Demodectic Mange

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"Why did this just "pop out" all of a sudden???"
Sort of like with people, anything that "compromises" the immune system can cause this to pop out. Of course puppies just don't have a mature immune system anyway, but also there's lots of things that occur IN puppyhood that exacerbate this.

One of the first 'predictable' things that can trigger an outbreak is vaccination. Now, of course, vaccines are totally necessary! But have you been in the situation where it's been easier and less expensive to you take the dog to the vet (particularly that 'first visit") and get everything done at once? I mean I'm frugal and busy and it used to be my usual thought that it was silly to incur more than one office visit (not only costly but often a scheduling nightmare for us humans as well)???? Well, actually there are really GOOD reasons "why not".

For a moment, think about what a 'vaccine' is. According to Encarta, Vaccination (also called 'immunization') is a preventive medicine. It's how people/animals are made "immune to an infectious organism by inoculating them with a form of the organism that does not cause severe disease but does provoke formation of protective antibodies."

So either by using live virus or 'killed' virus, a little bit of this 'disease' is injected into the patient, which SHOULD trigger the bloodstream to build a defense against this. But, when you give a bunch of shots all at once, the immune system has to develop antibodies to EVERYTHING all at once and you may well overload the animal's system. In Callie-English it's like there's only so much strength to battle everything at once, so while it battles ONE thing, something else is left uncovered and other areas become weaker and susceptible to problems!!!

"How should vaccinations be handled then??"
Be careful. Don't do too much at once.

Particularly, I've found Muffin breaks out every time I get him vaccinated. At this point he's been vaccinated more than once with all the parvo, etc. shots and my vet wants to call a bit of a moratorium on it - but I stress he HAS received those shots. In Florida I HAVE to do a rabies vaccine every year - but I've learned to do it in cooler weather and when there isn't a lot else going ON in our lives. I know it's gonna stress him out and I'll have to probably dip him - so I'm not going to plan it when I know we're going to be gone a lot or if some traumatic event has just happened or is about to.

This leads me to the next "trigger". Stress. And honestly, this becomes an umbrella covering just about anything. It's not surprising that "stress" is a contributor here. Think about us humans! When are WE prone to getting sick? When we are tired, stressed out and maxxed!!! Same with a dog!

Specific stressors
Many times stressors are things that just can not be helped. But what does help is being prepared for them. Knowing that certain things may inevitably cause breakouts.
  1. Physical issues - aside from vaccinations, lots of other illnesses or health-related concerns can "stress" demodex-prone dogs. If a dog is prone to seasonal or contact allergies or is going through puppy teething, or neutering.

    Whoa - READ THIS!!! This doesn't mean NOT to neuter! Quite the opposite. Sexual maturation is ALSO a stressor and frankly, "heat" (in females) or a build-up of testosterone can often compromise the immune system more than neutering By neutering I mean removal of the sex organs as a means of preventing breeding. (Look it up in the dictionary - it's as correct for a female as 'spaying')
     
  2. Emotional issues - simply the stress of a new home, housebreaking, and figuring out "gee, what do these peoples want??" can trigger it. But if a dog makes it past early puppyhood and then breaks out - sometimes the stressor can be something like emotional stress they feel from the humans in the home, displacement then placement in a new situation, and particularly grief! (Read "Tribute to Mike" and then imagine what happened to Muffin!)
     
  3. Breed specific - I'm gonna list breeds here, but just because yours isn't on the list, don't put yourself above this - ANY DOG can have this problem if circumstances and propensity mingle to set the stage!!! I've heard of the following breeds as being specifically prone to demodex: Afghans, Beagles, Boxers, Boston Terriers, Bull Terriers, Chihuahuas, Collies, Dalmatians, Dachshund, Dobermans, English Bulldogs, German Shepherds, Great Danes, Old English Sheepdogs, Shar-peis, Shelties, and Staffordshire Terriers. Quite a range - not anything that's common - all are different breeds and categories!!! This is no "authorized" list - just an accumulation of things I've read and people I've heard from who've been told their breed "often has this problem." I can't really give anyone "credit" for the list - I guess it's 'mine.'

CONTENTS

What Is Mange?
What Does It Look Like?
Why are Young Dogs Particularly Affected?
Demodex in Older Dogs
Why Can It Pop Out All of a Sudden?
Stressors - Physical, Emotional, Breed-Specific
Will He Outgrow It?
This Sounds Like a Lot of Hassle - Can't I Just Wait and See?
"Right Now" Treatment
Pro-active Treatment
How To Give Pills
Cautions on Treatment

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