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Summary: Mange may be causing Fido's hair loss and itching behind his ears. Learn how to cure your dog of the mange mites living on his skin so he will be known around the neighborhood as a mangy mutt no more.

Mange is a skin condition that commonly affects canines, felines, rabbits and other small animals. It should be treated by a veterinarian rather than an exterminator because the tiny mites that cause mange can only survive on the animal.

Mange is caused by a very small mite that clings to hair follicles or burrows under the skin. It is the body's reaction to the mite that causes the intense itching and oozing secretions that characterize the symptoms of mange. To spot other mange symptoms, look for crusty ear tips and patches of hair loss. If your pet might have mange, take it to the veterinarian to get it checked out.

Demodectic mange is the most common form. The mites that cause this occur naturally on most dogs, but symptoms of mange can be induced by a weakened immune system or bad hygiene. The mite that causes this type of mange can be seen with a magnifying glass and is also known as red mange. It is normally treated with a medicated shampoo such as Amitraz. An oral medication is available in some countries using avermectins. Ivermectin is one variety of this type of drug that is given in two doses two weeks apart.

Cheyletiella mange is caused by a microscopic mite that lives on the skin's surface. It is also known as walking dandruff because bad dandruff is a sign of this kind of mange, so if your dog looks like it is covered in snow and it is July, you might want to get it checked out.

Ear mange is caused by a type of ear mites in dogs. The mites live deep in the ear canal and feed on skin. This can create an irritating ear infection. Tresaderm is one kind of medication that is applied as ear drops. It kills the developing eggs mites and also has an antibiotic to assist the healing of infection. Treatment lasts ten to fourteen days.

Sarcoptic mange is also known as scabies on dogs. It is highly contagious and is transmitted through skin contact. This type of mange causes a severe itching that if scratched can lead to secondary infections. These bacterial infections might have a foul odor. Dogs infected with sarcoptic mange should be separated from other animals and taken to a veterinarian.

Certain types of mange treatment medication should not be used on certain types of dogs. For example, Ivermectin should not be used on herding dogs like collies. Sulfurated lime rinses are one possible solution, but must be applied bi-weekly. Selamectin is prescribed in some countries and is applied as a drip directly onto the infected area. Consult with a veterinarian to find the best kind of treatment for your pet.

Mange can be transmitted to humans, so don't get to close to an animal that has a bad case of it. Luckily for us two leg-ers, the mites that cause mange cannot reproduce on humans so they die out in a few weeks and no treatment is required. Clean all areas where mangy pets have occupied carefully and remember to throw away the used vacuum bags.

Several decades ago, dipping dogs in motor oil was a popular home remedy for mange. However, it was later learned that skin exposure to motor oil caused rashes and skin destruction in severe cases. The hydrocarbons were absorbed through the skin causing a dangerous drop in blood pressure and possible kidney and liver damage.

Your vet will prescribe any number of effective medications to cure mange. That and thorough cleaning and vacuuming of areas where your pet has been will rid you of this troublesome pest. The best prevention is feed your pet a healthy diet and provide regular bathing. Take care of Fido and he will be wagging his tail again in no time.

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