Demodectic mange (also known as red mange, follicular mange, or puppy mange) is a skin disease, generally of young dogs, caused by the mite, Demodex canis. It may surprise you to know that demodectic mites of various species live on the bodies of virtually every adult dog and most human beings, without causing any harm or irritation. These small (0.25 mm) mites that look like microscopic alligators live inside of the hair follicles (i.e., the pore within the skin through which the hair shaft comes through), hence the name follicular mange.
Whether or not Demodex causes harm to a dog depends on the dog’s ability to keep the mite under control. Demodectic mange is not a disease of poorly kept or dirty kennels. It is generally a disease of young dogs that have inadequate or poorly developed immune systems or older dogs that are suffering from a suppressed immune system.
Our demodex rehabilitation program was created to bring foster canines suffering from demodectic mange together. Through this program, we are able to speed up the healing process by providing one-on-one care for our sick dogs. We have achieved great results through this program. Listed below are two of our recent success stories.
Most dogs can tolerate a small number of mites. However, a mite infestation can pose serious health problems for puppies.
Demodex mites live in the hair follicles of most dogs. Most dogs have a small number of mites. Usually, the mites are harmless and are not contagious to dogs, humans, or other species. However, in certain instances, based upon age, gender, genetic factors, and disorders of the immune system, the number of mites found can quickly skyrocket.
Typical signs of infestation with these mites can vary, but generally involves hair loss, redness of the affected area, and reoccurring bacterial skin infections.
There are two forms of the disease: juvenile onset (usually localized and self-limiting) and adult onset (usually generalized and much more serious).
In the generalized form, two or more feet can be involved, more than five areas of hair loss or redness exist, or the entire animal can be affected. Adult onset forms are more difficult to treat and may indicate something is interfering with or suppressing the immune system. Chronic drug use (for instance steroids), cancer chemotherapy drugs, and other diseases can all be underlying causes and lead to adult onset Demodex.