Demodex Mites

Demodex is a skin mite that lives in the hair follicles and oil glands of dogs and cats.  It is generally referred to as mange.  Demodex mites are microscopic and must be viewed through a microscope to be seen.  Majority of animals have natural colonies of mites just like there is a normal microbial flora present on the skin.  But in some pets, usually young dogs or dogs with a compromised immune systems, this colony can gets out of control causing local inflammation.  Since a large number of animals have natural colonies of mites they are not considered to be contagious to other animals or humans.  Signs of Demodex mites might include patchy hair loss, itching, and skin irritations that generally start on the head including the muzzle and around the eyes.  A simple skin scraping and microscopic examination is needed for diagnosis.  Demodex infections typically have secondary bacterial infections associated with them.  Treating the secondary skin infection is just as important as treating the mites.  Demodex can be challenging to treat and can take several weeks but is not a health concern to humans or other pets in the home.  

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