Demodex mites are microscopic normal inhabitants of a dogs skin.
In a healthy animal, the mites are few and do not cause probelms.
In some cases though, through immune probelms the mites can take over,
leading to a condition commonly called "mange" or demodicosis.
Demodicosis can be localized - small patches affected,
large areas of the dog's face especially around the eyes, feet and body are affected.
Young dogs are vulnerable: Demodex mite infestations (demodicosis) are typically seen in
puppies and young dogs less than two years old.
This is due to the growing/immature immune systems of the young animals.
Many young dogs "outgrow" demodicosis on their own, without treatment.
This is because the immune system develops and gets stronger,
and keeps the Demodex mite population in control.
Some puppies need professional help to overcome the demodicosis.
Adult dogs: If an adult dog breaks out with demodicosis,
your vet professional will look for the reasons why the immune system may be weakened.
Possible reasons include: cancer, hormonal imbalances
(thyroid, Cushing's disease),
prolonged corticosteriod use, or immune system changes due to old age.
There is a hereditary component to demodicosis.
Affected dogs should not be bred.
Hair loss is the most common sign. In more severe or generalized cases,
the skin is patchy bald, infected, odorous and scaly.
The microscopic Demodex mite lives deep in hair follicles.
Diagnosis is confirmed with a skin scrape and
microscopic examination of Demodex mites.
An area of the skin is rubbed with a scalpel blade over the ridge
of skin to collect mites to look at under the microscope.
This doesn't hurt the animal.
Human Animals and Demodex Mites
Canine demodicosis not contagious to human animals.
The mites are species-specific.
This mite is passed mother-to-pup and possibly canine to canine,
but for dogs with healthy immune systems,
this doesn't seem to cause disease.
Treatment options vary widely based on the severity of the case.
For some cases, a medicated shampoo and "watch and wait" approach,
and for others, a insecticide is required to
control the mite population and antibiotics for the skin infection.
Dogs affected should be checked for other parasites
(skin, ears, intestinal), be on a healthy diet.
Dogs being treated for demodicosis should not be given corticosteroids.
Dogs with bacterial skin infections often need antibiotics.
Demodicosis is often a prolonged treatment lasting weeks or months
We have seen affected dogs given an injection of a pig wormer
under the skin which seemed to correct the probelm quickly,
but this should be discussed with your Veterinarian.
Two negative skin scrapings, one month apart confirm case resolution.
John A Sampson I
00 + 1 + 989-662-6230 International
"The Dog Training