Dogs experience many of the same hair issues as us. They get dandruff when it is cold, they experience flaking as a result of stress, and they experiences diseases that have adverse affects to their hair. When we see dogs with rashes, loss of hair, or sore spots we often think of dog mange. While a veterinarian should always decide what exactly is causing the problem, continuing bald spots are often a result of mange. Dog mange comes in two types: Sarcoptic Mange or “Scabies and Demodectic Mange or Red Mange.
The first, Sarcoptic mange typically starts from the head, spreads to the ears, tail, and finally goes unto under the front legs. The skin may have red spots and almost look like burns are present. This type of mange can often be treated with shampoos and medication.
Now we move on to the second type, demodectic mange. This type is typically a result of mites and is often found in puppies. The mites attack below the hair follicles causing rashes and hair loss. If left untreated this mange can become more serious and grow at a fast rate as the mites grow in number and start feeding off of the damaged skin pores. If left untreated a dog can be infected over his or her entire body. This is very painful for the dog and causes many side effects from the dog scratching so much. Also, mange also produces a very unpleasant odor, much like a musty smell.
Again we suggest going to a vet if you suspect a bad case of mange. There they can do get a good look at the skin (sometimes they will shave the dog slightly). They may also scrape a bit of skin off and have it tested. They may do this because scratching can lead to secondary skin issues such as bacterial infections.
The treatment for mange depends on the exact diagnosis. Common treatments include administering prescribed medications, using anti-fungal shampoos or dips, and perhaps applications of iodine.
Mange is a non-contagious disease and not life threatening unless untreated, allowing it to spread uncontrollably. This is not a life threatening diseases and can be easily cured if some precautions are properly taken. Keeping your dog clean will also go a long way at preventing skin related issues such as mange, rashes, and hot spots. Depending on the dogs life style (inside vs. outside, active vs. non-active) a dog should be bathed no more than once a week and no less than every other month. Always use a high quality shampoo with proper ph for dogs. Never use human shampoo on dogs as the ph is not designed for them and they will develop issues over time.
The good news is that dog’s have much stronger immune systems than humans do, and they can fight diseases better. However a poor diet will compromise their immune system leading to other issues such as mange – so please remember to provide your pet with proper nutrition. In concluding, if you see your dog is in pain from a skin issue, do something about it quickly before it becomes serious and expensive to cure.