Points On Pets

Q: We have recently noticed that our dachshund has small reddish patches without hair on her nose. These areas without hair do not seem to bother her. She does not scratch at them nor rub her nose. Should we be concerned about these areas of hair loss? Our dog has always been healthy and is full of boundless energy. We take our dog to our veterinarian about once per year for checkups and vaccinations.
A: Of course it is impossible to tell you what is causing your dog's loss of hair on her nose without actually seeing her and knowing much more about her. There are many different things that could be causing the lesions. Because the reddened patches might be due to demodectic or red mange, you should have your dog examined by your veterinarian as soon as possible. The lesions caused by demodectic mange in puppies often resemble skin abrasions.
Two types of demodectic mange are commonly diagnosed - localized and generalized. Dogs with localized demodex usually have one to five patches of mild redness and partial hair loss on the face and forelegs. Fine silver colored scales are often seen on the patches. Since these localized patches do not itch, affected dogs usually do not scratch at them. It is not unusual for dogs with localized demodectic mange to heal without any treatment.
Generalized demodectic mange is much more serious than localized demodex. It can cause death of the affected dog. Generalized demodectic mange usually begins as a localized lesion. Over time this localized sore becomes more severe and additional lesions occur on the head, legs and body. It is not uncommon for individual local lesions to become joined as they enlarge. Secondary bacterial infections are common with generalized demodectic mange. Oozing pus and crusty scabs often develop. As the condition worsens, the sores become itchy and severe scratching is seen. This then causes the mange to become even more severe.
Veterinarians usually diagnose demodectic mange by looking at the lesions and by examining skin scrapings for the mites causing the sores taken from the dog. Effective treatment usually requires several weeks in severe cases.
Because most dogs acquire demodectic mange while nursing puppies, you should notify the breeder from whom you obtained your dog. It is suspected in most cases that most older dogs with the disease obtained the mites as puppies. As with most parasitic diseases in animals, prevention is much better than treatment.
Q: We were really surprised when our veterinarian told us that our new puppy had a heavy load of hookworms. Is this possible? The facilities where we bought our puppy appeared to be very clean and the dogs looked very healthy.
A: It is not uncommon for puppies to become infected with hookworms before birth. Therefore, prevention of hookworms in puppies involves properly caring for the pregnant bitch. Of course the bitch should be free of parasites prior to breeding and should be kept away from contaminated environments, particularly during pregnancy. You should let the owner of the bitch know that your puppy has been diagnosed with hookworms. Your veterinarian can prescribe an effective treatment for your new family member.
Send e-mail to copleysd@copleynews.com or write to Pets, Copley News Service, P.O. Box 120190, San Diego, CA 92112-0190. Only questions of general interest will be answered in this column.
© Copley News Service
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