Dog Health Topics
demodectic mange information
This following information is being shared to bring awareness to the problem of Demodectic Mange in dogs, specifically in blue nose pit bulls. Mange seems to be a common problem, so I wanted to share information to educate others. This information sheet was written by Dr. Ernest Ward, DVM. I found this article and the photos on the internet. The dog in these photos is NOT ours.
Mange is a parasitic skin disease caused by microscopic mites. Two different mange mites cause skin disease in dogs. One lives just under the surface of the skin, while the other resides deep in the hair follicles. Although both mites share similar characteristics, there are also important differences. It is important not to confuse the two types of mange because they have different causes, treatments, and prognoses.
What causes demodectic mange?
Demodectic mange, sometimes just called "demodex" or "red mange", is the most common form of mange in dogs. It is caused by the Demodex canis, a parasite that lives in the hair follicles of dogs. Under the microscope, this mite is shaped like a cigar with eight legs. "As long as the body's immune system is functioning properly, these mites cause no harm. "All normal dogs (and many humans) have a few of these mites on their skin. As long as the body's immune system is functioning properly, these mites cause no harm.
Demodectic mange most often occurs when a dog has an immature immune system, allowing the number of skin mites to increase rapidly. As a result, this disease occurs primarily in dogs less than twelve to eighteen months of age. As the dog matures, its immune system also matures. Adult dogs that have the disease usually have defective immune systems. Demodectic mange may occur in older dogs because function of the immune system often declines with age. Dogs who have immune suppression due to illness or certain medications are also candidates for demodectic mange.
Is demodectic mange contagious?"
Demodectic mange is not contagious to other animals or humans."No, demodectic mange is not contagious to other animals or humans. Demodex mites are transmitted to puppies from their mother during the first few days of life. Since the mite is found on virtually all dogs, exposure of a normal dog to one with demodectic mange is not dangerous. If your dog is showing these symptoms do not wait for the mange to spread. It's best to contact a Veterinarian right away.
Why doesn't the immune system mature correctly in some dogs?
Development of the immune system is under genetic or hereditary control. Thus, an affected dog often has littermates that are also affected. Owners of littermates should be alerted to watch for the development of mange in their puppies. Because the disease is due to a genetic defect, affected dogs should not be bred, and the parents of the affected dog should not be bred again.
What does demodectic mange do to the dog?
Surprisingly, a dog with demodectic mange usually does not itch severely, even though it loses hair in patches. The hair loss usually begins on the face, especially around the eyes. When there are only a few patches of hair loss, the condition is called localized demodectic mange. If the disease spreads to many areas of the skin, it becomes generalized demodectic mange.
How is demodectic mange diagnosed?
"Your veterinarian will take deep skin scrapings and examine them under the microscope to diagnose this disease." Your veterinarian will take deep skin scrapings and examine them under the microscope to diagnose this disease. The finding of larger than normal numbers of Demodex mites in skin scrapings confirms the diagnosis. Occasionally, the disease will be diagnosed by means of a skin biopsy in dogs that have chronic skin infections that have not responded appropriately to treatment.
How is demodectic mange treated?
The localized form is usually treated with topical medication. The generalized form requires more aggressive treatment using special shampoos and dips, along with oral medication. Shampooing with special cleansing shampoos containing benzoyl peroxide helps to flush out and open the hair follicles prior to dipping. A separate handout is available to describe the dipping process. In some cases, especially dogs with generalized demodectic mange, secondary skin infections complicate the condition, requiring antibiotic therapy. Dogs with skin infections often have very red, inflamed skin. This is the source of the term "red mange".
Are there any problems with topical treatment?
The dip commonly used for demodectic mange contains the insecticide amitraz. It must be used cautiously because it is a strong insecticide that can cause side effects, both to your dog and to you, if not used properly. Your dog may experience vomiting and sedation for twenty-four to thirty-six hours following each application. Most of these problems are self-limiting and resolve without medical intervention. If your dog reacts in this manner, you should dilute the next dip with 25% more water. Since most dogs develop tolerance to the dip as they are repeated, your dog is less likely to have side effects with each subsequent treatment. After receiving two to three dipping treatments at seven-day intervals, skin scrapings should be repeated and examined for the presence of live mites or mite eggs. The results of these skin scrapings will determine whether further treatment is needed.
I heard that there is a drug that can be given orally for demodectic mange.
Is that true? Yes, under certain conditions. Ivermectins are a class of drugs that are approved for prevention of heartworm disease in dogs and cats. Milbemycin oxime, the active ingredient of Interceptor® and Sentinel® heartworm preventives, may be used to treat demodicosis in certain cases. Certain ivermectins are used to treat parasites on cattle. In the past, the cattle preparation has been used orally for demodectic mange in some dogs. However, it is a very strong drug that can cause severe side-effects, including death, if it is not administered properly. It is not approved for use in dogs, so we would only consider using it as long as you are willing to accept liability for adverse effects. Veterinarians do not generally recommend ivermectin usage in collies, Shetland sheepdogs, Australian shepherds, old English sheepdogs, or any other herding breed.
What is the prognosis for my dog?
Treatment of demodectic mange is generally successful. However, if the immune system is defective, neither the mites nor the infection may respond to treatment. With generalized demodicosis, successful treatment may take a long time.
Following successful treatment, is it likely to recur?
"It is important to treat as soon as a relapse occurs to minimize the possibility of developing uncontrollable problems." Because the immune system does not mature until twelve to eighteen months of age, a dog with demodectic mange may have relapses until that age. It is important to treat as soon as a relapse occurs to minimize the possibility of developing uncontrollable problems.
Parvo (Parvovirus) in Dogs
Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious viral disease that can produce a life-threatening illness. The virus attacks rapidly dividing cells in a dog’s body, most severely affecting the intestinal tract. Parvovirus also attacks the white blood cells, and when young animals are infected, the virus can damage the heart muscle and cause lifelong cardiac problem
What Are the General Symptoms of Parvovirus?
The general symptoms of parvovirus are lethargy, severe vomiting, loss of appetite and bloody, foul-smelling diarrhea that can lead to life-threatening dehydration.
How Is Parvovirus Transmitted?
Parvovirus is extremely contagious and can be transmitted by any person, animal or object that comes in contact with an infected dog's feces. Highly resistant, the virus can live in the environment for months, and may survive on inanimate objects such as food bowls, shoes, clothes, carpet and floors. It is common for an unvaccinated dog to contract parvovirus from the streets, especially in urban areas where there are many dogs.
How Is Parvovirus Diagnosed?
Veterinarians diagnose parvovirus on the basis of clinical signs and laboratory testing. The Enzyme Linked ImmunoSorbant Assay (ELISA) test has become a common test for parvovirus. The ELISA test kit is used to detect parvovirus in a dog’s stools, and is performed in the vet’s office in about 15 minutes. Because this test is not 100% sensitive or specific, your veterinarian may recommend additional tests and bloodwork.
Which Dogs Are Prone to Parvovirus?
Puppies, adolescent dogs and canines who are not vaccinated are most susceptible to the virus. The canine parvovirus affects most members of the dog family (wolves, coyotes, foxes, etc.). Breeds at a higher risk are Rottweilers, Doberman pinschers, Labrador retrievers, American Staffordshire terriers and German shepherds.
How Can Parvovirus Be Prevented?
You can protect your dog from this potential killer by making sure he’s up-to-date on his vaccinations. Parvovirus should be considered a core vaccine for all puppies and adult dogs. It is usually recommended that puppies be vaccinated with combination vaccines that take into account the risk factors for exposure to various diseases. One common vaccine, called a “5-in-1,” protects the puppy fromdistemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus and parainfluenza.
Generally, the first vaccine is given at 6-8 weeks of age and a booster is given at four-week intervals until the puppy is 16-20 weeks of age, and then again at one year of age. A puppy’s vaccination program is not complete before four months of age. Older dogs who have not received full puppy vaccination series may be susceptible to parvovirus and should also receive at least one immunization. Consult with your veterinarian about how often your dog will need to be revaccinated.
Because parvovirus can live in an environment for months, you will want to take extra care if there has been an infected dog in your house or yard. Some things are easier to clean and disinfect than others-and even with excellent cleaning, parvovirus can be difficult to eradicate. Parvo is resistant to many typical disinfectants. A solution of one part bleach to 32 parts water can be used where organic material is not present. The infected dog’s toys, food dish and water bowl should be properly cleaned and then disinfected with this solution for 10 minutes. If not disinfected, these articles should be discarded. You can also use the solution on the soles of your shoes if you think you've walked through an infected area. Areas that are harder to clean (grassy areas, carpeting and wood, for example) may need to be sprayed with disinfectant, or even resurfaced.
How Can Parvovirus Be Treated?
Although there are no drugs available that can kill the virus yet, treatment is generally straightforward and consists of aggressive supportive care to control the symptoms and boost your dog’s immune system to help him win the battle against this dangerous disease. Dogs infected with parvovirus need intensive treatment in a veterinary hospital, where they receive antibiotics, drugs to control the vomiting, intravenous fluids and other supportive therapies. Should your dog undergo this treatment, be prepared for considerable expense-the average hospital stay is about 5-7 days.
Please note that treatment is not always successful-so it’s especially important to make sure your dog is vaccinated.
Article Source: Web MD, Pets
Fleas and Ticks
Pests That Feed on Your Pets. The soft, warm fur of dogs and cats provides the perfect environment for fleas and ticks. These insects feed on your pet’s blood and can cause health problems ranging from allergic reactions to serious tick-borne illnesses. Both fleas and ticks are more common during the warmer months, but you can take steps to ward them off any time of year.
- Flea Warning Signs: Dogs
- Flea droppings (dark specks) in the fur
- Flea eggs (white specks) in the fur
- Excessive licking or scratching
- Scabs or hot spots on the skin
How Do Pets Get Fleas?
Pets can easily pick up fleas when outdoors. Indoor cats can get them even if they just go out on the patio or share their home with a dog. Female fleas can lay 40 to 50 eggs a day. That can lead to an infestation in days.
American Dog Tick
This is one of the most common ticks. It feeds on people as well as dogs. It’s easy to spot the females, because they have a large silver spot behind the head. They swell to the size of a small grape after feeding. These ticks can spread Rocky Mountain spotted fever, but only if they're attached for at least 5-20 hours. This disease can be fatal in dogs and may cause serious symptoms in people.
Ticks can cause other health problems in dogs, including:
- Skin irritation or infection
- Tick paralysis
Your Yard and Home
Ticks prefer warm, grassy areas and may thrive in unruly sections of your yard. The brown dog tick can also live and reproduce inside your home. Its favorite hiding spots include cracks, curtains, under rugs and furniture, and behind radiators.
Article Source: Web MD, Pets
Courtesy of Dr. Chris Adolph, Southpark Veterinary Hospital
Giardia is a single-celled parasite that lives in your dog’s intestine. It infects older dogs but more frequently infects puppies. Dogs become infected when they swallow Giardia that may be present in water or other substances that have been soiled with feces.
How will Giardia affect my dog?
Many dogs infected with Giardia do not get any disease. Giardiasis, the disease caused by Giardia infection, usually results in diarrhea. Having giardiasis for a long time can cause weight loss; poor condition; and even death.
How do I prevent my dog from getting Giardia?
The best way to prevent Giardia infection is to make sure that your dog has safe, clean drinking water. It is important not to allow dogs to drink water from areas where other animals have left their feces. Your veterinarian can perform a test on your dog’s feces to see if it has giardiasis. If your dog is infected with Giardia, your veterinarian can prescribe safe, effective treatment for control of the disease.
To prevent spreading Giardia (and other parasites), pick up the feces left by your dog immediately and place it in the trash. Be sure to avoid contact with the feces by using gloves, a bag over your hand, or a scooping device.
Can humans be harmed by Giardia?
Giardia is a common cause of diarrhea in people, but dog Giardia is not generally considered to spread from animals to humans. While human Giardia may infect dogs and then be passed on to humans, the majority of human cases are of human origin
Coccidia are tiny single-celled parasites that live in the wall of your dog’s intestine. They are found more often in puppies, but they can also infect older dogs and cats. Dogs become infected by swallowing soil that contains coccidia or other substances in the environment that may contain dog feces.
How will coccidia affect my dog?
Coccidiosis, the disease caused by coccidia, may not cause any signs in dogs but is usually more serious in puppies. The most common sign of coccidiosis is diarrhea. More severe infections can cause bloody diarrhea. Severe infections, especially in puppies, can kill them.
How do I prevent my dog from getting coccidia?
Coccidial infections can be prevented by removing your dog’s feces regularly from your yard or other areas where the dog goes to the bathroom. Because coccidia are found most often in puppies, it is important to have puppies examined for the parasite as soon as possible. Your veterinarian can perform a fecal test to diagnose coccidiosis. If your dog is infected with coccidia, your veterinarian is able to give it effective medications.
Can my cat get coccidia from my dog?
A dog infected with coccidia cannot pass the infection to cats and vice versa. Coccidial infections in dogs occur only by swallowing the coccidia in soil or dog feces.
Dog Roundworm (Toxocara canis)
Roundworms are the most common of the parasitic worms found inside a dog. Almost all dogs become infected with them at some time in their lives, usually as puppies. Roundworms may be contracted in different ways, making them easy to spread and hard to control.
Your dog may be infected with roundworms from the time it is born because often the mother passes the worms to the puppy while it is still in her body. Roundworms can also develop in a puppy after it is born when the puppy eats larvated eggs from the environment or drinks worm larvae (young worms) in the mother's milk. Another way roundworms are passed is when roundworm larvae are present in the tissues of a mouse or another small mammal and the puppy eats the animal.
How will roundworms affect my dog?
Adult roundworms live in the affected dog's intestines. Many dogs do not have signs of infection; however, dogs with major roundworm infections, especially puppies, show diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, dull hair, and a potbellied appearance. The dog may cough if the roundworms move into the lungs.
You may notice the adult roundworms in your dog's feces or vomit. They will appear white or light brown in color and may be several inches long. How do I prevent my dog from getting roundworms? Because roundworms can enter your dog's body in many different ways, it is essential to keep your dog's living area clean, remove feces Roundworm in dog's intestine regularly, and, if possible, prevent your dog from eating wild animals that may carry roundworms.
To get rid of roundworms that are passed from the mother dog, puppies should be treated at 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks of age and then receive a preventive treatment monthly. Fecal (stool) examinations should be conducted 2 to 4 times during the first year of life and 1 or 2 times each year in adults. Nursing mothers should be kept on monthly preventive and treated along with their puppies to decrease the risk of transmission. Many heartworm preventives also control roundworms. Ask your veterinarian about prevention and treatment choices that are appropriate for your dog.
Can humans be harmed by roundworms?
Roundworms do pose a significant risk to humans. Contact with contaminated soil or dog feces can result in human ingestion and infection. Roundworm eggs may accumulate in significant numbers in the soil where pets deposit feces. Once infected, the worms can cause eye, lung, heart and neurologic signs in people.
Children should not be allowed to play where animals have passed feces. Individuals who have direct contact with soil that may have been contaminated by cat or dog feces should wear gloves or wash their hands immediately.
Similar to tapeworms and roundworms, hookworms are intestinal parasites that live in the digestive system of your dog (or cat). The hookworm attaches to the lining of the intestinal wall and feeds on your dog’s blood. Its eggs are ejected into the digestive tract and pass into the environment through your dog’s feces.
Larvae (young hookworms) that hatch from hookworm eggs live in the soil. These larvae can infect your dog simply through contact and penetration of the skin and through the dog eating the larvae when they ingest dirt or during their routine licking (cleaning).
How will hookworms affect my dog?
Hookworms suck blood and therefore cause internal blood loss. They are a serious threat to dogs, especially young puppies that may not survive the blood loss without transfusions. In older animals the blood loss may be more chronic, and the pet may have diarrhea and show weight loss.
If you think your dog is infected with hookworms, call your veterinarian to schedule an appointment for evaluation, diagnosis, and safe, effective treatment.
How do I prevent my dog from getting hookworms?
Similar to steps for prevention of other intestinal parasites, it is essential to keep your dog’s surroundings clean and prevent the dog from being in contaminated areas.
Puppies should be treated for hookworms at 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks of age with a deworming medication you can get from your veterinarian.
This frequent treatment schedule is recommended due to the very high rate of hookworm infection in newborn puppies. Most monthly heartworm preventatives include a drug to prevent to treat and prevent infections so additional deworming medications are usually not required if the dog is reliably treated with a heartworm preventive. Fecal examinations should be conducted 2 to 4 times during the first year of life and 1 to 2 times per year in adults. Nursing mothers should be treated along with their puppies. Consult your veterinarian for safe and effective prevention and treatment options.
Can humans be harmed by hookworms?
Some hookworms of dogs can infect humans by penetrating the skin. This is most likely to occur when walking barefoot on the beach, working in the garden or other areas where pets may deposit feces. Infection usually results in an itching sensation at the point where the larvae enter the skin and visible tracks on the skin. The condition is easily treated but can cause mild to extreme discomfort in the affected person. One species of hookworm that infects dogs is known to develop in the human intestine, too, where it may cause disease.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Hookworms are a serious threat to dogs, especially young puppies. They can cause blood loss, weight loss, diarrhea or death.
- Hookworms live in your dog's digestive system. They must be diagnosed by your veterinarian.
- Keeping your dog's environment clean and keeping your dog away from contaminated areas are the best steps for prevention.
- Dogs and puppies should be examined regularly for hookworms. Your veterinarian can treat them if they are found.
- Humans can be infected by hookworm from dogs.
- Other kinds of worms that dogs can get include heartworms, roundworms, tapeworms, and whipworms.
ASK YOUR VETERINARIAN ABOUT HOOKWORM PREVENTION
Puppies should be treated for worms routinely, starting at two weeks of age. Puppies should be examined for worms two to four times in their first year and once or twice annually thereafter. Nursing mothers should be treated along with their puppies. Keeping your pet's environment clean and free from animal feces is a key step in keeping your pet safe. The best way to control hookworms is to be sure to be sure to use a parasite control product recommended by your veterinarian every month.
The whipworm is one of the four most common intestinal parasites of dogs. Whipworms reside in the cecum, which is inside your dog’s body where the small intestine and large intestine meet. Dogs become infected with whipworms by swallowing infective whipworm eggs in soil or other substances that may contain dog feces.
How will whipworms affect my dog?
Dogs that are infected with a few whipworms may not have any signs of infection. More severe infections can cause bloody diarrhea. If an infected dog is not treated, then severe whipworm infection can cause serious disease and even death.
How do I prevent my dog from getting whipworms?
Whipworm infections can be prevented by removing your dog’s feces regularly from your yard. Because whipworms are sometimes more difficult to diagnose than other intestinal parasites, it is important that you take your dog to see a veterinarian at least annually for a properly conducted fecal examination (test of your dog’s feces).
Your veterinarian can prescribe safe and effective products that treat and control whipworm infections.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Dogs with mild whipworm infections may show no symptoms, but whipworms can cause bloody diarrhea, and if not treated, lead to death.
- Dogs get whipworms from soil or other substances containing dog feces.
- Keep your yard clean of dog feces to protect your dog.
- Your veterinarian should test your dog for whipworms at least annually.
- Other kinds of worms that dogs can get include heartworms, hookworms, roundworms, and tapeworms.
As with all of the common worms that infect dogs, it is important to have your dog tested on a regular basis by your veterinarian, since dogs in the early stage of infection may show no symptoms. If your dog has whipworms, your veterinarian can prescribe safe and effective products that treat and control the infection.