If you are a pet owner, or have spent time around animals, you are probably somewhat familiar with the condition often called "mange". Although is is fairly common, it can have some dramatic and unnerving effects on a family's pet. Considering how common the condition is and how easily it is passed on, some basic information is in order.
This problem is usually defined as a moderate to severe infestation of the epidermis by a small parasite that is known as mites. These mites will burrow themselves deep into the animal's epidermis, eating the hair follicles and the oil glands of the animal. These parasite are very easily passed on by basic contact.
The symptoms of this issue are usually fairly obvious, and can even be unsettling if the victim is a cherished family pet. As the parasites begin their infestation, the skin of the animal will become very itchy, often leading to vigorous scratching that tends to leave small sores that have the potential to become infected. The sufferer will become stressed, often losing weight. The hair will often fall out, leaving unsightly bare patches in the animal's fur.
The cause of this is a microscopic bug commonly referred to as a demodex mite. Understand that these parasite are actually normal. However, there are conditions that allow the parasite to exceed normal, healthy levels. This happens frequently with young mammals, where an underdeveloped and immature immune system fails to fight off the problem. In mature animals, changes in hormones and the immune system can open a window for the parasite to flourish. This issue is easily passed on from animal to animal through basic physical contact.
Luckily, there are a few steps one can take to help prevent this troubling issue. Attempt to keep your pet away from stray animals as much as possible, as this is a prime candidate to pass on the parasite. This is especially important if the stray animals appear to have the condition. Other basic health measures, like adequate hygiene and a healthy diet, can keep the immune system operating properly and can help keep the mites from flourishing.
There are numerous treatment options. It is important, however, that a qualified veterinarian prescribe the appropriate method, as ideal treatment options will vary depending on the degree of severity. Often, the condition will recede naturally. If this is not the case, veterinarians often advise medical injections or various types of medicated dips.
The mite infestation of the epidermis known as the mange is an unfortunate issue for a pet to have to endure. It is often torturous and difficult to watch. However, if approached intelligently with proper guidance, the condition can usually be cured. Be sure and speak with a qualified vet, as mistreatment of the problem, or a lack of treatment all together, can have severe effects on the animal's health. It can even result in death.
Filed under: Dog Health