“Help! My dog has mites. What did I do wrong?”
We hear it all the time. And actually it’s refreshing that people take their role as guardians of their pet’s wellbeing so seriously but in reality, there’s rarely any blame to pass around.
Mange is common among dogs, and some dog-savvy folks are aware of this. However, many animal lovers are blindsided when mites invade and their dog develops mange. They seem to believe that mange only happens to dirty or neglected dogs. This is simply not the case – mange can afflict the most pampered of pooches.
Mange can easily be compared to flea or tick problems.
No matter how well your dog is cared for, or how often it may see a vet, it can still contract ticks or fleas. They’re everywhere, they’re hungry, and they’re opportunistic parasites looking for an easy meal. Since microscopic mites cause mange, it too is the result of indiscriminate parasitic insects and can happen at any time.
Sarcoptic mites are easily transferred from animal to animal, through physical contact with other infected animals, areas, or items. The mites begin to burrow into your dog and breed, heavily populating the dog’s skin. This type of mite will quickly move through a household, infecting all four and two legged creatures. In people it is called scabies and in animals it’s called Sarcoptic mange. The problem is simply the result of a dog being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Demodex mites cause demodectic mange (also called Demodex).
Demodectic mange is essentially an autoimmune disorder. Every dog has a few naturally but when they get out of control they overrun the dog and cause mange. A healthy immune system allows a dog to keep the mites in check and stay healthy so when a dog develops mange, it’s a sign there’s of problems elsewhere. Puppies have a high risk because their immune systems don’t mature until they’re at least a year old but any dog with an immune system that’s been that’s been stressed is fair game to Demodex mites.
So many things in our world today —from diet to vaccinations to chemicals to stress —impact a dog’s immune function. Society’s less natural approach to life these days may be why demodectic mange is running rampant at near epidemic proportions.
The symptoms of mange can range from itching, loss of fur, obsessive biting, flaky, crusty or scabby skin, to odor, infection, bleeding, and prevalent growth of sores in affected areas in more advanced cases. Symptoms can vary in severity from nonexistent to driving a dog insane.
No owner would deliberately do anything to cause their pet such suffering and if something did occur to increase an animal’s risk, it’s because the owner just didn’t know. (However, vets should know better. Every day we hear about animals presenting with symptoms of mange being given vaccines or steroids, which should never happen.) It’s important to cut yourself some slack and know you’re doing the best you can. Keep the energy positive and focus on recovery.
Once mange is on the radar, there’s a lot you can do. Don’t panic. Remember that mange is common in dogs. Owners should take control of the situation and learn all they can about treating it and keeping it gone. There are few vets that will give the whole story or your options. They just deal with the mites, which is the immediate pressing problem. Treatment varies greatly, from uncomfortable chemical dips and risky toxic pesticides to more comforting (and safe) natural remedies that are just as effective, and much less painful alternatives to chemical treatments.
Treating Sarcoptic mange is the most straightforward protocol. It’s a matter of treating the dog, or dogs, with Mite Avenge®. Getting rid of the mites is pretty easy as long as you treat weekly for 3-4 weeks. The first treatment will generally make your pet a lot more comfortable and the remaining treatments clear stragglers and take care of the eggs that continue to hatch. The live must also be removed from the dog’s daily environment through cleaning and laundering. More in-depth details are included in the instruction booklet that comes with your Mite Avenge.
Lastly, you must ensure the dog does not pick them up again by identifying the source and treating it or by denying your dog access to the source. The key is to avoid reinfestation! Reinfestation is the biggest threat to long term Sarcoptic mite extermination.
Demodex mites are another story. That’s because the Demodectic mange they cause is simply an overpopulation of mites that is actually a serious symptom of a deeper issue. These mites have a different culture than Sarcoptic which makes killing them more difficult and takes longer. Mite Avenge®, Benzoyl Peroxide shampoo and vigilant patience do a great job of that. But keeping them gone depends on overcoming the immune system problem and restoring the damage done to it. With puppies it’s often a matter of continuing to pump it up until their own immune system matures between 18-36 months of age.
It’s a shame that you have to educate yourself on really how to safely treat the mites and make sure they don’t come back. Precious few trusted advisors do that and isn’t restoring the animal’s health the whole point? However we’re glad you found us and are so proactive in helping help your dog. Stepping away from mainstream veterinary mindset isn’t easy. That’s why we give away so much information. We encourage you to keep learning because the more you know, the more you can help your dog!