Also known as skin mites, demodex mites are tiny pests that thrive on the skin of all breeds of dogs. A canine with a healthy immune system normally does not experience any discomfort from the presence of these pests. However, if the dog’s resistance to infection and disease is weakened in some manner, mites can become extremely painful and will eventually develop into the condition known as mange.
It is not unusual for a puppy to develop mange. The reason is that the immune system is not yet fully developed in puppies, making it much easier for the condition to develop. While the demodex mites may simply reside in the pores of the skin and do nothing, there is an increased chance that they will activate and begin to create distress. With puppies, a quick trip to the veterinarian will normally clear up the situation quickly. Depending on the severity of the condition, the vet may utilize oral medication, a salve that must be applied to the mange daily, or possibly even a shot of antibiotics.
Demodex mites can also cause problems for older dogs. The risk increases if some type of ongoing medical problem has weakened the pet’s immune system. If left untreated, the skin will take on a reddish hue and the coat will begin to thin noticeably. Over time, scales and crusty patches will develop and the hair loss will be almost complete around the head and legs. While there is no initial itching to disturb the animal, the presence of the crusty patches eventually become bothersome and may cause the pet to scratch in an attempt to alleviate the discomfort.
At this stage, the vet is likely to recommend a three-fold treatment process to handle demodex mites. Medicated shampoos help to flush out the mites lodged in the pores, as well as any other debris that is clogging the pores. An ointment applied to the surface of the skin after bathing helps to ease the redness and prevent the pores from filling with more debris from the crusty patches. Finally, oral medications help to support the work of the weakened immune system and restore balance to the pet’s health. This range of treatment often requires several weeks to completely rid the pet of mange, but some improvement is usually seen within a couple of days.
Pest control for demodex mites will restore your dog’s coat to its former glory, ease the redness of the skin, and in general alleviate any discomfort your pet may be experiencing. In some instances, the vet may recommend continued use of the salve or medicated shampoo for a short time after the oral medication is discontinued. This will help to clear up any lingering issues and minimize the chances of a recurrence of the condition in the near future.