What is Dog Mange?

black dog on a bridge

Dog mange is a skin condition that creates severe pain and itching for canines. Along with the discomfort, mange can also lead to scaling and scabbing that can become infected. The root cause of dog mange is the presence of mites that burrow into the skin and cause the body to attempt to expel the invaders and relieve the itching and general discomfort.

While mange is normally associated only with dogs, it is also possible for the condition to be passed on to other mammals as well. This is partly due to the fact that pus may drain from the exposed skin of a dog suffering with mange. Tiny mites may be found in the pus and be passed on to a new host. When this occurs, the mites burrow into the skin of the new host, leading to the loss of hair and reddish scales on the exposed skin.

brown dog laying by the window

Along with the loss of hair and the development of the red hue on the surface of the skin, dog mange also can cause the development of pimples in the infected area. Dry patches of skin may also develop, eventually becoming thicker in texture than the surrounding areas. The dog will also often develop scaling around the mouth, eyes, and the front legs as the condition continues to worsen.

The type of mite that has invaded the skin often determines the exact course of treatment for dog mange. Sarcopticthe mites are round shaped while demodectic mites are elongated and have an appearance that is somewhat like that of a cigar. In both cases, the mites move around under the surface of the skin and create an itching sensation that is almost unbearable for the host.

brown dog

In minor cases, dogs may be able to scratch and dislodge the mites before they become too settled into the skin. When this happens, the mange normally clears up in a few weeks. However, it is usually a good idea to take the animal to a veterinarian and initiate treatments immediately. Treatments may include the administration of medications to kill the mites from within the body or shampoos and body washes that treat the skin from the outside and eventually kill any mites still present.

One old home remedy for dog mange is to bathe the dog in motor oil. This is a dangerous practice, as the dog may ingest small amounts of oil from the skin or coat during the process of grooming the paws. Use only medicated shampoos recommended by the veterinarian, as these will not harm your pet, but will begin to heal the skin while still killing the mites.

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