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Possible localized mange


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Livi has a couple of spots (one on her chin, one on her leg) where the hair is thin and the skin looks red. Had her in to the vet today and they wanted to do a scraping to check for mange with the idea of catching it before anything gets serious, if it's going to.

 

From reading a few old threads here, it seems not to be unusual for a young dog to get a few localized spots and that the problem tends to resolve itself and to stop recurring entirely at a year to a year and a half. I saw a few folks mention that they used immune boosters to help since these issues tend to pop up more when there's some sort of stress on the immune system. What sort of product do y'all use for that, and where could I find out more about it? And would there be any benefit to a fish oil capsule like some of y'all use to keep the coat and skin in good condition? So far we haven't been doing any sort of dietary supplements since she was doing well with just her usual diet.

 

I've been trying to think what could be causing stress to her system, if anything. She had tapeworms when we got her and we treated that, then she got them again recently and we treated it and got her back onto flea prevention (it had lapsed briefly due to a mix-up). Everything else looked good for both of her previous vet visits. The weather has gotten colder (highs in the 40's -- we're wimpy Texans) and we've been out in it hiking (a couple miles at a time, at a 3-year-old child's pace) and doing stuff in the backyard and all that... but surely that's not cold enough to cause her problems. She's not out in the cold by herself unless she wants to be -- sometimes I'll let her out in the backyard by herself while we're working on school and she likes to run around or just hang out for a while. When she comes and sits by the door I let her back in, and of course she's sleeping inside in her crate at night. She's thin, but I think it's a healthy thin... and for that matter, if I do try to increase her food a little she leaves the extra. I'm sure I could get her eating more if it was necessary, but it seems like if she was malnourished she wouldn't be leaving food in her dish. I don't think we've had any major stresses... maybe the general chaos around the holidays, but we keep things pretty tame around here because we're introverts who don't like chaos. Maybe there isn't any particular stress involved, but if there is something I'd like to see what we can do to eliminate it.

 

Livi's about six months old, Border Collie mix, possibly with Aussie. When the rescue first got her she came down with a virus; tested positive for parvo but they treated it right away and it never got really serious. Could that be an indication that her immune system is naturally a little low? Just trying to figure out what factors might be at play...

 

Thanks for bearing with me; I appreciate any advice!

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I think it is just the stress of growing so fast. It's not anything you are doing.

 

I have had several of my young dogs with that stuff. It just kind of cycles out by itself. Usually it'S just small bare patches but one dog I had had it all over the top of her head. It turned bright red. The vet told me it always looks the very worst right before it disappears. I used to put hot washcloths on her head.

 

Sometimes they get bare patches around their eyes. Or it can be patches on their legs. It's really common in young, growing dogs.

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We'll see what the results of the scraping say -- they didn't tell me exactly what they thought it was (I'm afraid I didn't know enough to ask, either), but the vet did say it often clears up on its own. From what reading I've done and what we're seeing and the mention of its clearing up on its own I would guess Demodex. I'm sure we'll have a more detailed conversation about it when they have results. Maybe the scraping was an overreaction... they said we could wait and watch, but since it's been a while (can't pinpoint exactly when we noticed it) and she was already there it just seemed sensible to go ahead and be sure of things. When we've had issues with the cats, once we have an idea of what's going on they usually lay out a range of options and let us choose a course of action, which I appreciate -- they're not pushy about jumping to extremes in treatment.

 

I'm glad to know it can just be the stress of growing. I'm not too worried, but I'd hate to think there was an issue we missed that's leaving her open to health problems.

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It's not contageous. Those little mites live way down in the hair follicle . Most of the time the dog's immune system keeps them in check. But when they are under the stress of growing things get out of balance and the mites are able to spread more than normal.

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Just called to check on results -- it is Demodex, very localized, and the vet was busy at the moment but when he gets some time to call he's going to talk to me about a possible topical medication. The receptionist wasn't sure what it was for me to go ahead and look into it while I wait to hear back, but she did say it wasn't ivermectin like they'd use in more serious cases.

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I can't remember how long it lasted but it takes a while for it to clear up. It's weird stuff. It was there and then one day it was just gone. There for a while every puppy I had had that stuff. It never amounted to very much. They just looked kind of moth eaten.

 

The only time I used medication was for the dog with it all over the top of her head. I would put hot washcloths on her head to get the hair follicles to open up as much as possible and then put this ointment on. That looked terrible. It was just fiery red. Scared me to death. And then one day it just disappeared and her hair all grew back.

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Demodex normally lives in hair folicles in every mammal, including people. Physical stress due to sickness, poor nutrition, quick growth, sexual maturity(probably most common), etc causes the immune system to fail to keep the numbers of mites in check. The overgrowth causes the hair loss.

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I've just used the PrevenTick collars in the past to treat demodex...I think its the amitraz that kills the mite. Sounds like you caught it and she'll be fine. Just growing up can be stressful!

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We had one case years ago in a border collie youngster - she also just had a small patch by her eye and one on her leg. PrevenTick collar and goodwinol ointment cleared it up after about a month. I was happy to treat it rather than let it run its course.

 

Amy

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One of my dogs had a very persistent case as a pup. Topicals did not clear it up, so she was treated with a high dose of ivermectin. Because herding breeds can be sensitive to ivermectin (it can be fatal), we first did an ivermectin sensitivity test. After the results indicated she was not at risk to ivermectin toxicity, she was treated and the mange cleared up immediately.

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  • 1 month later...

Just realized it might be useful to follow up on this in case anyone is searching the forums down the road. I remembered to apply the ointment a few times, and the two small bald spots started growing hair again very quickly. I'm not sure the medication was actually necessary, but maybe it helped. I haven't noticed any more spots since.

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