Does your dog have Mange?

In the summer months, Sanford Veterinary Clinic sees more dogs with balding, red, itchy looking skin around the base of the tail and back.

Commonly thought of as mange, it is more likely, to be  flea bite allergy, also known as “flea allergy dermatitis (FAD)”.  Mange is uncommon in the midwest, but appears as dry, scurfy, itchy skin on the face and limbs, with patchy fur loss. FAD on FADthe other hand is a skin reaction caused by fleas when they bite the skin of dogs, causing irritation and intense itchiness and self trauma like biting and scratching. This leads to hair loss, open sores, scabs, redness and scaly skin. Dogs are mostly affected along their back and tail base, but it can also occur on other parts of the body. It can affect ANY sex and breed, and ANY coat type. One flea can cause your dog to react and treatment from Sanford Veterinary Clinic is required.

Fleas are not always easy to spot, however they do leave evidence behind! This is called “flea dirt” and is flea faeces. You can find flea dirt using a flea-comb, or by rigorously grooming your dog over a damp white sheet or piece of paper. Flea dirt when it lands on the moist surface will become reddish brown.

Prevention of FAD is the best cure. Regular treatments with a long acting flea product such as “Advantage®” or “Frontline®” purchased from your vet is the first step. Washing your dogs bedding in hot water on a weekly basis and treating your home and yard is also important. Vacuuming regularly and flea bombs indoors, and treating the yard with a product such as “Coopex®” may be vital, but be aware that a severe infestation may take 12months to get under control.

Dr Laura Thompson, Sanford Veterinary Clinic Geraldton.

 

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