Case of the month
Moss is an eight-year-old, beardie huntaway who had been diagnosed and treated for demodectic mange when he was younger.
He was treated with doramectin, the best drug available at the time. After eight weeks of treatment skin scrapings revealed only dead mites. However, throughout his life mites slowly built up again to the point where Moss had lost all of the hair from his legs, tail and muzzle, and his feet were so inflamed he could barely walk. He had also lost a huge amount of body weight as his body was diverting all his energy into trying to fight the infestation. Skin scrapes and cytology showed that he also had bacterial and yeast infections worsening the condition of his damaged skin.
Luckily for Moss, in recent years a new group of drugs, called isoxazolines, have been developed that have long term efficacy not only against fleas but also mites. There are several products on the market that contain active ingredient s belonging to the isoxazoline family, including Bravecto®, Nexgard® and SImparica®.
After four weeks, and treatment with a medicated shampoo, Simparica®, antibiotics and anti-yeast medications, Moss has gained 5kg, and has regrown most of his hair. Most importantly, his feet have healed, and he can walk without pain and bleeding.
Mange in dogs is usually caused by either demodex mites, or sarcoptes mites. Demodex live inside the hair follicles, and in large numbers can damage the hair follicle causing severe inflammation and hair loss. Some dogs will have a genetic defect which allows demodex mites to multiply with no suppressive response from the dog’s immune system; this is described as generalised demodecosis and is often a lifelong problem.
Sarcoptes mites burrow through the superficial layers of the skin causing an intense itch and resultant hair loss; in contrast demodectic mange is usually only mildly itchy, if at all.
Moss has now become a ‘foster-fail’ – the intention was to treat him, then rehome him under the care of Retired Working Dogs NZ, but he is now staying put with his foster family on a two-acre plot.