Demodex is a parasitic mite that causes a skin disease often referred to as mange or canine demodicosis. The microscopic Demodex mites live in the hair follicles and oil glands of your dog’s (or cat's) skin or at the skin surface.
Many animals have natural mite populations; however, most healthy animals are able to suppress the populations from becoming problematic. Usually, animals that are going to be affected by Demodex show signs of mange early in life. Occasionally, an animal will develop demodectic mange as an adult; however, this usually means that the animal has another medical condition that is compromising the immune system.
How will demodectic mange affect my dog?
Demodex mites create patches of hair loss as a result of mild irritation and itching, usually starting on the muzzle and head and progressing toward the rear. The disease can be limited to a small area of infestation (localized), which most often occurs in young dogs, or more widespread (generalized) infestations.
Diagnosis of Demodex mites is made through skin scrapings of the affected areas. Localized infestations can easily be treated, and most are resolved with no treatment. Generalized infestations of Demodex can be more challenging to treat.
How do I prevent my dog from getting mange?
First and foremost, maintaining your dog’s overall health is critical to creating immunity to mite infestations. A good diet and clean environment can greatly reduce the opportunity for your dog to develop a mite infestation.
Consult your veterinarian for additional prevention strategies and treatment options.
Can humans be harmed by Demodex?
Demodex from dogs poses no risk to humans.
For veterinary professionals, more detailed information on Demodex can be found at https://www.capcvet.org/guidelines/demodex/.
Did you know?
- Mange is caused by a microscopic mite that lives inside hair follicles.
- Symptoms of mange are patches of hair loss, usually starting on the head and progressing towards the rear.
- Healthy dogs can handle the mites without it becoming a problem. Keep your dog healthy with good diet and clean environment.
- Your veterinarian can test for mange and prescribe proper treatment.
- Ear Mites
Ask Your Veterinarian
A healthy pet can usually handle demodex mites without developing symptoms, so if your pet has no symptoms, no treatment is necessary. However, if a dog does get the symptoms of mange, it may have secondary infections as well. You veterinarian can prescribe a course of treatment to prevent the problem from getting worse.