Demodectic Mange: What Is It?

Is your young dog or puppy itching and gnawing on itself constantly? How about developing bald and red, scabby spots? If you answered yes to both questions. it’s possible that your dog may have Demodectic Mange. While sometimes uncomfortable for your pet, the good thing is that this type of mange is not contagious and as the most common form of mange in dogs, treatment is generally successful.

What is Demodectic Mange?

Mange is a parasitic skin disease caused by microscopic mites. Demodectic Mange is caused by microscopic mites, Demodex canis, that live in the hair follicles of dogs. This form of mange is also referred to as “demdex” and “red mange.”

What causes Demodectic Mange?

Demodectic Mange can begin to develop if a dog’s immune system is weak or compromised. All dogs naturally have these mites on their hair follicles, but a healthy immune system helps to keep them at bay. Mange occurs primarily in dogs less than 12 to 18 months of age due to their immature immune systems, however adult dogs with compromised immune systems from preexisting medical conditions are also susceptible to developing Demodectic Mange. 

How is Demodectic Mange diagnosed?

In order to diagnose your dog with Demodectic Mange, your veterinarian must take skin scrapings and examine them under a microscope. If the scrapings show a larger than normal amount of Demodex canis mites, your vet can confirm the diagnosis. 

How is Demodectic Mange treated?

Treatment is not necessary or recommended for localized demodecosis. 

Generalized demodecosis is treated with isoxazoline flea products such as Bravecto, Nexgard, Credelio, and Simparica. These are oral medications labeled to kill fleas and ticks in dogs and have substantial activity against mites.

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