Mange isn’t hard to spot, as it causes major hair loss and painful, scaly skin in dogs and other species of animals. Dogs with severe cases are often unrecognizable after they recover, however it can take a few weeks before they look normal again. These uncomfortable symptoms are the cause of parasitic mites that live on your dog’s skin, but they’re much smaller than a flea and can only be seen under a microscope.
There are several different types of mange, but the ones most often seen in dogs are Sarcoptic and Demodectic. Sarcoptic mange is the result of a scabiei infection and is contagious to people and other animals. In contrast, Demodectic mange is not contagious, and usually localized to one area of your dog’s body. The entire lifecycle of mange from the egg to the end of adulthood usually lasts about 2-3 weeks, so it could take twice as long before your dog completely recovers.
Think about it this way, when you go to the doctor and they give you a bottle of penicillin, they tell you to take all of the medication, even if you start feeling better. This is because the bacteria could still be present in your body and waiting to reproduce. So if you stop giving your dog their medicine or fail to administer topical medications, you run the risk of allowing the mites to reproduce.
Demodectic mange doesn’t always require antibiotics, in fact there are a few ways you can easily treat it at home. You can save quite a bit of money simply by using medicated wipes, shampoos and sprays. Specifically, you should be looking for products that contain a 2 to 4 percent chlorhexidine solution.
Well, it is often used as a pet-safe cleaning solution by veterinarians for a number of ailments. With the ability to treat ear infections, gingivitis, and a number of skin diseases, chlorhexidine doesn’t require a veterinary prescription and can be bought over the counter. While it is more often used for yeast infections and fungal issues, chlorhexidine has been found to work well with mange issues as well.
Pet owners who have struggled to find medications that resolve mange quickly often turn to chlorhexidine as a last-ditch effort to get the problem under control.
Another reason chlorhexidine is often chosen as a dermatological treatment for pets is because it won't hurt them if they swallow a little bit of it. Dogs and cats are known for licking themselves regularly, but they tend to do so more when there is medication present on their skin. Thankfully chlorhexidine has a bitter taste to it so dogs and cats are far less likely to swallow it than they would be with something like hydrogen peroxide. Dogs who tend to have a high sensitivity to topical or oral may need to start with a highly diluted version.
Although it is incredibly useful, chlorhexidine is not without flaws and it is possible for your dog to have some side effects. If you begin to notice your dog's symptoms getting worse, swelling of the tongue, or strange, irregular behavior, they could be having an allergic reaction to it. Aside from those minor cautionary warnings, many pet owners have had success in treating their dog’s mange with chlorhexidine spray or shampoo. Small treatment areas can also be treated with chlorhexidine wipes to make application easier.