When a dog or a cat is infected by mange, microscopic mites inhabit their coats causing itching, hair loss, hot spots, and infections. While we have addressed what causes mange, and what the symptoms of certain types of mange are, below are the prevention and treatment tactics to help your pooch stay parasite-free!
Mange, whether sarcoptic or demodectic can be difficult to prevent, especially if the pet may come into contact with an infected animal in the early stages. However, there are some practice steps which can be implemented. First of all, once you know your pet is infected, if it is sarcoptic mites, then be sure to separate them from other animals and humans in your house to limit the spread. Additionally, keep your dog’s coat cleaned and well-brushed. Matted fur can sometimes exacerbate the symptoms mange, and brushing helps avoid this. One of the most important methods of protection is to help fortify your pup’s immune system. Feed him a balanced diet, with a rotation of supplements, vitamins, raw food, canned food and dry foods to help his body resist any parasite.
As with lice, and other parasitic infestations, the first step after removing the ailing pooch from any other creatures, is to disinfect anything he came into contact with. This would include his bedding, blankets, toys, leashes, and collar, etc. There are also disinfectant sprays that can be spritzed over any couch cushions, as well as mite-ridding carpet cleaner for homes with carpets. Winning the battle against mange will require you to be thorough.
Regarding the medical treatments, a veterinarian may begin with prescribing oral anti parasitic medicine, as well as a special parasite-killing shampoo. However, these two options have not proven to be as successful as the scabicidal dips. Before the dip occurs, many vets suggest trimming the hair down around the most infected areas, so that the medicine can penetrate the whole coat effectively. The dips are usually comprised of ingredients such as lime-sulfer, milbemycin, selamectin, doramectin, and amitraz, etc. The frequency of dips may vary, but a dog could be scheduled to be dipped (submerged up to the neck) once a week, or up to multiple times for over a month until the symptoms subside. (Most vets see that the dogs go in for a dip at least two times before considering the results satisfactory.) The face and the ears of the animal must also be given attention to, since the mites can congregate in those areas as well.
Note: certain dips must not be administered to Chihuahua dogs, pregnant dogs, or puppies younger than 4 months old.
In the meantime, or during treatments, pet owners can also choose to help alleviate the itchiness by giving them antihistamines, or corticosteroids and antibiotics to curb any infection to limit the agitation. Even soothing ointments and rubs can help a dog who is suffering from acute itchiness in between treatments.