Demodex mange mite in dogs
Demodex mites are a normal part of the fauna of the dogs’ skin that live within the hair follicle and are present in very small numbers in healthy dogs. Mites spread from mother to pup during the first few days of life whilst they are nursing. The mite lives in harmony with most dogs not causing any problems however on occasion we see them in high numbers. This usually occurs when the natural equilibrium has been upset, such as with an underlying genetic and/or immune dysfunction. There are specific breeds, where there is thought to be a hereditary component, such as the American Staffordshire terrier and Sharpei. Therefore in dogs that show generalised disease, breeding is not recommended. Demodex mange is not a contagious condition and therefore affected dogs do not need to be isolated.
When present in high numbers they cause an inflammatory parasitic disease and often have a secondary bacterial infection component. Typical signs of Demodex mange is hair loss, scabbing, scaling and redness of the affected skin which becomes itchier with secondary bacterial infections. Diagnosis is made by identifying the mite under the microscope from a skin scraping and/or hair pluck. However, in some cases they can be difficult to find and skin biopsies maybe required to make a diagnosis. In all cases of generalised Demodex manage treatment requires miticidal therapy, addressing any underlying systemic or immunosuppression and management of secondary bacterial infection.
If you've got any concerns with the health of your dog, especially in relation to their skin, book an appointment with The Pines Vet to find out if there are any serious underlying issues that can easily be treated.