Pet Care: Demodex (a common mite found in dogs)

Uploaded by VetVid on 18.12.2009

Demodex In Dogs Hello, I'm Dr. Mike. Demodectic mange, also
referred to simply as Demodex, is a common mite found in dogs. Usually this mite is not
a problem, however, in puppies or adult dogs with a compromised immune system, these mites
can cause a variety of skin problems. To learn more about Demodex, were going to meet with
Dr. Jeff Glass, a veterinarian in Irvine, California.
Demodex is a parasitic disease caused by a mite called Demodex, so Demodex canis. It
is an inflammatory disease where this mite is found in the hair follicles and when something
suppresses the body's immune system, these mites will then start to multiply, and when
they multiply, it will cause the hair to fall out. I think that the most important thing
for clients to know is that Demodex is a disease that is not directly contagious from one dog
to another. A lot of times people are worried when the dog has Demodex, is it going to be
transmitted. The way that they get it is from their mother.
It's usually transmitted in the first few days of life when the pups start to suckle
on the mom, they'll often get their mite. That's why it's often found around the face
and it's often found in the front feet. It can be found anywhere in the body.
So, what happens is that many dogs will have this mite living in their hair follicles,
and usually what will happen is that it will just sit there in the hair follicles and not
cause any real problems at all. If something suppresses their immune system, which can
be as simple as them having worms or parasites, which many puppies will have, this can then
cause this mite to start to multiply and grow, and when it does multiply, that's when it
causes the symptoms and causes the problems. Usually, a healthy dog, even if they have
been exposed to that mite and have that mite, the hair follicle will not show any signs
at all. The symptoms of Demodex can be very variable. Sometimes it can be a very small
patch of hair loss, which sometimes people can just confuse from a scratch and it can
be a very small area of hair loss in any part of the body, and usually those are the much
milder forms. It can become much more serious, where we see dogs that can have hair loss
in multiple patches all over its body or even the entire body.
When they get secondary infection from this mite, because their immune system is down,
they can get secondary bacterial infections, which can then result in scabs all over the
body, crusting, and at that stage a lot of the times, the dogs will be itchy and scratching.
When there isn't infection, typically Demodex is a disease that is not an itchy type of
disease, so usually a dog won't be scratching if there isn't secondary infection.
When you see Demodex in a younger dog, it is much less of a concern and often associated
with a localized. In older dogs that get Demodex, those are the ones that you're much more concerned
because that suggests something that's really suppressing their immune system, which can
even be as serious as cancer. Because there are many causes of hair loss
in a dog, you want to make sure that your dog truly does have Demodex. Diagnosing Demodex
is a relatively simple procedure where your veterinarian may want to do a skin scraping,
where he'll scrape a part of the skin, look at it under a microscope, and then he will
see the mite at various stages. If he sees that, it confirms the diagnosis, so it's not
a difficult disease to diagnose. As far as treatment is concerned for Demodex,
for localized, if you have a very small area, if it's a young dog with a small area, sometimes
treatment is not necessary. There are topical ointments that you can put on a dog, which
may or may not help to make it resolve quicker. With generalized Demodex or if you have Demodex
in an older dog, then probably in most cases, treatment would be a good idea, to resolve
the problem quicker and prevent it from getting worse. There are various types of treatment
for Demodex and you definitely want to consult with your veterinarian to find out which option
he feels would be best for your dog. There are different types of dips that you can use.
For example, mitaban dip, there are oral treatments like ivermectin or milbemycin. Topical ointments
can be used and then sometimes if there is secondary infection, antibiotics would be
warranted. Prognosis for this disease in young dogs is
usually very good. Most young dogs will, with various types of treatment, will respond very
well and do extremely well. In older dogs is when you become a little bit more concerned,
because in those cases, there is usually an underline cause, and when there is an underline
cause, often you need to find what that cause is before you can actually treat the Demodex.
Demodex is not contagious to people, and is generally not considered a problem in helping
healthy adult dogs. However, in some pets, it can cause severe skin infection. If your
puppy, or older dog has hair loss, you should bring it to the attention of your veterinarian.
He or she will decide if treatment is necessary, and what options are available for your pet.
I hope this information is helpful, and thanks for watching.