Does your pet have a stubborn skin problem? Could it be Mange?

What is mange?

Mange or also often referred to in South Africa as brandsiekte is a stubborn skin condition that is caused by several different types of parasitic mites. These tiny mites embed themselves deeply into the hair and the skin of your furry friend. While mites can live naturally on dogs, they can cause skin problems if there is a large quantity of them. If your dog is constantly itching, scratching, and the skin is also inflamed, and you’ve ruled out fleas, allergies or eczema, you may have a mange problem on your hands. The two common types of mange are Sarcoptic mange and Demodetic mangewhich affects dogs.
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Is it Sarcoptic mange?

Sarcoptic mange, also known as canine scabies is highly contagious and these ugly critters burrow deeply in and through the skin of your pet to lay their eggs. They cause severe itching and also form a crust on the skin which can easily become infected. If the infection isn’t treated quickly, it can spread over your pet pal’s  body. These mites don’t infect dogs only but cats, horses, pigs and even humans are at risk. They thrive best when living on your dog but can exist for quite a few days off a host – their average lifespan living off a host in your home is about two to six days. As a result your dog can become infested with sarcoptic mange without even coming into contact with an infected animal.
Customers are always asking me how they would know if their pet has sarcoptic mange. The best thing to do is to go the vet who will do s skin scraping and look under the microscope so that he can identify which parasite is causing the problem.
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How to spot sarcoptic mange or canine scabies

Initially, you may notice a bit of hair loss and crusting on the ears and elbow areas. Mites are happiest on areas of your pet’s body that does not have a lot of hair – check the chest, belly, underneath the arms, on the hocks and around the eyes.  Your pet will also be itching and scratching intensely! All the itching and scratching will no doubt damage your pet’s skin as he tries to find relief from the irritation and discomfort. The surrounding lymph nodes may become enlarged and the skin may darken. It is also quite common for secondary skin infections to develop.
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Is it Demodectic mange?

Demodectic mange lives naturally on the skin of pets – dogs can actually live in harmony with these mites their entire lives. However, demodetic mange thrives in pets with weak immune systems – puppies and young dogs with immature immune systems would be at risk as well as older dogs with a weak immune system. The good news is that it’s not contagious.
There are three types of demodectic mange – localized demodectic mange, generalized demodectic mange and demodectic pododermatitis.

In localised demodectic mange, mites will infect a small area of the body, usually the face.  It is common in puppies but in most cases, resolves on its own. With generalized demodectic mange, large areas of the skin are affected and often secondary bacterial infections may result causing excessive itching and smelly skin. Demodectic pododermatitis is the most difficult to cure! This type of mange affects the foot area and causes a bacterial infection. Your dog will experience itching, bald spots, hair loss, sores and scabbing.
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How to treat Sarcoptic and Demodectic Mange?

Because Sarcoptic mange is highly contagious, it is very important that you isolate your pet so that other pets and family members will not be infected. Wash your pet’s bedding thoroughly and replace collars and leashes. If your pet sleeps or spend time indoors, you also need to do a thorough spring-clean. Wash carpets and floors, all bed linen, curtains and upholstered furniture to remove these parasites from your living area.
As demodectic mange is not considered contagious, it is not necessary to isolate your pet or disinfect any areas of your home. It is recommended that if you have a puppy with this type of mange, you do not breed him as his immune system is compromised. Immunity & Liver Support can be given to puppies from four months old to boost and strengthen the immune system. It is advisable to start them young if they have Demodectic mange as this will provide a valuable building block to ensure a strong immune system throughout his life.
There are a wide variety of conventional treatments available to treat mange, such as full body dips and medications. However, all these treatments contain chemicals and come with some harmful side effects. Very often, pets develop loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea and tremors from being exposed to these dips.
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Natural Solutions

In the  Feelgood Pets range, we have a number of natural solutions to treat mange.
• Natural remedies can help to repel parasites and make the host (your pet!) less attractive to them. To keep your pet protected against any type of parasitic infestation, use Worm Dr Pets, a herbal remedy which helps to expel all internal parasites and cleanse the system.
A strong immune system is essential in resolving any type of parasitic infection and it is well known that Demodectic Mange, in particular, attacks dogs with weaker immune systems. As part of your pet’s skin treatment program, use our Skin & Coat Tonic which acts as a healing tonic for the skin. It improves the overall condition of skin, ensuring that it will be glossy and healthy again. In addition, add Immunity & Liver Support to your pet’s daily regimen to boost and strengthen the immune system.

Lastly, make sure that you keep your pet healthy and mange-free by feeding a balanced and nutritious diet to minimize future infestation. Doggobone raw diets and Vondis cooked diets are available from our Feelgood Health Shop at Unit 6, Westlake Lifestyle Centre, Weslake Business Park, Cape Town. 
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