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What is Demodex ?

Generally, once your dog has had an infestation of demodex and the mites have been completely eliminated, they do not become re-infested with the mites. This is because your dog’s immune system is now able to recognize and eliminate any new demodex mites. Some dogs that have a weak immune system will not be able to eliminate the mites without medical intervention.

Demodex, also known as demodectic mange, in dogs is a mite infestation on your dog’s skin. The mites are tiny, eight legged, cigar shaped, and feed in the hair follicles and oil glands of the skin. Most cases of demodex are self-limiting, meaning your dog is able to stop the growth and reproduction of the demodex mites and will also repair the damage that was done by the mites.

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Symptoms of Demodex in Dogs

When demodex first appears, it may just look like a small spot of hair loss, possibly from rubbing the area. However, if you notice any crusting on the skin or the hair loss spreads contact your veterinarian for an appointment. Symptoms of demodex to look for include:

  • Hair loss in patches
  • Rubbing their face or head
  • Redness or inflammation of the skin
  • Excessive oil on the skin
  • Crusting on the skin
  • Paws that are swelling

Types

Demodex has three distinct varieties.

Localized

This type of demodex will affect only a few parts of the body, usually the face. It will appear as just a small lesion around the face and is commonly seen in puppies. Most cases of localized demodex will resolve without any treatments as the puppies immune systems mature.

Generalized

This type of demodex will affect larger areas of skin or possibly the entire body. Generalized demodex will many times cause secondary bacterial infections. These bacterial infections will cause intense itching and a foul odor. It can be very difficult to fully eliminate all the mites.

Demodectic Pododermatitis 

This type of demodex is located on the feet only. It causes secondary bacterial infections that are located between the pads and the toes. This type is the most difficult to fully cure.

Causes of Demodex in Dogs

Demodex is caused by the Demodex canis, which is a parasite or mite that lives in the hair follicles of dogs. All dogs have these mites living on their skin but will not have a reaction to these mites unless their immune system is deficient. 

Demodex is most common in puppies and dogs that have immature immune systems. The mites will multiply uncontrollably when your dog’s immune system is immature or weak and unable to properly dispose of the excessive mites. Most adult dogs will be able to fight off the excessive mites without needing medical intervention. Older dogs may also show symptoms of demodex as their immune systems begin to decline and with age.

Diagnosis of Demodex in Dogs

Your veterinarian will begin by taking a complete medical history on your dog. They will also ask you about any changes in diet or environment. Then, your veterinarian will complete a full physical examination on your dog, paying close attention to any bald spots or noticeable lesions.

Your veterinarian will do a complete blood count and will also do a skin scraping of an affected area. The skin scraping will be placed under a microscope and your veterinarian will look for mites. Demodex canis mites are fairly easy to spot under the microscope. 

If your dog is a mature dog, your veterinarian may also search for the reason the Demodex canis mites were able to multiply uncontrollably. There is usually an underlying cause that is suppressing the immune system and sometimes it is extremely difficult to find what that cause is.

Treatment of Demodex in Dogs

Once your veterinarian has diagnosed demodex they will begin treatments to get rid of the overgrowth of mites. Anti-mite creams can be used as well as anti-inflammatory creams and corticosteroid creams. Your veterinarian may also recommend using benzoyl peroxide on larger areas. Your veterinarian will probably trim the hair around the affected areas. This will allow the prescribed creams to work more effectively on the affected areas. 

Some cases of demodex may require the use of anti-parasitic medications. Your veterinarian will prescribe the medications they feel will work best on your dog. Antibiotics may also be used in cases where bacterial infections from the demodex have occurred.

Recovery of Demodex in Dogs

Most cases of demodex are treatable. Dogs that are suffering from a weak or suppressed immune system will be much more susceptible to other diseases and conditions as well as relapses of demodex. Dogs that have immature immune systems, such as puppies, will generally recover from demodex and will not have a relapse. 

Speak with your veterinarian regarding your dog’s prognosis. Dogs that have weak or suppressed immune systems should not be used for breeding. Puppies who have developed a case of demodex can still be bred when they are older as long as the demodex does not recur.

Demodex Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Rani
Doberman
9 Months
Serious condition
1 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Demodex suspected
Under weight. Ichhing. Redness. Rashes
Under weight. Ichhing.redness.she tryng to eat pot

Medication Used

Hitek injection. Lisybin mediam.salmon oil

My dog is suffering from demodex canis. Her age 9 months n her body weight is 9.5 kg .is she under weight..if yes than what the solutions.how to recover the demodex.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations

Demodex normally doesn’t cause itching unless there is secondary problems; a skin scraping would confirm the presence of Demodicosis. Treatment would be with amitraz dips as well as shampoos which you can purchase at some pet stores. Other medications may be given against the Demodex, but are not approved in the USA. Secondary conditions may be infections or inflammation; it would be best to have your Veterinarian confirm the presence of Demodex before starting treatment. Other causes may be pyoderma, fungal infections, allergies or autoimmune disease. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Ethel
Mixed lab
2 yrs
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Medication Used

Ivermectin

Does it hurt to give Benadryl to help with the constant scratching ? I have a lab mix who is on liquid ivermectin and has had baths with special shampoo, she is still itching especially at night.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations
If Ethel has Demodex, the Benadryl will not help with the itching; whilst Benadryl isn’t harmful at 1mg/lb in dogs it wouldn’t have much if any effect. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

I think my dog has this but I don't know, I don't have money for a vet to tell me if she does or doesn't !!

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ruffers
ND
1.5 years
Moderate condition
-1 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

alopacia

what are the environmental factors that leads to the mite infection. Like temperature, environment around the animal and the factors that helps the mites to grow.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations

Demodex is a parasitic mite that is not unusual to find on a skin scraping; as a ‘normal’ skin inhabitant, Demodex is present on the body in small numbers and usually causes no problems unless there is a decrease in the activity of the immune system whether that is due to disease or medication. Demodex is everywhere, you can find it on a healthy dog; just the immune system keeps in under control. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Transferable to humans?? No special clean of bedding required?

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Sirius
Schnoodle
11 Months
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Itching
Hair Loss
scratching and chewing paws and legs

Medication Used

Bravecto as a chewable tablet

My dog is 11 months old, he was diagnosed with demodex. Considering one of the causes of the overgrowth mites is immunosuppression, should I be worried about him having an underlying cause for the appearance of demodex or should I just attribute it to his young age?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations

An underdeveloped immune system is usually a common cause of Demodex overgrowth in puppies, but at eleven months of age we would expect that Sirius’ immune system would be strong enough to keep Demodex at bay. Immunosuppression may be caused by other infections, stress or other problems; there are various treatments for Demodex which may be tried including spot-on treatments, dips and shampoos. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Nali
Unknown
6 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

crusty scaly raised "scabs (skin flakes are white
Hair Loss
Itching and Licking
Sore to touch

My dog has constantly been chew on her back end. She has managed to get all the hair off of her tail. And above the tail. And down her legs. I'm not really sure if this is the same thing as demodex.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations

Many times demodex is non-pruritic, the symptoms you are describing may be attributable to anal gland disorders, other parasites (mites etc…) among others. A skin scraping by your Veterinarian and a general examination would be best to confirm and treat the cause. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

My turning 2 months old puppy has a dermodex on her eyes and nose part :( and it causes her lost hair :( the vet gave her a shots and her medication is also a shot I forgot the name. Is it okay if I give her an ointment? Or just trust the shot med? I’m so worried :(

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tyson
Labrador
9 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

itching and red patches

hi my dog is 9 yrs old and suffering from demodex cannis from past 3 yrs. what should i do. how to prevent him from this disease. every year its coming near by march and continue till november. meaniwhile i connot use dog shampoo because its always react to him . which shampoo i have to use for him. and which medicine i have to give him.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations
It is important to confirm with your Veterinarian whether it is Demodex or another type of mite as the treatment is different; for Demodex canis there are many different shampoos and dips (with amitraz) but you should ideally speak with your Veterinarian for a skin scrape to confirm and to ensure the correct treatment is given. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Kaysa
Siberian Husky
7 Weeks
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Swollen and red eyes and mouth

Medication Used

Ivermectin

My dog had Demodex about a year ago, she bred and now I have five 7 weeks old puppies with red and swollen eyes, and scratching their ears.
My vet thinks is Demodex and gave them an ivermectin shot, but, how can I know if it can be cured without medication? Is it ok to medicate them at that early age?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations
Demodex commonly affects puppies due to an underdeveloped immune system and the mite is a usual finding in asymptomatic dogs; localised Demodicosis may resolve itself but generalised Demodicosis would require treatment. Treatment is with either ivermectin, milbemycin, amitraz among other medications; any treatment is down to your Veterinarian’s discretion especially the use of ivermectin which is off label. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Luna
American Staffordshire Terrier
5 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Skin Lesion
Hair Loss

My 5-year-old Am Staff Terrier developed a small bump on her head around which the hair seems shorter or lighter in color. She doesn't appear to have physical symptoms but it seems to have developed quickly and the abnormal surrounding area seems to be growing. She has been treated for several months by her vet for soft stools with occasionally bloody mucus. She's been in the pool a lot the past few days--chlorinated.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations

There are a few causes for the problem you are describing including chemical irritation, trauma, fungal infection among other causes; try to bathe the area regularly (twice per day) with chlorhexidine or similar product, if you see that it doesn’t improve you should visit your Veterinarian to take a look and possibly take a skin scraping to help with the diagnosis. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Beau
Shih Tzu
4 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Fever

Is it possible that dogs with demodex can’t live longer? And is it possible that stress can trigger them? Is it curable? Our vet told us to use amitraz and vetnoderm soap. We can’t give them a bath bec. They have fever

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1607 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Demodex in older dogs (not puppies) can indicate an underlying systemic disease. The demodex is usually easily treated unless there is a problem underlying the skin condition. Your veterinarian prescribed medication and treatment that should take care of the Demodex, and if it doesn't, it would be best to follow up with your veterinarian to let them know.

My dog shitsu has a demodex first from neck, it cured then next to legs,and it goes to face and other feet. And i looks loke going to ear. . Its been 3 months since i am struggling to cure my loved dog i spent money to vet. And its not cured so i stop and hat back my dog cause i spent too much money. Tnx

My dog has it but has been treated but if he knocks a scab off it leaves a hole in his skin is that normal

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Blue
English Bulldog
10 Months
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Skin Crust

So we adopted a 10 month old bulldog a month ago, took her to the vet last week. We found out she has demodex, pyoderma and roundworm. She is currently on antibiotics, flea an tick treatment and heartworm prevention. What would be the better shampoo for her one with benzoyl peroxide or the ketoconazole shampoo? Her skin is flaky and smelly.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations
You could use a benzoyl peroxide shampoo for the flaky skin followed by an antifungal medicated shampoo for the fungal infection; however the fungal infection is more important than the flaky skin when considering what to treat first. Amitraz dips are usually recommended for the treatment of Demodicosis in dogs and should be discussed with your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Penny
Boxer
15 Months
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Itching, hair loss in patches, swollen paws
Ear lesions due to head shaking

My 15 month old Boxer has been struggling with Demdex and on antibiotics since 4 months. There's no improvement. In fact the hair loss and itching is on the rise. Is it curable without antibiotics? And will some medication to improve her immunity help?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations

Demodex infections in puppies are usually not treated as they normally overcome the parasite with time, in chronic cases it is best to treat both possible secondary infection from scratching and to treat the demodex directly; there are a few different approaches to the treatment of demodex which are outlined on the document below which should be discussed with your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
www.ivis.org/proceedings/navc/2005/SAE/114.pdf?LA=1

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Dutch
Dutch Shepherd
3.5 months
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Hair Loss

Is Demodex transferable to humans? If one puppy has it will it transfer to the old dog in the house? What is the best way to clean/wash beds and bedding the puppy was sleeping on?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations
Is Demodex transferable to humans? Short answer no, long answer yes but it isn’t generally a problem. Demodex is a parasite which is actually found on the skin of the vast majority of dogs and puppies usually get the parasite from their mother whilst nursing; what causes flare ups of Demodex is usually an underdeveloped immune system of a puppy or the immunosuppressed immune system of an older dog. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Drogo
German Shepherd
2 Months
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Hair Loss

2 month old puppy has hair loss on snout.
This happened after he was vaccinated. Seems like demodex but could it be a reaction to vaccine?
Also how do I treat if it's demodex.
Thanks

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1607 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Demodex is somewhat common in young puppies, and doesn't tend to be a reaction to vaccinations. It tends to resolve with treatment, and there are a few different treatment options for it. Your veterinarian can recommend the best treatment for Drogo based on his health status.

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Lucky
Pit bull
4 Months
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Itching and biting skin

My dog seems to have mange and I have started bathing him a couple times a week with Veterinary Formula Antiseptic & Antifungal Medicated Shampoo. He is only about 4 months old so will this shampoo help to rid this mange.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations
Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiseptic & Antifungal Shampoo is for bacterial and fungal infections, it is not intended or effective to be used against Sarcoptic mange or Demodectic mange; if mange (mites) are suspected then the specific type of mange should be identified and treated accordingly (see second link below) since they have different treatments. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM http://synergylabs.com/shop/veterinary-formula-clinical-care-antiseptic-antifungal-shampoo/ www.msdvetmanual.com/integumentary-system/mange/mange-in-dogs-and-cats

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Rocky
Pug
11 Weeks
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

swollen face

We have a 11 week old pug who suddenly had a swollen “fat roll” on the top of his nose. I thought it was a bite at first but when it didn’t go down we took to vet who diagnosed demodex mite. The advice was to treat with a once off chew of simparica but the swelling is still there. This was 6 days ago, should he be going back for further treatment? I have bathed him in a sensitive dog wash with tea tree oil and no noticeable improvement.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations
Simparica (sarolaner) is effective at treating Demodex over a period of time, one study (quoted in the link below) showed that mite counts were reduced by 97.1% by day 14; it is possible that there is still some irritation to the skin or the swelling may be due to other cause. If there is no improvement you should visit your Veterinarian again after a few days for a check up to see if there is any improvement or if any other treatment is required. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM http://veterinarymedicine.dvm360.com/new-hope-defeating-demodicosis

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Harley
Border Terrier
5 Months
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Loss of Balance
scratching
Loss of Appetite

My puppy has démodex we have given him anti biotics anti itch tablets and pain killers nothing has given relief yesterday vet gave him an aludex bath today he still seems Irrated feel like we’re getting nowhere should we still use advocate or change to something else?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations
Treatment of Demodex may include the use of amitraz (Aludex), moxidectin (Advocate), ivermectin or milbemycin (or a combination of them); amitraz is a common product used in the treatment of Demodex, ivermectin and milbemycin should be used with caution in herding breeds sensitive to MDR1. Continue to use for Aludex for the Demodex and the antibiotics for any secondary infection from scratching; discuss with your Veterinarian about other treatment options and monitor for improvement. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.merckvetmanual.com/integumentary-system/mange/mange-in-dogs-and-cats#v3279943 http://veterinarymedicine.dvm360.com/canine-and-feline-demodicosis?id=&sk=&date=&pageID=4

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Jelly
Miniature Australian Shepherd
2 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Swollen eye, scrapings, hair loss.

My dog (2 years old) was diagnosed with demodex a month ago. She had scrapings and loss of hair. Vet prescribed Nextgard (taken once a month), symptoms seem to be getting better within 2 weeks. However, on her 3rd week she started to show scrapings and now her whole eye is swollen. Vet is saying we should wait a month and give her another Nextgard, but seem like this not helping.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1607 Recommendations
Nexgard is an effective therapy for Demodex, but may need to be given multiple months in a row. Sometimes dogs will develop a secondary bacterial infection during the treatment, and Jelly may need antibiotic therapy in the meantime. Since her signs seem to be worsening, it would be a good idea to have her seen, and see if she does need any other therapy.

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Rani
Doberman
9 Months
Serious condition
-1 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Fungal ine
Demodex suspected

Which medicines will recover that demodex canis n fungal infection.....i would like to know the medicines name .please mention the name ..i will thankful...

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations

For the fungal infection, ketoconazole shampoo may be beneficial for a fungal skin infection and for the Demodex, amitraz dips with a benzoyl peroxide based shampoo will treat the Demodex. Depending on your location you may require a Veterinary prescription. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

I already consult with veterinarian...he suggested hitek injection, lisybin (mediam),salmon oil,but the problem is not recovering...i request you to suggest more which will helpful for me.

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