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Demodex in dogs

Demodex is generally a disease of young dogs, or older dogs that are suffering from a depressed immune system.

It is a skin disease caused by the mite Demodex canis (also known as red mange, follicular mange, or puppy mange). It affects virtually every adult dog and most human beings, without causing any harm or irritation. These small (0.25 mm) mites live inside of the hair follicles, hence the name follicular mange. In humans, the mites are usually found in the skin, eyelids, and the creases of the nose.

The demodectic mite spends its entire life on the dog. The mites are transferred directly from the mother to the puppies within the first week of life. Transmission of the mites is by direct contact only.

Virtually every mother carries and transfers mites to her puppies. Most puppies are immune to the mite's effects and display no clinical signs. A few are not immune and it is these that develop into full-blown cases of mange lesions.

What are the Symptoms?

Puppies or dogs may develop a few localised areas of mange or they may have generalized mange. These lesions usually start with hair loss, most often around the head area, and then crusty red skin often with a greasy appearance. Most lesions develop after four months of age. In severe cases animals can become quite ill and develop a fever, loss of appetite and lethargy. Please note, other conditions can cause similar symptoms, so the vet will need to take some samples to examine under the microscope in order to definitively diagnose Demodex.

Please contact your branch surgery for more information or to book an appointment for a health check.

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