Saturday, April 6, 2013

the dreaded mange

Ares got to visit the vet on Wednesday, April 3 to get his physical, heartworm check, fecal sample results, and all of his shots (rabies, DHPP, and bordetella vaccination). We also needed to discuss tick protection because I just realized that contrary to what I believed, trifexa doesn't cover ticks. OOPS! (They're now both on frontline+.) As I've discussed before, he looooves the vet so I was actually looking forward to taking him (and Luna since I wanted to get her nose looked at one last time - she had severe swelling after the stenotic nares surgery - and because she goes where Ares goes). Normally, I would have had the fun task of trying to get a fecal sample from Ares the day of the appointment, but last week when we were in to get Luna's stitches out, he pooped in the office and the nice ladies took a fecal sample for me.
We always have a 2pm appointment because I'm not a morning person and 2pm is when the doctors come back from lunch so the wait is usually minimal so on Wednesday morning, I was laying in bed with my Ares snuggle bug when I noticed that Ares had lost a fair amount of hair under his left eye. Not enough to see it from far away, but up close, it was slightly alarming to just see skin. I couldn't tell if it was swollen or anything but my first thought was an allergy and I was glad we already had a vet appointment!
I ended up getting ready early and hauling Ares and Luna to the dog park for 30 minutes before we had to go to the appointment to get some energy out. They had the park all to themselves and they LOVED it.

Note: Ares body slammed Luna out of the way so he could roll all over that delicious smell.

As usual, they completely ignored me once we got to the vet so that they could stare at and bark at all of the other dogs that were there. They weren't done playing!
My vet was amazing (as always) and was immediately just as concerned as I was about the hair loss. But he said that his concern wasn't the hair loss under the eye (he thinks Ares might have been rubbing it), but that there was hair loss above the same eye that I hadn't noticed. He took Ares back and did a skin scraping. It looked exactly like it sounds - like Ares had fallen and scraped part of his face. My poor baby. I wanted to cry when they brought him back out to me (although, I always want to cry whenever there might be something wrong with my babes).

Look at that sad face! You can see the scrape above his eye , right at the corner. You can also see the hair loss above his eye. The stuff on his nose was from the Bordetella vaccine.
He has demodex mites. You guys, I could have curled up in a ball, sobbing at the vet when the vet tech said those words. Mostly because I had NO IDEA what it was. It's mange. Which didn't make it any better. I have a poor little mange-y puppy. The good news? It's not contagious. We don't have to treat two dogs, keep them from the dog park, and none of the dogs he came in contact with lately have to worry. (Good considering we just went to Bark for Life!) Also good? Nothing I did could have caused or prevented it from happening. I'm pretty sure I asked the vet that about 3 times before I was convinced that it wasn't my fault. 
There's two different types of treatment: one is a sulfurated lime dip, which is not fun or ideal. The other is a liquid medicine called ivermectin. Because Ares is a tiny dog, he is getting 0.2 ml a day for 30(!) days. In 30 days, we will be back at the vet for a recheck. If all is well, we're good to go. If he still has it, then we're in for another 30 days of treatment at 0.3 ml a day. Like human antibiotics, it's important not to stop the treatment early. It's important to note though that some herding dogs can't have ivermectin (a foster doggie mom I know currently has a collie who has to have the dips because he can't have the ivermectin).
And because I wasn't freaked out enough that my Ares has mange, the vet warned me to watch out for possible neurological side effects. Because of the side effects, Ares is only taking 0.1 ml for the first 4 days of treatment and if all goes well, he'll have 0.2 ml for 26 days. If at any point he gets wobbly, or starts acting strange, I have to discontinue use and call the vet immediately. Great.

I've realized that mange is pretty common. My cousin, Melanie, just adopted a beautiful Great Dane named Otis (follow him on instagram at @otis_thegreatdane). When she adopted him 10 weeks ago, he had mange which was so bad, he looked like this (note: his tail wasn't docked, he lost it due to an infection from Happy Tail Syndrome and a broken blood vessel).

Here's her story: 
"We adopted Otis from Companion Animal Alliance (he was with foster owners) on February 9, 2013. He had been with his foster mommy for about 3 weeks before we took him home. The shelter gave her ivermectin for his mange, when she ran out of that the shelter could not supply her with more. Otis was off the ivermectic for a few weeks, until we took him home. The day we brought him home, we took him to the vet who put him back on the ivermectin. Two months later, he is still on the ivermectin (2.4 ml). His fur has almost completely grown back, some of his black fur still has some bare spots. About a month ago, Otis got acne around his mouth and on his elbows which the vet said was normal, it was from the fur growing back. The acne only lasted for a few weeks. We are now going to the vet every other week for skin scrapings. He currently still has mites but each time we go it's less and less. We were told by the vet that when Otis gets two mite-free scrapings in a row, he will continue to stay on the ivermectin for a month just to be sure the mites are completely gone."
Otis' acne.

Otis: Then and Now. 
Look at his then and now pictures. Such a huge difference, isn't it?! He's so lucky to get to fosters who loved them and then Melanie and her boyfriend who have taken such good care of him.

Now, about mange. There's two different types of mange - sarcoptic mange, which is canine scabies, and demodectic mange, which is what Ares and Otis have. Sarcoptic mange are burrowing mites and are contagious. It's usually found in dogs in poor condition.
Demodectic mange is passed down from mama pup to baby when they are raised normally. From what I understand, all dogs have some of these mites (my vet explained that if we scraped Luna all over her body, we would eventually find a mite). There can be localized mange, generalized mange, and mange confined to the foot. 
The mange that is confined to the foot is the most resistant form and is accompanied by bacterial infections. 
Generalized mange affects large areas of the skin or a dogs entire body. This is the type of demodectic mange that Otis has.
Localized mange is what Ares has and is usually found in one or two small, confined areas, usually on the face. It's considered a common ailment in puppyhood and 90% of the cases usually resolve themselves on their own. I'm assuming that they treated Ares instead of waiting for it to resolve itself is because he is about 16 months old.

Symptoms of demodectic mange include hair loss, bald spot, scabbing, and sores while sarcoptic mange tends to cause intense itching. It's also important to note that sarcoptic mange can be transferred to humans while demodectic mange cannot. 

It is SO important to get your dog to the vet if you suspect mange and to keep up with treatment and vet visits. 

**All information on mange was found here. I am obviously NOT a vet or expert on mange. If you ever suspect anything wrong with your pet, take them to the vet. Trust me, they've already heard every question you could ask them. I know - I've asked most of them.**

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