Perfect Puppy Care Book – Chapter 7 – Puppy Health Care (Part 5)
Chapter 7 – Puppy Health Care (Part 5)
Worms. Ticks. Fleas. Mites. Sounds like a bad horror movie! But if you have a puppy, you’re likely to encounter these nasty critters as part of the package. They may give you the creepy crawlies, but you must learn how to protect your puppy against them to help prevent diseases and other health problems.
External parasites are those that latch onto the outside of your puppy to do their damage. Let’s examine some different forms.
Demodectic Mange Mites
When people hear a veterinary diagnosis of “mange,” they often become alarmed because they believe that their puppy is contagious. But there are different types of mange, and demodectic mange is not the contagious kind.
Demodectic mange is caused by a type of mite, which is a tiny insect. Most puppies get these mites from their mothers during the first days of their lives, which is normal. If a puppy’s immune system isn’t working properly, however, the mites multiply out of control, causing disease. It most frequently occurs in puppies and in adult dogs with poor immune systems. Some studies have shown a genetic tendency.
Two different types of demodectic mange occur: localized and generalized. Localized demodectic mange occurs in puppies less than one year old. Symptoms include a thinning of the fur around the eyes, lips, and corners of the mouth. Sometimes hair loss on the legs and feet occurs. The thinning becomes worse until patches about 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter are missing. The skin can become scaly, red, and infected. Localized demodectic mange usually heals by itself in a couple of months, but it can come and go. Treatment includes a topical ointment rubbed into the thinning patches. If more than five patches exist, the disease may be developing into generalized demodectic mange.
Although generalized demodectic mange can be a progression of the localized variety, sometimes it spontaneously occurs in adult dogs. Generalized demodectic mange involves large, thinning patches on the head, legs, and body. The mites cause the skin to break down and form crusty sores. This can be extremely uncomfortable and painful for a dog, and the condition requires veterinary assistance. Treatment includes medicated dips and shampoos and often antibiotics for skin infections.
One of the most common causes of ear symptoms in puppies and young adult dogs is a tiny insect called an ear mite. Ear mites live in the ear canals and feed by piercing a puppy’s skin. They are very contagious to dogs (and cats) but not to people.
If your puppy has ear mites, she will scratch her ears vigorously and violently shake her head. That’s because ear mites cause a severe hypersensitive reaction and intense itching. Your puppy’s earflaps will become red, crusted, and scabbed. Her ear canal will have a dry, crumbly, dark brown, waxy discharge. Her ears may have a bad odor due to a secondary infection. If both of your puppy’s ears are involved, ear mites are a likely cause of the problem.
Consult your veterinarian if you suspect that your puppy has ear mites. You must apply medication in her ears, and you’ll have to diligently clean them so that the medication can reach the canal thoroughly. Your veterinarian may recommend that you treat all dogs and cats in your home, because ear mites are so contagious. During treatment, the mites may flee the ears and take up residence on another part of your puppy’s body causing her to itch. Talk to your veterinarian about using a topical treatment on your puppy to help to ease her discomfort and kill any mites that try to escape.
External Parasites Section Continued on Next Page…
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