Does your dog have a dermatitis problem? Does the severe itching causes the dog to scratch incessantly until the body is riddled with bald patches of inflamed and reddened skin? Skin diseases are common health concerns of dogs. Generally, these skin conditions are caused by parasites. The mites that infest the dog may be the cause of the skin infection known as sarcoptic mange. This canine skin disease is very similar to Scabies, a common human skin disease. Sarcoptic mange is characterized by immense itching. If you’ve had scabies, you would know what kind of discomfort the pet suffers from. Because you love the pet you would do everything you can to treat the dog’s skin disease and to totally eliminate the mites to prevent the recurrence of infestation.
Sarcoptic mange is caused by the parasite Sarcoptes Scabei which is more commonly known as mange mite, itch mite or scab mite. These eight legged microscopic parasites can infest all breeds and all ages of dogs. Other animals like cats, ferrets and foxes are affected as well but the infestation is more prevalent in dogs. This skin condition causes immense discomfort but it is not really life threatening. Sarcoptes Scabei is a spider-like parasite that burrows in the dog’s skin and lays eggs. An adult and mated female will select a less covered hair on the dog’s skin; use the suckers on the legs to cling to the skin surface and make burrows underneath the top layer of the skin using the jaws and the cutters on the legs. The burrow that often takes a zigzagging line can be as long as 2 to 3 cm. The female will then lay 2 to 3 eggs daily for two months. The female mite dies after laying eggs. The eggs will hatch into larvae in 3 to 8 days and molt into the nymphal stage. The nymph will develop into adults that will climb out to the surface of the skin.
The movements of the mite on and underneath the skin will cause immense itching. The dog’s frantic scratching will cause significant hair fall on the affected area. These parasites prefer areas less covered with hair thus the abdomen, the ear flaps and the elbows are most affected. Soon, the infection will spread and the other parts of the dog’s body will be affected as well. At the start of the mite infestation, the dog only suffers from severe itch but as the infection progresses; the infected skin will be very painful. Moreover, the dogs would have an abhorrent smell.
Although non-life threatening, this skin disease will have a significant effect on the quality of life of the pet. The parasite can be transmitted not only to the other pets but to the members of the human family as well. Fortunately, sarcoptic mange is no longer hard to treat. Before new treatments were discovered for this skin disease and more effective anti-mite products were formulated, the hair of a dog with sarcoptic mange will be cut very short to allow dips and shampoos to be more effective. Presently, the treatments for sarcoptic mange are more effective, safer and more convenient to use. Ivermectin is the most common treatment for this skin disease. In two weeks, the dog’s sarcoptic mange will be cured. Anti-mange medications however, will not be effective in eliminating the skin disease-causing totally. The parasite must be removed from the environment as well to prevent re-infestation. Because of the mite’s tendency to burrow, it is highly probable that these pesky parasite can lurk in pillows, on the carpet and on the on the nooks and crannies of the house. Regular vacuuming and spraying will reduce the number of these parasites inside the house until they are totally eliminated.