Demodectic mange (or demodex) is caused by microscopic mites that live and multiply in the hair follicles of the skin. It is not considered contagious but it sure can look like it would be. The disease is related to a slow developing, poorly developed, or compromised immune system. It is usually seen in dogs less than 18 months old. To test for demodex we scrape the skin until there is a small amount of blood and look at the scrapings under the microscope to look for the mites. The test really sounds worse than it actually is, it’s more irritating to the dog than it is painful. There are several different treatments available for demodectic mange and our doctors discuss the available treatments with the pet owner to find the best treatment for the individual pet and owner.
This is Muffin, she is a sweet and lovable 5 month old girl that was rescued by Houndhaven, a local rescue group. Muffin was diagnosed with demodex three weeks ago and immediately started treatment. Her case is obviously severe and she has a secondary skin infection, but Muffin is already responding to treatment and starting to look like a normal dog again.
Most cases are not this severe and some are very mild. Most dog owners will first notice the disease when there is only a small spot or spots of hairloss.
As you can see this is a disease that can look like there is no hope but with proper treatment it can start turning around very quickly. It sometimes requires several visits during treatment but as in the case of Muffin, simple treatment and a few doctor visits can save a dog’s life that otherwise probably would have been euthanized.
Muffin will be ready for adoption when she has been spayed, received all her vaccines and is fully recovered. If you are interested in Muffin or any of her fellow Houndhaven rescues you can find out more at houndhaven.org. Stay tuned to see what this sweet girl looks like when she is fully recovered.