A mangy dog is infected by parasites called mites that live in their fur. Mites cause patchy hair loss and scaly, reddened skin around the face or on the front legs of dogs. In more severe cases, mites can also infect their paws
Demodicosis, or infestation with Demodex canis mites, often affects young or malnourished and neglected dogs. Demodex mites are inhabitants of the hair follicle of all dogs and they are passed from the mother to her pups during nursing.
Most dogs develop immunity to Demodex mites infection and the mites remain in their hair follicles without causing any symptoms.
However, if a dog’s immune system is compromised, either by immune suppression or poor nutrition, these mites can multiply. Demodicosis causes symptoms like hair loss, thickening of the skin, and, in some cases, infection with other organisms like Staphylococcus bacteria or Malassezia yeast.
Sarcoptic mange, or scabies, is caused by Sarcoptic scabiei mites. Scabies is another type of mite infection that can affect dogs. It can also be transmitted to humans.
Sarcoptic mites burrow in the skin and cause hair loss, intense itching, and secondary skin infections. Scabies can be transmitted by an infected dog to other dogs within close proximity.
Other scabies symptoms include red, scaly skin that starts in areas with thin hair, like in the armpits and the groin. Diagnosis is confirmed when Sarcoptic mites are seen on a skin scrape. However, since these mites burrow so deep, skin scrapes from positive animals are rarely positive.
The best way to keep your dogs mange-free is by bathing and grooming them regularly. Regular brushing and baths remove scaly skin and scabs caused by the condition.
If your dog is already infested with mange mites, wash their bedding and other sleeping areas thoroughly to prevent infections.
Don't breed dogs with generalized chronic mange since the condition may be passed to their offspring.
For severe cases of dog mange, apply lime-sulfur dips to the affected areas to help relieve symptoms. You should also visit a vet regularly so your pet can undergo further skin scrapings called trichograms.
Always consult a vet for a proper diagnosis before using any natural treatment. Ensuring that your dog is healthy will also help prevent mange.