Sunday, November 16, 2008

Crash Course in Demodex

So, Thursday, I get a call from Dolla' Bill's foster home. He's concerned because Dolla' is scratching all the time and they only found a couple of fleas on him the first day. Nice. Penny Lane had been scratching a lot as well and we couldn't find any fleas on her either. I call the vet and schedule a visit and they tell me to bring in the worst one. To the best of my knowledge, Penny fit the bill. Friday morning, off we go and wouldn't you know, we get a diagnosis of Demodectic Mange. I leave with Ivomec for all three puppies since Demodex is considered non-contagious but something genetic passed down at birth.

Here is Penny, doing what she does best right now, gnawing on her tail lol!

Penny is the only pooch that's really suffering any hair loss. Both Dolla' and Ginger are scratching, but still have their hair. All I can say is that we must have caught this REALLY early because all the cases of typical Demodex I have seen have involved a significant amount of hair loss.

Now, since we have all three puppies AND Java confirmed to have Demodex, I decided to do a little more reading on the subject.

Apparently, all these mites live naturally on most dog's bodies. They are passed down to the puppies from the mother during the first week of life. It is said that after that initial week, a dog's body will not accept any new mites.

Most dogs do not have issues with these mites living on their bodies. The ones that do are rumored to be genetically predisposed to being susceptible to an overabundance of these mites during certain stages in their life where their immune system is weakened. Demodex generally affects dogs under 1.5 years of age, however, it is not unheard of to hear of an older dog with it. Obviously, that is the case with Java, as he is approximately 3 years of age. We aren't sure what happened to him to get him in the situation he was in, but it was obvious he was under tremendous stress and showing up so skin and bones, of course his immune system was likely to be compromised. With the pups, their immune systems are still fairly immature so it is highly possible for them to be diagnosed with Demodex, with no real underlying causes.

Now, some of you may be wondering about the possibility of relapses. Well, from my research, relapses are possible, but the dogs generally get over Demodex if all the mites are really gone. Most relapses occur 6-12 months after the initial treatment when they do happen, and this is normally because the handler failed to have the dog rechecked for the mites because it looked as though the problem was gone. Mind you, these mites are microscopic!

Penny and her siblings will be going back to the vet for another skin scrape right around the 6th of December. Java will be going in about a week prior to that.

For the fun of it, here's a picture of our horse Ginger just the other day. She is growing up fast and will likely be an EASY 60lbs of fun!


P. Rocerin said...

I have 2 wigs (one long wavy dishwater blondish & another auburn bob...both have bangs) plus a headband slipon with long wavy blonde hair you are welcome to try. I'll be at work (American Visions Contemporary Crafts,9854 Manchester...just E of Berry R side) on Wed if you are out and about...would be glad to bring them in with problem! The slip-on is close to the color I see in your photo here