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How to diagnose dog mange

Mange is a problem that many animals experience in particular dogs and cats. It is surprisingly often seen, but is also easy to diagnose. Here we take a look at the way in which mange occurs, how to understand mange in pets and how it should be dealt with.

The requirements of knowing how mange occurs cannot be stressed too highly. Mange is caused by miniature mites that live in the animal’s fur, and the female mange mite will dig into the skin of the animal in order to lay her eggs. This can cause an unwanted reaction in the dog or cat, and leads to persistent irritation and suffering as well as other symptoms that we will look at later. The mites themselves have a life span of a short period but they reproduce at a rapid rate. It is when the number of mites increases rapidly that the pet can become susceptible to mange.

Noticing mange is relatively easy as the signs are visible and unusual. The first thing that may be noticed is frequent scratching, particularly in areas where the hair is at its shortest – these are where the mange mite likes to live – and this may be accompanied by baldness in these areas. While in small areas in the first instance it is often the case that mange spreads and in the worst cases can reach the body of the animal entirely.

Further symptoms can include rashes, lethargy and red areas on the skin – so called red mange – that are harmful and present great discomfort for the animal.

If mange is noticed it is best to commence treatment straight away, as keeping the illness under control is vital to treating the condition. Mange is rarely a danger to life but can be dangerous if allowed to get out of control. It is also very distressing for the animal, whose welfare should be considered at all times. Instances of mange transferring from dogs or cats to humans are known to have occurred and the most common form of mange – known as sarcoptic mange – is considerably contagious and occurs in humans as scabies.

It is so that mange mites are specific to only one species – a dog mite will live best on dogs only, a cat mite on cats – but they can exist for short periods on other than their natural host. For this reason it is best to keep uninfected pets away from those with the mange to be safe and sound.

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