Battling the Red Mange

Dermatology in dogs has attained great heights in both diagnosis and management during recent years. Demodicosis or Red Mange is one of the common skin problems in dogs from one month to eight years and in almost all breeds, most common in Pugs and German Shepherds. Here’s more on Red Mange.

How dogs get Mange…

Mange are cigar shaped mites, transmitted to the puppies on the 2nd to 5th day through milk. Normally all dogs do have mites, they flare up due to over growth when the immune status of your pet is down. They do not spread through contact. In some dogs, it runs in families, which means you should neuter these dogs.

Symptoms of Mange…

Localised Demodicosis causes minor local skin lesions whereas generalised Demodicosis affect majority of the body parts. These mites lead to loss of hair, reddening of skin (that’s why it’s called Red Mange) crusts, scabs, ulcers, itchiness, lethargy, fever. Sometimes the mites affect the legs causing pododermatitis.

Diagnosis of Mange…

Take your dog to your vet when you notice a hairloss that is unresolving for more than two weeks. Never self-medicate or apply steroid creams without a diagnosis.
If the lesions are suggestive of Mange, then your vet will take a deep scrapping from the skin lesion for demonstration in mineral oil – the live wriggling mites under a microscope. Demodex sp is the mite that lives in the hair roots and is responsible for such mangey skin. They are not visible to the naked eye.

Treatment of Mange…

Red Mange is 100 percent curable, but dogs with recurrent lesions should be checked for hormonal involvement too. Localised lesions sometimes resolve by themselves as the puppies grow or respond to Amitraz applications. (Take care that dogs don’t lick applications.) Generalised lesions may require Ivermectin or Milbemycin on dosages and time that depend upon the severity of lesions and your vet’s decision. Consult your vet regarding the neurological side effects in case of toxicities of Amitraz or Ivermectins.
If you follow your vet’s instructions on giving pills and applications methodically, your dog will get back to normal skin and coat.

(Dr GR Baranidharan, MVS is asst professor at ECCU, Madras Veterinary College and Internal Medicine Consultant at The Ark 24 Hours Veterinary Clinic, Chennai.)