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Many dog owners understand that their four-legged friends are going to get dirty and look "mangy" from time to time. However, you might not know much about the actual condition called mange. There are two types of mange – sarcoptic mange and dermodectic mange. The latter is commonly referred to as "red mange" and can be serious in some instances.
Dermodectic mange is a result of demodex mites. These mites are found on every dog and in most cases, dog and mites live in harmony because the dogs' immune systems keep the problem at bay. However, dogs with weak immune systems tend to have difficulty fighting off the mites, leading to a full-blown infestation. In many cases, this results in the development of demodectic mange.
Symptoms of mange include patches of dry, flaky or scaly skin and areas of redness around its mouth or eyes, hence the term "red mange." Young dogs tend to be more susceptible because their immune systems aren't as strong yet, while short haired breeds are also more prone to develop mange as it's easier for the parasite to hold on.
If you notice any of these signs and the dog's skin and coat hasn't gotten better even after using moisturizing pet shampoo such as 1-800-PetMeds Oatmeal & Aloe Vera Shampoo for Dogs, you should bring it to the vet. The vet will most likely scrape some of the dog's skin and run blood work. The blood work can help the vet address if the dog's immune system is under attack.
Once a diagnosis is made, the vet might suggest starting the dog on tick and flea preventative pet drugs like Frontline, Revolution or Mitaban Dip which contains Amitraz, an ingredient that suspends the nervous system of certain parasites. The vet might also suggest boosting your dog's immune system with pet products like Proanthozone capsules. Put the medicine in Greenies Pill Pockets to disguise the tablet.
To reduce your dog's itching and discomfort from mange, try washing it with pet shampoo specifically designed for dogs with skin irritations. Excel Hyrdocortisone Shampoo offers relief because it is gentle, fast-acting and soothing. Using a liquid anti-inflammatory like Yucca Intensive may also bring the dog some relief. Mix it into the dog's pet food or with water and apple juice.