Demodectic Mange or Demodicosis


Posted by ron1945 | Posted in Demodectic Mange - Demodicosis | Posted on 15-08-2010

Demodectic Mange

Another name for Demodectic Mange is Demodicosis. The cause of this malady in dogs is from a little bug–a mite–so small you can’t see it with your naked eye. This mite’s technical name is Demodex canis. The interesting thing is all dogs have these mites. The mites are transferred from mother to puppy.  The problem begins when the dog’s immune system is unable to fight off the effects this little mite causes.

This dermatitis problem is not generally considered overly contagious except for younger dogs–new born mostly.  While the mites that cause Demodicosis can be transferred from one animal to another, most dog’s natural immune systems, or built up immunity, is strong enough to ward off the irritation they cause.

There are two form of this disorder: localized and generalized.  Each form is characterized by different symptoms:


The localized form of Demodicosis is identified by the thinning or loss of hair in small patches around the dog’s eyes, mouth, lips and front legs.  These small patches are in an irregular pattern.  These patches can be mistaken for ringworm.  Generally you’d expect only one to two patches on any one area, but in any of the noted areas, of the dog.  More patches than one or two might well be a sign of the disease being more generalized, and thus more serious.

You want to eliminate as much of the mite infestation as possible, but most likely won’t get them all.  As well, you’ll want to treat the lesions.  This treatment effort will provide relief to your suffering dog.  Shampooing your dog, using immune stimulants and antibiotics should help your dog.  Be aware that your personal efforts may appear to exasperate the problem.  It may take a month before clear signs of healing appear.  Minor infestations may be self healing.


The generalized form of Demodicosis is a more severe case of the disease.  The symptoms are more pronounced with a greater number of lesions or patches on the dog.  Often this more acute form of the disease is a progressive form of the localized ailment.  Instead of bald spots on the dog, this form of the disease has progressed to a more scaly looking skin and infections, which can be all over the entire dog.  This advanced form of the disease can be smelly and very itchy for the dog.

This disease is more prone to younger animals, but older dogs can get it too.  In the case of older dogs whose natural immune systems would be expected to be mature, this may be cause for greater concern that other health issues may be involved.  A veterinarian would better be able to diagnosis the problem.

This problem could also be localized in the paws of the dog.  This is a stubborn problem and hard to deal with.  Consulting your vet would be well advised.

Treatment and care are important issues when dealing with this dog hair loss illness.  Because skin infections are a part of this ailment, treating them with antibiotics may be appropriate, but consult with your vet.  Keep up the dog’s regular vaccination program to give the best health to ward off any future out breaks.  Provide your dog with a well balanced nutritional diet–your vet can make good recommendations for your specific dog. Do your best to keep your dog free from parasite infestation.  There are some who advocate spaying your dog to prevent the hereditary passing of the predisposition to this disease.  We’ll let you make that call with the help of your veterinarian.  <<<  Return to Dog Loss Overview

The information contained in the articles on this website is provided for information purposes only. The articles are not written by veterinarians per se. As such, the information should not be considered as a replacement for the advice of a veterinarian. Great care is made in the creation of these articles; however, we cannot guarantee their accuracy and/or omissions. In all cases where doubt may exist, we recommend seeking appropriate professional veterinary advice and assistance.

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