Bugsy Has Demodectic Mange

A couple weeks ago, the little shih tzu pup developed a nasty itch. At first we thought it was normal dog itch and ignored it but a few days later, he wouldn't stop scratching and we suspected it to be ticks or fleas and bought him a medicated flea and tick collar as recommended by the pet supplies store we frequent. Two days later, the itch seemed to worsen and the fur on his neck seemed to have fallen off (his human pops says he looks like a monkey with a bare neck and a furry head).

By this time, I had decided to remove the collar because Bugsy's skin might be too young and sensitive for the collar (although the package said it can be used by puppies 12 weeks or older). Another day later, his itching had not improved at all. A coin-sized wound appeared on his neck, his skin was pink in patches and he wouldn't stop scratching. We decided to bring him to Happy Hayop that weekend to get checked. They took one look at him and said they needed to scrape off some skin for testing and that's how we found out that he had demodectic mange.
Demodectic mange is  is caused by a microscopic mite of the Demodex genus. Three species of Demodex mites have been identified in dogs: Demodex canis, Demodex gatoi, and Demodex injai. The most common mite of demodectic mange is Demodex canis. All dogs raised normally by their mothers possess this mite as mites are transferred from mother to pup via cuddling during the first few days of life. Most dogs live in harmony with their mites, never suffering any consequences from being parasitized. If, however, conditions change to upset the natural equilibrium (such as some kind of suppression of the dog's immune system), the Demodex mites may "gain the upper hand." The mites proliferate and can cause serious skin disease. (source)

The vets of Happy Hayop said he needed at least three weekly injections of Ivermectin to kill the nasty mites. We're currently on his 2nd dose and his neck now looks like this-

Bugsy relaxing after lunch and a walk
His skin is still pinkish but his wound has completely healed, the skin on his neck is baby smooth once again, and the fur on his neck is starting to grow back. The gray spots are just Bugsy's birth marks. Like any worried momma, I've been trying to find out more about demodectic mange and my research tells me that everything should be fine once his immune system matures. *crosses fingers*
Juvenile onset of Demodectic Mange - Young dogs have inherently immature immune systems and are thus susceptible to the development of demodicosis without any sinister underlying diseases. As they grow up and their immune systems mature, they tend to naturally gain control of their mite infestation; in fact, 30-50% of dogs under age 1 year recover spontaneously from generalized demodicosis without any form of treatment. (source)
In the meantime, I'm just glad that the treatment is working and Bugsy remains to be a hyperactive ball of fur who doesn't itch as much anymore!

-Bugsy's human


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