(PET CARE) Have you noticed your dog itching more than usual? Has your pup developed hair loss in certain areas? These could be signs of mange, a skin disease caused by parasitic mites. Ciara Black is a Global Animal contributor from the Dog Help Network, a resource for dog health related websites. Read on for symptoms of canine mange, and how to treat it. — Global Animal
By Ciara Black
Mange can affect wild animals, domestic animals and sometimes even humans. There are a number of different types of mange, and depending on the severity, can lead to serious illness and death.
Canine mange comes from the French word mangier, which means “to eat.” Mites are the cause of mange, embedding themselves in skin or hair follicles causing skin lesions, itching and hair loss. Mange in dogs can often be misdiagnosed for an allergy or other skin reaction. However, not all itching means your dog has mange.
It is important to understand how your dog could have contracted mange and other symptoms to look for along with excessive itching. If you suspect your dog may have mange, you should take him to the veterinarian right away to avoid serious infestation and illness.
Symptoms of Mange in Dogs
Most times your dog’s symptoms will include hair loss, itching, irritation and scabs on the skin. More uncommon symptoms will include scale formations and hardening of the skin. Your dog may also suffer from a fever, lethargy and weight loss. If left untreated, the skin will eventually become leathery and brittle, and may break off in small pieces. Untreated mange can even lead to depression and aggression as well as other behavioral problems.
Mange is usually found on the ears, elbows, thighs, under the chest and on the face.
Mange is caused by a variety of mites. Mites are referred to as a parasite because they feed off their host. Most dogs contract mites from an infested area or from other infected animals. Mites can become very serious if left untreated, and certain types can easily get out of control if left alone for too long.
There is a significant difference between unclean, scruffy fur and fur that is plagued with mange. Unfortunately, mange usually does not cure itself, and it is important to treat it right away.
Treatment for Mange in Dogs
If you suspect your dog has mange, it is very important to contact your veterinarian immediately to begin a treatment plan specifically designed for your dog’s infection. Treating mange can be a difficult task, as missing one small dosage of medication or the incompletion of treatment may lead to re-infestation.
It is also important to note that any animal that comes in contact with an infected dog must also be treated for mange, even if no symptoms are present. Regular house cleaning and grooming can help prevent mange and help to control infestations. If you have an outdoor dog or frequently visit dog parks, be sure to check your dog for symptoms of mange regularly.
For more information about dog mange, a list of possible causes, symptoms to look out for as well as treatment options and home remedies to ease pain, inflammation and further infection, visit www.dogmangehelp.com.