Demodex Mites: The Cause of Demodectic Mange in DogsMay 14th, 2012 | Posted by in Demodectic Mange
The demodex mite is a tiny organism, invisible to the naked eye and living on the skin of dogs all over the world. It’s mostly harmless, but demodex mites are also be the sole cause of demodectic mange in dogs. You’ve probably seen the destruction they can cause first-hand. Large swathes of bald skin, an almost leathery texture and multiple red sores on the back of the dog.
It’s nearly impossible to believe that such a small parasite can wreck so much havoc. But how do they do it?
How Demodex Mites Cause Demodectic Mange
Demodex mites are tiny parasites that live on the skin of dogs. They feed on the dirt and oils on the skin, and they lay their eggs within the hair follicles. Normally, their numbers are controlled by the dog’s immune system, which ensures that their activities don’t damage the dog too much.
However, if the immune system is weakened, the mite population will no longer be regulated, and will expand exponentially. Even a momentary weakness in a dog’s immunity may be enough for the mites to take advantage of, because the increased number of mites also produces a debilitating effect on the immune system as well, weakening it further and making it yet easier for the mites to reproduce. This will soon turn into a vicious cycle, which the dog will no longer be in control of.
Common Traits In Dogs
It’s easy to see a pattern emerging from the numerous cases of dogs with demodectic mange; they’re most likely puppies, dogs who are already affected from some other illness, or dogs with a genetic disorder that renders their immune system weaker than their peers. All three groups have underdeveloped, weakened or faulty immunities, which are unable to keep up with the demodex mites.
How does this Information help?
All this data tells us one important thing: The immune system is the most important link in the chain connecting the skin problem to the dogs themselves. A functioning immunity can keep the mites in check; without it however, they can and will cause demodectic mange.
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