs is generally curable or manageable with persistent treatment, except in uncommon cases with really immune reduced people. The immune system condition that allows for the development of demodectic mange can be an inherited condition, and breeding of these animals need to not happen.

Also read: Sarcoptic Mange in Dogs


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