Demodex is a normal inhabitant of the skin and can be found in most dogs. However, in some cases when the immune system of the dog is compromised the demodectic mites will multiply to very large numbers – it is NOT transmissible between dogs.
It occurs in two forms:
- Localised where a few bald skin patches occur which are not spreading (generally around the face and the dog appears to have spectacles).
- Generalised where there are multiple patches of fur loss and it spreads around the dog. The hair coat can appear “thin” and sparse. It is often associated also with bacterial skin infections.
All dogs with clinical demodex are immunosuppressed in some way and in young dogs you also have to make sure they are fed correctly, live in a clean healthy environment and have been treated for both external and internal parasites. Older dogs may have an underlying condition that allows the demodectic mange infection to take hold.
There is a genetic predisposition to demodex – it is commonly seen in short coated breeds of dogs (but can be in any breed) and as such dogs that have had generalised demodex should not be bred from.
The prognosis for control and cure is best in younger dogs.
Diagnosis is made by confirming the presence of mites with the microscopic examination of a deep skin scraping.
Previously the most effective treatments have been “off label” and carried some risk of toxicity. Recently a new flea product BRAVECTO has been found to be highly effective and this is now our product of choice for treatment,
Bravecto is given at label doses and lasts for 3 months in between treatments. It is our recommendation that:
- Bravecto is used every three months continuously for effective flea control with the benefit of threating the demodex. Bravecto is safe in all breeds of dog.
- Skin scrapings are performed initially every month to monitor progress.
- Antibiotics and skin washes / shampoos may be used.
Demodectic mange is a difficult disease to treat, not all treatments are successful and relief of clinical signs will often take several months. Bravecto (or any of that drug family) now offer new hope in the treatment of this problematic disease.