Does my dog have mange?

by Sherry Frazier
(Croton, Ohio USA)

My 12 year old female collie mix has a serious skin problem. She is bald on all 4 of her legs, her back, neck and face. One of her bottom eyelashes have turned inwards from her constant rubbing of her face. She also has a strong sort of acrid odor to her skin. I have been working with her all summer. I bathe her in a mange shampoo called Defendex and spray her with mitactin spray, am giving her holostic allergy treats and have even put veterinary ointment on the spots. Nothing seems to work.

The vet just seems to want to give her cortizone shots which does not solve the underlying problem. What can I do to help her?

Editor Suggestions

Dear Sherry,

Sorry to hear about the dog mange or other skin problem.

The skin of living beings is the first line of defense against pathogens and environmental factors, and is the largest exposed part of the body, therefore a dogs skin can be affected by various factors, which may be pathological or non – pathological.

In older dogs, dog skin problems are more common and it is not always related to pathological factors such as parasites (mites, fleas, ticks, etc) but is caused by other reasons such as endocrinal problems (hormones). Dog skin allergies can also cause severe symptoms such as alopecia (hair loss), itchiness and discomfort.

It is always better to go for a specific diagnosis, which should confirm the exact underlying cause of the dog skin problem. It is noted that you have been administering a spectrum of therapeutics and supportive remedies to your dog, but you didn't mention any detailed and specific diagnostic tests.

There are different tests available to confirm possible underlying dog skin problems, which initially includes an examination
of skin scrapings for any external parasites, bacterial growth and fungal infections. In this case, since you have been trying anti-parasitic shampoos and skin cleansing sprays, there is a good chance of positive parasitic infestation test results. But, it should be remembered that based on your description of the problem, secondary bacterial infections are a bigger possibility as the cause of this problem.

If the chances of a parasitic infestation are eliminated through a confirmed diagnosis or preventive measures, a secondary step towards confirmation of the cause is go for detailed sensitivity tests, allergy tests, biochemical profiling and finally endocrine tests (involving analysis of hormonal level) in the body.

Your vet has prescribed cortisone shots, which is a steroidal hormone, used as an anti-itch medication. It is possible that it was prescribed to eliminate any possible allergic reactions in the body.

If it doesn't work; we recommend that you take your dog for a detailed endocrinal examination. The hormonal levels of the body should be evaluated carefully and further specific treatment should be done only after a confirmation of the condition is made. because excessive therapeutic administration like steroidal hormones can worsen the condition.

Here, we can only recommend you use supportive/symptomatic natural remedies for the time being. For now, it's better to use a cleansing shampoo with anti-microbial properties such as Perfect Coat Antimicrobial Deodorizing Shampoo. Along with this shampoo, your dog can also be helped by a a natural anti-itch natural remedy such as Allergy Itch Ease. Adding a natural remedy that focuses on the skin such as Skin and Coat Tonic can support integumentary (skin) health and the immune system.

Best of luck treating this dog skin problem. Again, get a specific diagnosis and please let us know how you were able to help your dog.

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Jul 04, 2013
Cushings Desease
by: Anonymous

Hi, has your vet checked your dog for Cushing's disease.

My dog had hair loss like that. there are two causes for Cushing's and it was the lesser tested cause for my dog. he is now medicated daily and all his hair grew back.

Jan 26, 2012
by: Randy

I just had our 12 YO Sheltie in to a dermatologist yesterday and was informed that Shelties and Collies are prone to Mange and she recommended taking him off steroids as they create problems with Mange. A scraping can be done and checked normally on the spot to determine if Mites are present. It was explained that in our case they were in the follicle. A sample is also out for culture and we are awaiting results. Normally a dip is used for treatment but in the case of our dogs it cannot be done. Recommend a dermatologist to determine the best method of treatment. Good luck!

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