Demodectic Mange is a single specific skin problem in dogs, but what people usually don't realize is that it's often categorized into two types: localized and generalized. The main difference between the two is the severity of the symptoms in each type, but there are others as well, such as the locations of these symptoms on the body.
|Spots of localized mange|
Photo credit: k911.biz
The symptoms of localized mange are generally milder than generalized mange; they mainly appear as small bald spots, and no more than five of them at that. The symptoms also frequently appear on the area around the head and neck, as well as the paws. It’s definitely possible for it to manifest in other spots, but the main feature to note is the limited number of bald spots that can be seen.
|Generalized mange on a bulldog|
Photo credit: findavet.us
This variant of demodectic mange is much more serious than the localized one, and if you’ve seen a dog with it before, you’ll know exactly what I mean.
In contrast with localized mange, generalized mange covers practically the entire surface of the body in red rashes, and the skin is further damaged in spots where the dog has scratched itself. This can result in some serious scarring, and it can be a very ugly sight if it isn’t stopped.
Why are there two different types of demodectic mange?
The distribution of localized and generalized mange may seem random, but the truth of the matter is that the severity of demodectic mange is predetermined by one simple factor: the immune system.
|A demodex mite. Eww!|
Photo credit: sciencephoto.com
If a dog’s immunity is brought low for only a short time, the mites will only be able to affect a select few areas of the body before they are overcome again. This brings about symptoms that are classified as localized mange. Incidentally, puppies and dogs that have been ill are the only ones that get localized mange, and in their case, the immune system is easily repaired with just a bit of care given to them. Puppies will eventually mature and fully develop their immune system, and adult dogs will eventually recover from their illnesses.
This malfunctioning immune system is genetic in nature – it’s passed down from parent to child, which means that these dogs have had a weak immunity since the day they were born. Because of the nature of this disease, it’s also highly likely that their mother has the same trait as well. This defect will eventually become the cause of many health problems that will plague these dogs, but demodectic mange remains one of the most common problems simply because of its method of striking whenever the immune system is weak.
- There are two types of demodectic mange: Localized and Generalized. They are commonly distinguished by the severity of the symptoms, as well as the locations where they occur.
- Localized mange usually has around five bald spots on the body, usually found near the head and neck area as well as the paws.
- Generalized mange is a more severe version of the skin problem, and is distinguished by the large area of rashes and damaged skin covering the dog.
- Mange is caused by a weak immune system, and the severity of the problem corresponds with the length of the period with low immunity; a shorter gap may translate to a minor case of localized mange, while an extended period increases the chances of developing into generalized mange.
- Localized mange is commonly seen in puppies or sick dogs, and can be cured relatively fast. It is possible that the problem can be resolved naturally (i.e. without any treatment given).
- Generalized mange is usually found in dogs that have been denied general care and concern, or have genetic defects resulting in a permanently damaged immune system.
While still considered the same problem, the difference between localized and generalized mange can be quite distinct. As a rule, localized mange can be easily taken care of, while a case of generalized mange will require more attention and treatment before the dog can make a full recovery.