Please DO NOT pay attention to the horror stories you may hear or be told about mites.
Nearly all dogs acquire mange mites from their mother in the first few days of life. These mites are considered normal skin fauna when present in small numbers. They produce disease only when an abnormal immune system allows their numbers to get out of control. This occurs primarily in puppies, and in adult dogs with lowered immunity.
Stress is a common cause when a dog or puppy suddenly breaks out with demodex within days of changing homes or when a female goes through a heat cycle at or before 1 year of age. It has been linked with an "immature immune system". Some dogs' immune systems may not be fully mature until approximately 3 years of age.
The presence of an active case of demodex in an immature dog or bitch is not an automatic marker to have the animal spayed or neutered. When the immune system rebounds the disease can spontaneously heal itself. Once the immune system is fully mature, the decision for sterilisation can then be made. However dogs presenting with generalised mange who take a long time to recover and it keeps recurring, should not be bred with.
This disease occurs in dogs under 1 year. The appearance of the skin is similar to that of ringworm. The principal sign is thinning of the hair around the eyelids, the lips and the corners of the mouth, and occasionally on the legs and feet The thinning progresses to patches of moth-eaten hair loss about one inch in diameter. In some instances the skin becomes red, scaly and infected. If more than 5 patches are present, the disease could be progressing to the generalised form. This occurs in approximately 10% of the cases.
This starts out as a localised case but instead of improving, it gets worse. Treatment can be prolonged and can require frequent changes in medication. Dogs with generalised disease develop patches of hair loss on the head, legs and trunk. Some cases are a continuation of localised mange - others develop spontaneously in older dogs.
When generalised demodectic mange develops in dogs under one year of age, there is a 30-50% chance that the puppy will recover spontaneously.
Your vet can tell you very simply if it is a case of mites by a skin scraping, another one at 1 month and two months to tell you if you are in the clear.
Research has shown there are at least three types of mite infestations. Whatever type shows up in our dogs is very easily and fairly inexpensively treated (as long as it has not been neglected) - treatment of choice is Cydectin, second choice Ivornec (it is fairly foul tasting so treating with the injectable type - but given orally— means less volume is necessary). The dosage is dependable on weight and is given for about two months. Veterinary treatment is essential.
Hot temperatures can also stress the dog, and flea and tick infestations can also cause the onset of mites as well as heat spots if left untreated. It is recommended that in the hot Summer months when this occurs, that tick and flea injections be used on a monthly basis to prevent mites or even Advocate which is used for worming amongst other things. Remember this is only used as a preventative and if your dog is actually diagnosed with mites then proper veterinary treatment is required immediately.
After approximately two months of treatment, the hair begins to grow back. In three months most cases are healed.
As a general rule please do NOT wash your dog a great deal!! Every time you do it you are taking out the essential oils for a good coat. Many shampoos are suspect with colouring, perfumes etc. Simple brushing will encourage a good coat. If they do get wet (and they love to sit in kid's paddling pools etc) take time to dry them thoroughly especially between the toes-wet, hot skin is a prime place for infections, skin problems etc. Leather collars left on next to wet skin can cause problems.
Please note that these notes are advisory only and you should check with your veterinarian to discuss treatment if you think your dog has mites.
Get a good pair of nail trimmers and/or dremmel.Keeping bulldog nails trimmed is extremely important. The more often you trim the nails the better.If you let their nails grow long the quick grows with them, then when you go to trim them back you will cut the quick (if this happens dab on a little Betadine).Cutting the quick is painful for your dog.You can use trimmers to cut off any excess nail, then use a dremmel to file them down close to the quick.
Baby wipes can be used (or soft cloth with salty water) to clean out your Bully’s wrinkles.Desitin or Curash powder (with corn starch and zinc)can be applied in the wrinkles to keep them from getting moist.Make sure the area is completely dry prior to application. If any redness apply Betadine.
Clean out your Bully’s ears at least once a week, especially after a bath.I recommend using vet prescribed ear cleaner, it has a good drying agent in it.