Oh Dear! Demodectic Mange!
A few days ago, I noticed some weird polka-dot type patches on Anuska’s front paw. She also seemed to be a bit itchy. As the vet needed to cut her nails anyway, I decided to ask him to take a look. He got out the ultraviolet lamp to inspect the areas and little bits of her skin lit up, which could point towards a fungal infection. He also took a scraping of her skin (which she loved, by the way, crazy dog!) and put it under the microscope. This confirmed she had demodex mites.
Demodex mites are normal inhabitants of dog skin, and don’t usually cause problems. In some cases, like on Anuska, the mites can get a bit overexcited and take over, leading to demodectic mange. Causes of this differ, but typically demodicosis is seen in dogs under 2 years old, who still have immature immune systems. We estimated Anuska’s age as “very young” when we got her so that makes her an adolescent now – around 10 months old, which is in line with the expected age range for mange.
The main symptoms of demodectic mange are hair loss, bald spots, scabbing and sores. Secondary bacterial infections can make this an itchy and uncomfortable disease. Demodectic mange can be localised, meaning only a few areas are affected, or generalised, where multiple areas of the body are affected.
An example of a dog with localised demodectic mange:
An example of a dog with generalised demodectic mange:
Thankfully I noticed it early on Anuska. The affected area is only small, and a topical solution needs to be applied to her affected patches twice a week. We will go back to the vet next Thursday to check how she is progressing. He also gave Anuska an injection to instantly relieve the itching and mentioned this would calm her down for 4 days – I asked if I could take some home..! 😉