Demodectic Mange and Your Dog

Demodex Canis

Demodex canis is an external microscopic mite commonly known to infect cats and dogs. These mites are natural in limited number to all dogs, but overpopulation of these mites can cause unpleasant consequences if left untreated. Hereditary factors have been identified and established that seem to create or inhibit susceptibility of these mites to particular animals. Demodex canis can thrive only on particular hosts, such as cats and dogs, and is therefore not typically contagious to humans.

Demodectic Mange

Demodectic Mange, commonly known as red or puppy mange, is typically diagnosed by the appearance of moist, red and inflamed skin that is rough and flaky to the touch. Upon the infection and overpopulation of an individual dog to the Demodex canis mite, the condition is commonly called demodectic mange or demodicosis. Presence of the mites is typically localized to the general area of the face near the hair follicle. Demodectic mange can present itself as a difficult factor in three particular forms, based on the location and severity of the infection, and the treatment options suitable for the particular situation.


Localized demodectic mange is predominately located on the face or forelegs. It is common to notice red lesions and loss of hair at the particular site of infection. Typical treatment of localized demodectic mange, as with all cases of mange, is a bath, being sure to gently clean any injuries caused by the mites. Natural treatments are available, including ointments, to aid in the process of mite elimination and to enhance and amplify the overall healing process.


It is customary for generalized demodectic mange to develop from untreated localized demodectic mange. Generalized demodectic mange varies in its effects based on the age of the dog. In adult dogs, the presence of generalized demodectic mange is primarily a sign for a larger underlying issue, such as an immune system deficiency. In the best interests of the dog, it is wise to consult a veterinarian if this condition is present as antibiotics are required for full recovery. In young dogs and puppies, localized treatments are typically utilized and it is normal for puppies to spontaneously overcome the condition.

Demodectic Pododermatitis

Demodectic Pododermatitis is the Demodex canis parasite customarily limited to the paws. Treatment for this type of demodectic mange is similar to that of localized, but is associated with a higher rate for bacterial infections. Due to this fact, it is important to use antibacterial agents on the area affected by the mites. Your local veterinarian may recommend antibiotics, but this is based on individualized cases.

Demodectic Mange Types: General Overview

All three types of demodectic mange (localized, generalized, and demodectic pododermatitis) accompany certain the negative side effects including the possibility of a weakened immune system, creating an increased incidence for bacterial infections. The sooner treatment of the demodectic mange occurs, typically the quicker the recovery, accompanying the decreased chance of bacterial infections. Do what is best for your dog and if in doubt, visit your veterinarian.  



Photo Credit: kayintveen

Read More Dog Breeds Blogs View All Blogs

ask out vet