Puppy Mange: An Overview

What is Puppy Mange?

Puppy mange is a term often used for a certain type of canine mange that is most common in young puppies-- also known as red mange, follicular mange, or demodectic mange. This condition is caused by mites living on hair follicles. Most animals are not affected by the presence of these common mites, but puppies or older dogs with poor immune systems are more likely to end up with this type of dog mange due to the mites. Mothers often transfer the mites to their puppies, and though all puppies become carriers of these mites, not all dogs are affected by them and have no issues. These mites, known as Demodex canis, normally only infect dogs and not humans.

Symptoms of demodectic mange, or demodex, include localized pink or red spots on the skin which eventually turn dark and rough and scaly patches on the face, neck and front legs with some hair loss. Once mange on dogs gets worse, the legions on the affected area becomes larger and spreads over the dog’s body. A bacterial infection may set in as a result, and excess scratching may lead to bleeding, which can then cause the infection to affect the bloodstream and internal organs. Sepsis may occur if left untreated, eventually causing death. Many puppies, however, develop immunity to the mites as they grow older and the legions heal on their own. Treatment is available and in most cases will cure puppy mange if used consistently and correctly. To diagnose demodex, bring your puppy to the veterinarian for a skin scraping. Mites cannot be seen with the naked eye and must be confirmed under a microscope. Vets can offer dog mange treatment such as a medicated dip, topical medications, antibiotics or they may recommend a type of collar to purchase. Other potential issues can also be checked by your vet for dogs with mange, as puppy mange may be a sign of a secondary infection or disease affecting the immune system. If your dog has puppy mange, it should not be bred. Though demodex is not hereditary, the dog’s poor immune system can be passed on to future generations and cause further cases of canine mange. Dog mange treatment can be a lengthy procedure and may affect your dog for the rest of its life, while some cases go away easily. Feed your dog a healthy diet with fiber and vitamins to maintain a strong immune system and prevent puppy mange.