Mange (demodex) is an inflammatory disease in dogs and cats caused by various types of the Demodex mite. When the number of mites inhabiting the hair follicles and skin of the dog/cat become exorbitant, it can lead to skin lesions, genetic disorders, problems with the immune system and hair loss (alopecia). The severity of symptoms depends upon the type of mite inhabiting the dog/cat.
Symptoms and Types
demodex mange may either be localized and affect specific areas of the body, or generalized, where it affects the entire body. If localized, symptoms are usually mild, with lesions occurring in patches, especially on the face, trunk, or legs. If generalized, symptoms will be more widespread and appear across the body. These symptoms include alopecia, a redness of the skin (erythema), and the appearance of scales and lesions.
While an exact cause of mange in dogs is unknown, many experts believe genetic factors, such as problems with the immune system, may predispose a dog to developing mange.Three species of mites have been identified to cause mange in dogs. While the mode of transmission is unknown for two of these, it is known that one type, Demodex canis, inhabits the skin and hair follicles and may transfer from mother to newborn during nursing.
Skin scrapings are used to find and diagnose with a microscop the demodicosis in dogs/cats. Plucking hairs may also help identify the mite responsible for the condition.
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