One of the most common canine ailments is a condition commonly known as mange. This disease can cause widespread hair loss and is the origin of the phrase “mangy mutt.” A dog that is suffering from mange can look absolutely pathetic due to the highly noticeable bald spots, but it is a disease that is easily treated as long as the pet owner has ready access a veterinarian.
What Causes Mange
Many mammals and other creatures have developed symbiotic relationships with microscopic mites and bacteria. These small creatures dispose of dead skin cells and hair follicles, and even help with the digestive process. Mange in dogs happens when the amount of natural mites found increases to an abnormal level. If left uncontrolled, the dog’s fur will fall out and the skin will become dry and flakey.
Spotting a Mange Infection
Animals can lose tufts of hair naturally when playing outdoors or scuffling with other animals. There are three common symptoms pet owners can look for when trying to perform a home diagnosis of mange versus normal hair loss:
Practically all dogs itch. It is a natural behavior and is nothing to be alarmed about until the itching becomes relentless. Itching in one spot only may indicate an insect bite or small wound, but itching all the time in many places is a good indicator of a mange infection.
2.Continued Hair Loss
As stated above, dogs can lose small tufts of hair during normal outdoor activities, but when a bald spot become bigger and merges with other bald areas, the cause almost always points to mange.
3.Red, scaly skin
Many owners can easily detect a bald spot and do not want to wait to see if it develops into a larger problem. Red, swollen, and scaly skin is not only irritating and uncomfortable to a dog, but is also a symptom of mange.
At-Home Mange Test
If a dog shows the above symptoms, a pet owner can perform one final test before taking the dog to the vet. The test is called the Pedal-Pinna reflex test, and it involves gently scratching the dog’s ear and observing the hind leg to see if moves to scratch at the ear. Since mange mites are also present in the ears, this test is 95 percent effective at diagnosing the disease.
There are two types of domestic mange and both can be treated with the help of a veterinarian. A vet can determine just what types of mites are causing the mange and prescribe the correct topical or oral medication to clear up the dog’s infection. Since mange is relatively common, treatment options are often affordable. Mange does not typically cure itself without veterinary intervention so it is important to seek professional help when it is suspected that a dog has an outbreak.
A Healthy Coat and Happy Dog
Most pet owners wish to provide the best home environment for their pets. This often includes providing medical attention when needed. A mange-ridden dog is uncomfortable and often its persistent itching can interfere with its appetite and overall health. Dogs that show signs of mange should be taken to the vet so that they can recover quickly and go back to being carefree furry companions.