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Demodicosis in Dogs…. Why won’t this go AWAY!

Something that many of us don’t often think about is that underneath all that fur our dogs have, is skin!

Skin that is susceptible…

Susceptible to all the various skin disorders that both dogs and humans can suffer from.  And one of these “skin diseases” your dog might encounter is called demodicosis.


Demodicosis in dogs, sometimes called red mange, is caused by a parasite that makes its way into the hair follicles and oil glands (sebaceous glands), causing irritation both to your furry family member as well as YOU, because it is you that is going to have to deal with treating your little buddy.

This is why…

In this article we wanted to take a moment and discuss exactly what demodicosis is so that you can get a better idea of what to look for in diagnosing it as well as “shed” some light on what it will be like treating a dog with it!

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.

What is Demodicosis?

Demodicosis in dogs occurs with the presence of a small groups of Demodex mites. Now most “healthy dogs” can normally stop the spread of demodicosis with their own natural immune system.


If a dog has any kind of illness causing a weak immune system, he or she might not be able to do that. Thus, the mites are able to get out of “control” which will lead to the development of demodicosis.

In cases like these…

The demodicosis may simply be a “symptom” of a larger more serious medical condition such as Cushing’s disease or hypothyroidism. Of course, it could also be that your dog just got “overwhelmed” by an infestation of the Demodex mites in which case he or she could be completely health other than the rash being caused by these parasites.

This is why…

Ultimately, you’re always going to want to have your vet check out your dog to determine the “true” cause for why your dog is having difficult dealing with these little “Buggars”.

Symptoms / Clinical Signs of Demodicosis

There are two types of demodicosis: localized demodicosis and generalized. Localized demodectic mange is something that happens mostly to puppies and young dogs. They can usually overcome it, possibly without treatment. The clinical signs of local demodicosis include the thinning of hair or fur and the development of scaly skin typically occurring on the legs and possibly the face.

Generalized demodectic mange…

Is a condition that usually only occurs in older dogs. This is when there’s usually a bigger, underlying problem. Generalized demodectic mange may be harder to treat, and the symptoms are usually more all over rather than to those specific parts of a dog.


Your dog may lose his/her appetite and be generally lethargic or depressed.

Other symptoms for either could include:

  • Sores,
  • Odor,
  • Wrinkling of the skin,
  • Skin infection & secondary infections,
  • Skin lesions,
  • Pustules,
  • Crusting.

Diagnosis for Demodicosis

If your veterinarian suspects demodicosis, he or she will probably take skin scrapings and test for it. The skin sample will be examined under a microscope. This is called cutaneous cytology. Under the microscope, the vet will actually be able to see the demodex mites (which in our opinion is pretty “cool” and “gross”!) as well as the actual demodex infection/reaction.

Treatment of Red Mange

If your dog has generalized demodicosis, this is when treatment is the most important. Your vet will probably prescribe a medicated bath treatment to rid your dogs of the overgrowth.

Typically this “bath treatment”…

Will need to be performed at least four times, once every 10 days, so that you not only kill all of the living demodex mites, but also all of the eggs that they may have laid directly on your dog’s skin and fur.

Does a medicated bath harm dogs?

It shouldn’t, but of course all dogs are different. It may cause your pup to have adverse effects such as nausea or feel generally uncomfortable.  Which is definitely something that you’ll want to discuss with your vet should this occur.

Some vets may also…

Recommend benzyol peroxide shampoo. This gets right down in the hair follicles to help your dog overcome mite overgrowth.


There are oral medication options available to treat your dog as well. Also important is to let your dog be in a well-ventilated area during recovery.

But be warned…

Treating demodex canis in dogs can take a long time, these little “buggars” can lay a ton of eggs and getting them all the first time can be really tough!  The key here is to not get “discouraged” during treatment and just keep at it!

Keep at it…

And be sure to keep in close contact with our veterinarian because he or she may decide to “mix and match” treatments over the course a few weeks to try and completely eliminate all of the demodex mites.

Which brings us to…

The part of the article where we like to remind for that we her at IndulgeYourPet are not doctors, veterinarians or medical professionals.  All we are is a bunch of folks who just happen to be really passionate about animals and only want what’s best for them.


If you feel your dog is suffering from demodicosis or any other medical condition for that matter, be sure to take him or her to the vet right away.  Not only is it the right thing to do for you pet, it could save you a ton of money in treating their ailment if caught early!

Which brings us to…

The last topic that we wanted to mention in our article about demodicosis which is the importance of purchasing a pet insurance policy on your pet.

This way…

If your little buddy does get sick, you won’t be on the “hook” for 100% of his or her medical bills.

For more information about who we “feel” currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there be sure to check out our Best Pet Insurance Companies article.

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