What is it? Cause Symptoms Diagnosis Treatment Prevention
What is it?
Mange is a parasitic, inflammatory skin disease caused by mites.
It affects dogs and, less often, cats. It is very common and widespread in Kolkata.
Reinfection is possible, but a strong immune system can help to stop it coming back.
Parasitic mites that cause mange in mammals embed themselves either in skin or hair follicles in the animal, depending upon their species.
There are two types of mange.
One is called Sarcoptic Mange, because it’s caused by the Sarcoptes species of mite. They burrow into skin.
The other is called Demodectic Mange, because it’s caused by the Demodex species of mite. They live in hair follicles.
Mange is highly contagious and is spread by contact with an affected animal.
- Hair loss
- Scratching and itching
- Rash on skin
- Crustiness on skin
Diagnosis is usually just visual, although it is possible to examine skin scrapings under a microscope to check for the presence of sarcoptic mites.
Treatment typically takes a two-pronged approach of medication and cleaning.
The most common medication is Ivermectin (brand name: Neomec). This should be available at every veterinary pharmacy. A pack of five Neomec tablets costs below Rs60, and a 10-tablet packet costs Rs100 (both prices in late 2016). Some vets prescribe a liver protector, such as Liv-52, together with Neomec; others don’t. See this article on Neomec.
Dosage 1 Ivermectin injection per week for four weeks (the injection costs about Rs30 in late 2016).
1 Ivermectin (Neomec) tablet per week for four weeks. The easiest way to give the tablet is either to crumble it into the dog’s food, or to hide it in a sandesh or similar treat. Remember to keep a record of the date you started treatment and the day of the week you give it.
In addition, use Amitraz bath. This is an insecticide. Dilute it in water (follow the instructions on the packet) and put it on the affected skin twice per week for 4 – 6 weeks. One vial of Amitraz costs about Rs50 (in late 2016).
Prognosis If left untreated, the dog will eventually die (from secondary infections). Otherwise, recovery is almost certain, but takes up to 6 – 8 months if the dog is fully affected.
In the home environment, dogs should be kept away from other pets and should not share bedding, blankets, etc.
That is not possible in the street environment, so keep a regular watch on your local street dogs for the first signs of mange so you can start treating it right away.
A strong immune system can help to avoid reinfection, so a continued balanced diet of nutritious food will help to keep mange at bay.
- IMPORTANT! Before you use Ivermectin/Neomec, please read this.