Demodex Mites

0 Comments Posted by tcahvet in Medical Cases on Friday, March 20th, 2015.

fayphotoAn infestation of demodex mites (demodecosis) is a common occurance in puppies.  This infestation leads to hair loss, thickened skin and secondary bacterial infections.  Demodecosis is not contagious.

Normal dogs have a small number of demodex mites living in their hair follicles.  An overgrowth of mite numbers happens in puppies whose immune systems are not yet mature and adult dogs who are immune compromised.  Puppies will typically outgrow the disease as their immune system strengthens.  If an adult dog is diagnosed with demodex mites an attempt should be made to find the cause of the underlying immune suppression. Controlling demodecosis depends upon an accurate diagnosis and treatment of the disease.  Long term demodecosis can lead to scarring of the hair follicles and permanent hair loss.

Diagnosis of demodecosis is made with a skin scrape.  We scrape down into the hair follicles and then check for the mites on a microscope.

When treating the disease we kill off the mites with a series of medicated dips (mitaban) once weekly for an average of 4-6 weeks until the skin scraps are negative.  We must also treat the secondary bacterial infections with anitbiotics.  Most dogs will regrow a normal hair coat once the mites have been controlled.

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