Breeds Prone To Demodex Mange and the MDR1 Gene

Can my dog get Demodectic Mange?

You probably won’t like this answer, but yes, your dog could fall prey to the nasty parasites behind demodectic mange. No dog is immune to Demodex mites. Demodicosis is far more common than other type of canine mange. If you have a puppy, your pet is particularly susceptible. The majority of the dogs that develop demodectic mange are younger animals with immature immune systems. When it affects a puppy, demodectic mange is commonly known as puppy mange.

Demodectic Mange Predisposition – Which Breeds Get Demodex Mange?

While any dog can develop demodicosis, the condition is somewhat discriminatory meaning certain breeds have a higher tendency to develop the condition than others. The Afghan Hound, American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Boston Terrier, Boxer, Collie, Chihuahua, Dalmatian, Doberman Pinscher, English Bulldog, German Shepherd Dog, Great Dane, Old English Sheepdog, Pug and Shar-Pei tend to be more susceptible.

The MDR1 Gene — A Genetic Red Light!

Many herding breed dogs such as Collies, Shetland Sheepdogs, Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, and Old English Sheepdogs have a genetic predisposition to adverse drug reactions involving over a dozen different drugs.

These drug sensitivities result from a mutation in the multidrug resistance gene (MDR1 gene). The most serious adverse drug reactions involve several antiparasitic agents (ivermectin, milbemycin, moxidectin, doramectin and related drugs) that are the fallback solution used by most traditional vets.

Other troublesome drugs known to cause reactions include the antidiarrheal agent loperamide (Imodium), and several anticancer drugs (vincristine, doxorubicin, others).

Dogs with MDR1 mutations can suffer serious and sometimes fatal reactions to miticidal and antiparacitic treatments.

For any breed known to carry the MDR1 gene, your vet should test for it before beginning treatment with drugs and chemicals. Or better yet, avoid toxic substances, pesticides and harsh drugs altogether! Instead, use nature’s gifts to restore your dog back to health.

Signs of Demodex Mites

Most cases of demodectic mange usually are localized, which means that the patchy hair loss (alopecia) appears only in several limited or confined areas on the dog’s body. Sometimes, the disorder becomes multifocal, meaning that there are defined areas of patchy hair loss that show up on many different areas of the dog’s body. When demodectic mange becomes generalized, it is a much more serious medical condition .

Owners of dogs with demodectic mange may notice one or more of the following signs of this condition:

  • Patchy hair loss anywhere on the body, but most commonly localized areas are the head, face (lips, muzzle, around the eyes), neck, front legs and/or shoulders.
  • Generalized patches of hair loss in patches that coalesce or merge to form large areas of sores and draining tracts all over the dog’s body.
  • Scabbing, scaling, inflammation and crusting of the skin in one or many places
  • Skin infection (redness, rawness, presence of pus)
  • Plugged hair follicles
  • Itchiness (this can very widely; usually more common with generalized demodicosis than with the localized form)
  • Scratching at affected areas
  • Skin redness

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