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Mites And Demodectic Mange

Apr 23, 2008
The gameplan of the mite is to burrow 3-5 layers deep and attack the hair follicles. Dogs with demodetic mites will experience major hair loss and lowered immune systems. The microscopic mange mite usually shows up in all puppies, but mostly puppies from 6 weeks to over one year of age.

The minute eight legged bloodsuckers will appear in the pores causing localized infestation in the beginning (if left untreated, these areas can quickly become "generalized" making it a far more serious condition to treat). Veterinarian and medical treatments are very costly and take months to treat with poisons and insecticides.

With Demodetic mange, there is usually a characteristic smell - sort of a "wet puppy dog" smell. Veterinarians can usually diagnose demodex just by looking, although a skin scraping will give a more definite diagnosis. The itch, although not quite as severe as that caused by the toxins from sarcastic mites, can be intense (or there can be no itching at all), and many times demodex can cause severe secondary bacterial infections, not only from the infected pores, but from the abused skin from the dog scratching itself.

Unlike the mites that bite and live off the blood of the dog, the mites that cause demodex don't bite and they don't consume blood from the animal. They live in skin pores and hair follicles and literally feed on the skin and hair oil they find there.

Mites are similar in appearance to Narcotic Mange mites. Notoedres cati is the primary cause of mange in cats. It will also infect dogs, but will not live a full life cycle on humans, but will cause itching and possible rash. Also known as 'face mange', the infection usually begins at the tips of the ears, progresses over the face and, if untreated, over the body. If your cat suffers from severe itching or hair loss on the head and neck you should consider having her examined for the neoteric mange mite.

The female mite burrows into the skin and lays eggs several times as she continues burrowing. These tunnels can actually reach the length of several centimeters. After she deposits the eggs, the female mite dies. In 3-8 days the eggs hatch into larvae, which have 6 legs. The larvae mature into nymphs, which have 8 legs. The nymph then molts into an adult while it is still in the burrow. The adult's mate, and the process continue. The entire life cycle requires 2-3 weeks.

The symptoms usually start with hair loss and itching on the ears spreading rapidly to the face, eyelids and neck. The mites can also spread to the feet and lower abdomen. This characteristic spread probably occurs from the cat's habit of grooming, and sleeping curled up in a ball. As the disease progresses the skin will become thickened, wrinkled and covered with grayish/yellow crusts. Because of the intense itching the infected cat will often scratch and irritate the skin causing secondary infections to develop. The surrounding lymph nodes may also become enlarged as the problem worsens.
About the Author
Article written by Kelly Marshall from Oh My Dog Supplies - visit for dog food storage containers in every size
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